(14 Snyder Avenue)
John’s may be just a small shack nestled among strip malls but has been a South Philly favorite for over 70 years. This Philadelphia staple was awarded a James Beard Award for America’s Classics, so if James Beard things the cheese steaks are exceptional, you will too! Unlike the other steak shops in South Philly, John’s turns off their grills at 2:30 p.m. after the lunch crowd so make sure to get there early or call ahead to place your order.
(1219 South 9th Street)
Located in the epicenter of cheese steak heaven, Geno’s is open 24/7 for all your late night cheese steak cravings. Geno’s has been open for more than forty years in the same location where founder Joey Vento claims to have been the first to put cheese on a steak sandwich. Don’t tell that to Pat’s though! The two located across the street from one another have waged a friendly competition as to who has the better cheese steak of the two.
(600 Wendover Street)
Dalessandro’s Steaks have been serving cheese steaks for so long no one can actually put a time frame on when the sandwich made its debut on their menu. Regardless, if you’re up in the northwestern ridge of Philly, in the Roxborough neighborhood, a stop into Dalessandro’s is mandatory. It’s rumored that the chefs season the grill with fat before adding on the meat. Whatever their secret is, the cheese steak from Dalessandro’s is perfectly greasy and delicious. Dalessandros.com
(9th Street & Passyunk Avenue)
Thank goodness for Pat Olivieri! Without him there would have never been a cheese steak sandwich to begin with. Pat gets the credit for creating the first cheese steak sandwich in 1930 from his hot dog stand in South Philadelphia’s famous Italian Market. Since then the shop may have grown but the steaks have stayed delicious and are known worldwide. There may always be a line, both here and across the street at Geno’s, but the line moves quickly as long as you don’t mess up your order. Remember, it’s “one wiz with.”