Everyone has heard the debate between Pat’s and Geno’s, and those better versed in the Philly cheesesteak probably know about Tony Luke’s and Jim’s. But there is a sleeper favorite on Henry Avenue that’s at the top for many locals: Dalessandro’s. A tiny cheesesteak-centric diner on the outskirts of Philadelphia, where the bar seating is always packed, and, if you’re lucky, there will be a short line of people out the door. Dalessandro’s hasn’t changed much since its inception — their slogan is “Simply the best since 1960.” There’s still a 12-inch TV complete with bunny ears that is always tuned into something Eagles-related, and the atmosphere is consistently chaotic.
Like most cheesesteak joints in Philly, if you are not aggressive when placing your order, you will quickly be surpassed by the unfazed regulars, but a few things set Dalessandro’s apart. First, the preference of melted American cheese (or even Provolone) over the customary coating of wiz. Second, while some establishments rough chop their steak (Pat’s), and other’s go for flat slices (Steve’s), Dalessandro’s aggressively minces their meat. Also, thick-cut onions (or mushrooms) are sautéed and adorn the tops of the steaks rather than being dispersed throughout.
Dalessandro’s sandwiches are truly gargantuan, as they stuff mounds of meat into the ever standard Amoroso's roll. Those who know best always keep a fork nearby for overflow, and some even opt for a schmear of mayonnaise to moisten the blow of the dry and densely-packed meat. Hot peppers (whole and chopped) and banana peppers are always in high demand, and I was beyond surprised to see their one of their newer options for heat lovers: a bottle of Sriracha. While they also serve Italian hoagies and creamy white tuna subs, nothing beats a hot, overflowing Dalessandro’s Cheesesteak — aka, “I’ll have an American Wit."