7 Myths About the Best Philly Cheesesteak
April 13, 2023
The best Philly Cheesesteak is one of the most classic American sandwiches. People eat it at home and in restaurants. Some people also have them on special occasions because it’s a fun sandwich to share with friends and family.
The best Philly Cheesesteak can be enjoyed during the summer or the winter making it a great dish no matter where you live.
If you’re new to this amazing sandwich, you might have heard about the history and the myths that come along with it. This guide will cover all the details you need to know before ordering and eating this amazing historic sandwich.
Cheesesteak is Only American
Many people think a cheesesteak Philly is a typical American sandwich. This is true but the sandwich actually has Italian roots. Italian immigrants in the 1900s often sold sandwiches from carts. These meals were quick and cheap so that people could eat on the go and with very little money.
There was one Italian immigrant in particular that begin to invent the Philly cheesesteak during this time.
The best Philly cheesesteak was first created by Pat Olivieri. They begin cooking beef with onions flattened on top. The scent of the beef cooking with onion was different from other sandwich carts around so it drew in more and more customers.
People begin talking about Pat and his brother and their amazing sandwich creation.
Cheesesteak is a Street Food
After reading the above, you might be thinking Philly cheesesteak is just street food. While it started that way, it has now become a food served in fast food joints as well as elegant restaurants.
The first version of the Philly cheesesteak is just thinly sliced beef with onions on crusty bread. Soon though, Pat opened up a real restaurant where the sandwich was served to more and more customers all over the city.
The food also become a classic because Part sold it all over the city outside events like concerts and theatres. It quickly become a food people would eat on a casual night out as well as after a special occasion.
Cheesesteaks Were Only For Low-Income Earners
After reading that the best Philly cheesesteaks were a cheap street food, you might think only low-income earners ate in. However, Pat soon begin to market it to upscale people like celebrities and the rich.
He would go to famous people exiting concerts and big events across the city and ask them to come to his shop. He would then take photos of them eating his creations to show the world that even famous people enjoyed his cheesesteaks.
With the help of these celebrities, the sandwich also becomes famous very quickly. People would even come from other states and other parts of the country just to try the sandwich.
Cheesesteak Always Had Cheese
The original cheesesteak actually did not have any cheese. It was just meat and onions on Italian bread. It was actually a worker that worked for Pat that added in the cheese. His name was Joe Lorenzo and he worked for Pat in the 1940s. He added provolone cheese to his own steak sandwiches and soon begin serving it like that to customers.
Cheese Wiz Is the Only Cheese Used to Make Cheesesteaks
If you have ordered a cheesesteak in Philly, you might have eaten it with Cheez Whiz. This is the most common cheese found on the sandwich and first came out in 1952. However, cheese was being put on the beef and onion sandwiches long before this.
Joe Lorenzo says he was the first person to put cheese on the sandwich. This would have been in the 1940s as this is when he worked for Pat.
However, Joey Vento says he was the first to add cheese to the sandwich which would have been in the 1960s after Cheese Whiz was invented. As you can see there is some debate on when cheese was added and who added it first.
Since the timeline is hard to see for sure, we may never know exactly when cheese came to be on the cheesesteak. However, we do know that it has become an integral part of the sandwich as cheese was even added to the name.
Pat Oliviero Was the Only One Who Sold Cheesesteaks
While Pat is the one who first made the idea for the cheesesteak, he was not the only one selling this type of sandwich in Philly. He quickly had some competition when Joey Vento opened up a shop in 1966.
This shop was called Geno’s Steaks while Pat’s shop was called Pat’s King of Steaks. The menu was almost exactly the same and it was also open 24 hours.
Nowadays, there are tons of places to buy cheesesteaks in Philly. However, Pat and Joey’s shops were known as the first ones and created a lot of rivalry in the generations to come. They were often seen criticizing one another in the media and outside each other’s restaurants.
Cheesesteaks Always have Meat and Steak
Just by the name of the sandwich, you could assume the only variation of the sandwich is one with meat and cheese. While this is the classic choice, there are many different ways to make and eat cheesesteaks.
Many restaurants in Philly now have alternatives to the cheesesteak which can be eaten by vegetarians and vegans. There are also some choices for those that are on a low-calorie diet.
Cheesesteaks can also be made with chicken. Modern variations also have many different kinds of cheeses rather than just the classic yellow one from a can that used to be considered the classic.
If you’re in the Philly area and want to try some of the best cheesesteaks around or need a Philly cheesesteak gift card, contact Tony Luke’s. We are located in South Philly and are known to have the best cheesesteak in the area. We have a wide range of menu items for those interested in other choices as well. We are ready to welcome you and give you a new favorite sandwich you’ll be coming back for time and time again.