The story of the Philly cheesesteak begins in the heart of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in the early 20th century. Legend has it that Pat Olivieri, a hot dog vendor, decided to try something new by grilling some thinly sliced beef on his grill for his own lunch. The aroma wafted through the air, enticing passersby with its irresistible sizzle. A taxi driver, drawn by the aroma, asked Pat to make him a sandwich with the mouthwatering meat. And just like that, the Philly cheesesteak was born. Sort of. The original sandwich made by Pat only had chopped beef and onions, no cheese.
As the popularity of this delectable creation spread, Pat Olivieri’s humble hot dog stand transformed into a bustling destination for locals and tourists alike. With each satisfied customer, the fame of the Philly cheesesteak grew, solidifying its status as a true culinary icon.
While sauteed onions have long been the traditional topping, the inclusion of peppers became popular as a customization among the newer vendors and restaurants offering the sandwich, adding a bit of Italian flair.
When you’re considering the true moment of the philly cheesesteak origin, you need to look at when someone added the cheese. The cheese wasn’t added until the 1940s when restaurant manager, “Cocky Joe” Lorenza at Pat’s King of Steaks added some provolone to the mix.
The key to an authentic Philly cheesesteak lies in the meat. Traditionally, thinly sliced rib-eye steak is used, known for its tender texture and rich flavor. The steak is cooked on a hot griddle, sizzling to perfection. The result is a juicy, flavorful filling that becomes the star of the sandwich. Today, the Philly cheesesteak meat can be found in various cuts and even chicken or vegetarian options, but the original recipe still holds a special place in the hearts of cheesesteak connoisseurs.
The ORIGINAL !!!
PAT'S KING of STEAKS
The ORIGINAL PHILLY CHEESESTEAK
Created by Pat Oliveri in 1933
Down The Block from PAT'S
GINO'S STEAKS is One of PHILLY'S BEST
WHAT is a CHEESESTEAK
The meat traditionally used is thinly sliced Rib-Eye or top round, although other cuts of beef are also used. On a lightly oiled griddle at medium temperature, the steak slices are quickly browned and then scrambled into smaller pieces with a flat spatula. Slices of cheese are then placed over the meat, letting it melt, and then the roll is placed on top of the cheese. The mixture is then scooped up with a spatula and pressed into the roll, which is then cut in half.
In Philadelphia, cheesesteaks are invariably served on hoagie rolls. Among several brands, perhaps the most famous are Amoroso rolls; these rolls are long, soft, and slightly salted. One source writes that "a proper cheesesteak consists of provolone or Cheez Whiz slathered on an Amoroso roll and stuffed with thinly shaved grilled meat," while a reader's letter to an Indianapolis magazine, lamenting the unavailability of good cheesesteaks, wrote that "the mention of the Amoroso roll brought tears to my eyes." After commenting on the debates over types of cheese and "chopped steak or sliced", Risk and Insurance magazine declared, "The only thing nearly everybody can agree on is that it all has to be piled onto a fresh, locally baked Amoroso roll.
American cheese, provolone, and Cheez Whiz are the most commonly used cheeses or cheese products put on to the Philly cheesesteak.
White American cheese, along with provolone cheese, are the favorites due to their mild flavor and medium consistency. Some establishments melt the American cheese to achieve the creamy consistency, while others place slices over the meat, letting them melt slightly under the heat. Philadelphia Inquirer restaurant critic Craig LaBan says, "Provolone is for aficionados, extra-sharp for the most discriminating among them," although LaBan was at the time new to the Philadelphia area, and sharp provolone is rarely found in cheesesteak shops, while mild provolone is common. Geno's owner, Joey Vento, said, "We always recommend the Provolone. That's the real cheese."
Cheez Whiz, first marketed in 1952, was not yet available for the original 1930 version, but has spread in popularity. A 1986 New York Times article called Cheez Whiz "the sine qua non of cheesesteak connoisseurs." In a 1985 interview, Pat Olivieri's nephew Frank Olivieri said that he uses "the processed cheese spread familiar to millions of parents who prize speed and ease in fixing the children's lunch for the same reason, because it is fast." Cheez Whiz is "overwhelmingly the favorite" at Pat's, outselling runner-up American by a ratio of eight or ten to one, while Geno's claims to go through eight to ten cases of Cheez Whiz a day.