Cheese, Please! Philly Cheesesteaks – Pennsylvania

Philadelphia is known as the City of Brotherly Love, and serious lunch-love is what we feel when we partake of Pennsylvania’s official state sandwich, the Philly Cheesesteak. This pinnacle of cheesiness has actually been around since 1930 when Pat Olivieri Philly Cheesesteakcreated the sandwich at his hot dog stand in South Philly. If you’re from the Philadelphia area, you know that folks claim their allegiance to a particular cheesesteak joint with a feverish fervor. But you can easily make this delectable creation at home. The trick is slicing the beef super thin, which you can do if you freeze the meat ahead of time.

In Philly, when they say “wid or widout,” they’re talking about cheese. In our opinion, cheese is a non-negotiable. We like provolone, as the smoky flavor contrasts nicely with the beef – but some people swear their allegiance to other cheeses, including mozzarella or even those popular store-bought jars of processed cheese sauce.

The roll is also something that people are particular about. You want a long roll with a little bit of heft that can absorb the oils from the meat and cheese, not a soft bun that will fall apart after a bite or two.

You can top these sandwiches with caramelized onions or sautéed peppers, just like we did. Just remember to have extra napkins on hand – this is not a sandwich for the white-shirt crowd.

If you’re planning a visit to the Philly area and want to conduct your own taste test, check Pat’s King of Steaks or Geno’s Steaks, two iconic joints that sit across the street from each other in South Philly.

Philly Cheesesteaks


  • 2- to 2½-pound rib eye, top round or strip loin, trimmed of fat, sliced paper thin*
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Provolone slices
  • 4 French rolls


Place a quarter of the meat on an oiled griddle for 1 or 2 minutes on medium-high heat until meat is cooked. Season with salt and pepper. Lay one or two slices of cheese on top of meat. Place opened French roll on top of meat and cheese, cook 1 or 2 minutes longer or until cheese melts. Scoop filling into roll with spatula. Repeat for each portion of meat.

* Tip: Place meat in the freezer for 45 minutes to allow thin slicing, or ask your butcher to do so.