Philly Cheese Steak at Sidewalk restaurant, 17 Wing Wah Lane, Central. 26JUL12 (Photo by Nora Tam/South China Morning Post via Getty Images)
How Cheesesteaks Became An Iconic Philadelphia Sandwich
By Nick Johnson
If you're looking to find the best possible cheesesteak, it's pretty apparent which city you should head to, as there’s a reason why they're often referred to as Philly cheesesteaks. This cheesy, beefy classic is as Philadelphian as the Liberty Bell, and it all started with a man named Pat Olivieri.
Olivieri, the restaurateur behind Pat's King of Steaks, is credited with making the very first cheesesteak in the 1930s when he stumbled upon the dish while hawking hot dogs. Olivieri grilled some steak scraps and put them on a hot dog bun, and when a curious cab driver drove by and asked Olivieri if he could try the sandwich, the rest was history.
The cheese was not a feature of the original steak sandwich until the '40s and '50s, when the restaurant's manager at the time, "Cocky" Joe Lorenza, had the ingenious idea to add provolone cheese to the chopped steak. Today, you can enjoy Philly cheesesteaks at restaurants across Philadelphia, and there are countless variations on the classic sandwich.