When it comes to Philadelphia cuisine, there's only one dish that fully encompasses the true spirit of the city — the good old cheesesteak. It's the cornerstone of a decades-old battle regarding who concocts the greasiest and cheesiest steak sandwich in the City of Brotherly Love, and among all contenders, two always seem to reign supreme: Pat's King of Steaks and Geno's.
The two cheesesteak joints have been sandwich rivals for nearly 47 years, ever since Geno's was established in 1966 right across the street from the then 36-year-old Pat's. Located in South Philadelphia right off Ninth and Wharton Streets, the two restaurants might appear to have a lot in common to outsiders.
They're both open 24/7, their specialties are fantastic cheesesteaks served on freshly baked rolls, and each thinks they’re the best. In fact, Pat’s even calls themselves "the originator and inventor of the steak and cheesesteak sandwiches" while Geno’s claims they offer "the best of cheesesteaks."
To Philadelphia natives, however, Pat's and Geno's are very different in important areas. Pat's steaks are prepared thinly chopped while Geno's offers thinly sliced strips of steak. The bread qualities are slightly different, and depending on your cheese preference (Cheese Whiz is a must-have), the steak tastes can vary greatly.
The sandwich war has even come to involve hungry celebrity visitors, like President Obama, Rachael Ray, Justin Timberlake, and Tony Danza, to name just a few. So in order to fully experience Philadelphia the next time you’re in town, become a cheesesteak crusader and bravely choose a side: Pat’s or Geno’s?