Battle of the Philly Cheesesteaks

So I’m going to take my stab at being a food critic today.  I mean, doesn’t that sound like the best job, ever?  You get paid to eat and write about food, holla!  I’m sure you know that one of the things Philly is known for is their cheesesteaks, and that there has been a long time rivalry between Pat’s and Geno’s.  They are two restaurants, well, more like stationery stands that happen to be caddy corner from each other.  Some may think it’s competition, but in some ways I think they help each other out, because if you’re a tourist like me, you’ve got to try both to see which one you like better!  And that, my friends, is just what Marvin, my friend Amy and I did.

Comparisons based on
Philly Cheesesteak wit (Cheese) Whiz and Onions, $8.50

Restaurant #1: Pat’s King of Steaks, founded by Pat and Henry Olivieri in 1930s

First Impresssion:

Planted in a white building with neon Pepsi Pat’s King of Steaks signs, Pat’s definitely has an understated vibe.  Outdoor seating by means of red park tables and benches are scattered beneath the awning.


One of their main signs is this one, which I think is a rather clever statement.  Of course, we had to take the obligatory photo in front of it!  Also, hung up were faded photos of celebrities that had visited this joint.


Flavorful sliced steak, oozing with cheese, sprinkled with barely noticeable grilled onions and encompassed in a crusty bread, the whiz really stood out (borderline overwhelming) on this steak sandwich.  It is a bit of a messy bite, but definitely flavorful and delicious.

Restaurant #2: Geno’s, founded by Joey Vento in 1966

First Impression:

Pretty much on the opposite end of the spectrum,  Geno’s has bright gaudy Vegas style signs that you cannot miss.  The outdoor seating is similar to Pat’s, but it’s orange in color.


Bumper sticker like signs that show off their patriotism (some of which are may be considered racist), police patches, and pictures of celebrities that have frequented the joint bombard the decor.


Bland meat, watery wimpy cheese whiz, and raw onions filled the tasty bread.  Pretty much all I could taste was bread and onions.

And the winner is…

Pat’s King of Steaks

OH baby, I’m linking up this cheesy goodness to…

Sweet Shot Day

The reviews in this post are all a matter of personal opinion, if you are in the Philly area, you should definitely check out both to see what you think!   I’ve also heard of another place called Jim’s and one called Ishkabibble’s and some claim those are even better.  Next time I’m in that hood, I’ll definitely check those out! 

And for those who have had cheesesteaks in Philly, what do you think?? Which one is your fave?


  1. ChantaleP
    July 27, 2010 / 6:36 am

    First, that price is ridiculous! 8.50 for that?! I’m shocked. lol. Geno’s looks like they didn’t even try. Where’s the Whiz on that one? My stomach is gurgling in revolt just looking at all that Whiz with steak and you’ve got to know, I’m a big fan of the Whiz! I think Geno spent too much time on the orange paint than on his philly steak. Yay for Pat’s!

  2. Nani
    July 27, 2010 / 7:00 am

    I saw these two places on Man vs. food and have been wanting to try them. Since I am on the east coast I should make an effort to head up north to try them out. I am glad you did a review/battle on these!!! Now I have another excuse to make the hubs go on a trip!

  3. alely
    July 27, 2010 / 7:03 am

    OMG! i heart philly cheesesteaks…well, i heart food period! i have to live vicariously through you because you eat the most yummy food!

  4. July 27, 2010 / 8:25 am

    I love a philly cheesesteak sandwich. They look yummy!!

  5. July 27, 2010 / 8:33 am

    I’ve never had a philly cheesesteak, but just visually it’s clear who the winner should be. What a difference! Can you imagine how awesome they must be if you made it at home with super fresh ingredients??

  6. July 27, 2010 / 8:43 am

    great pics, girl!!!! makes me want to take a trip out there and try out all that yummy philly goodness!!!

  7. July 27, 2010 / 9:09 am

    Oh la la! I’m now craving for a cheesesteak!

  8. Elisa
    July 27, 2010 / 10:29 am

    Should have tried Jim’s on South Street! I think that it far surpasses both Pats and Genos. =X

    Too bad we missed each other in Philly by a matter of hours! next time.

  9. July 27, 2010 / 11:06 am

    such a fun post! i agree, it seems like such a fun job to be a food critic…especially if i was a dessert critic 🙂 love your critiques…hmm, maybe there’s a future in this for you!!

  10. July 27, 2010 / 11:17 am

    I think I want your day job, even it it is just temporary and for blogging purposes, lol 🙂

  11. July 27, 2010 / 11:57 am

    okay, now I’m just hungry…

  12. July 27, 2010 / 4:04 pm

    Oh, yum! Gotta love cheesesteak.

  13. July 27, 2010 / 4:19 pm

    I’m suddenly craving a cheesesteak. Looks delish!

  14. July 27, 2010 / 4:47 pm

    Do they really make cheesesteaks with Cheese Whiz? I always thought it was provolone or swiss on Philly Cheesesteaks.

    I’ve been living in a cave, apparently!

    What a fun taste test.

  15. Randy
    July 27, 2010 / 6:34 pm

    Oh how I love this post. A good cheesesteak is probably one of my most favorite things to eat. Unfortunately, very few joints in the Midwest can pull it off like they do in the Philly area.

    I have been to both Geno’s and Pat’s. I would have to say you got it right, I favor Pat’s as well.
    My favorite is in a little town just outside Philly in West Chester, Tony’s ;).

    Thanks for making me hungry 😉

  16. July 27, 2010 / 6:58 pm

    oh yum… i LOVE philly cheesesteaks! they cheesier the better!

  17. July 27, 2010 / 7:41 pm

    Wow I would have to try one. We definitely don’t have anything like that here.

    It must have been fun being a food critic for the day. Who doesn’t love food 🙂 x

  18. July 27, 2010 / 9:58 pm

    I love philly cheese steaks. Yum! This made me hungry!


  19. July 27, 2010 / 11:04 pm

    Great. It’s midnight and now i MUST go eat. (PS – grew up near Philly, and a real philly cheesesteak is AMAZING)

  20. July 28, 2010 / 12:14 am

    sandy, ur hilarious. i really have no experience food blogging, i just go with i really love it, and yeh, wish i could do it for a living.:)

    i cant wait to hear about moto! actually homaro invited us for a complimentary dinner, but we just havnt made it out there yet….maybe in august.

    u did good with this post 🙂

  21. July 28, 2010 / 3:50 am

    I’m so hungry now :((


  22. July 28, 2010 / 7:09 am

    *drooling* I have NEVER wanted a Philly Cheesesteak…until that picture of Pat’s cheesesteak! It’s called a “cheese”steak not a “onion”steak for a reason! YUM!

  23. July 28, 2010 / 8:53 am

    Had to click on your link at darcy’s to figure out what was in the bun. now i’m hungry. it’s not even 9 a.m., so i have time to shop for philly cheese ingredients now. LOL

  24. July 28, 2010 / 7:16 pm

    This is TOO funny! So entertaining, Sandy!!! Very thorough research..!!

  25. Sue
    July 28, 2010 / 7:39 pm

    i so want to try it! my husband who went to med school in philly always talked about two rivalry cheesesteak sandwich!

  26. July 29, 2010 / 2:39 am

    oh goodness, Sandy…when I saw the title of your post I knew I shouldn’t be reading this after midnight! That life size photo is making me wide awake and soooo hungry for a Philly Cheesesteak! lol 🙂 I’m going to try and find one for lunch tomorrow {today}!

  27. July 29, 2010 / 10:03 pm

    hey sandy! wow, i was JUST in philly and did the same side-by-side comparison: no contest, completely agree with you, pat’s wins!

  28. August 5, 2010 / 8:34 am

    I’ve had Pat’s cheesesteaks! YUMMMO!

  29. November 28, 2010 / 10:20 pm

    so i just saw michael symon’s food feud on these exact 2 restaurants and he, too, picked pat’s 🙂 so glad your website had a search tool so i could come back and comment on this post i remember you wrote from way back when.

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