Monday, November 23, 2009

Pat's or Geno's, Philadelphia, PA

Mark "Holiday" MacDonnell a friend of mine from JMU, a life long resident of south jersey and current resident of Philadelphia had some time to kill before the Eagles game last night and decided to make his mark (no pun intended) on the blog by taking a trip to get some cheesesteaks.

My first trip into Philly was the weekend of the Super Bowl the Eagles played the Patriots and also marked the first time I had a real Philly Cheesesteak.  I tried both Pat's and Geno's back to back.  After trying both, I consider myself a Pats guy, for the reasons Mark talks about below, the grimyness and cheese application as well as the bread.  Often times the bread can make or break a sandwich, and Pats has great bread.  I have yet to try Tony Lukes, but I have seen his work on the Food Network and Man vs Food, and will definitely make it a priority on my next trip. 

"So I figured as a local philadelphia resident there needed to be a true write up on here about authentic philly cheesesteaks. Today I hit up the classic cheesesteak spots, who compete against each other on opposing corners of 9th and Passyunk. A right of passage for anyone who comes through philly is Pat's and Geno's. Both steaks are good, but I wouldn't want to mislead readers of Luncho'clock and say these are the two best cheesesteak places in the city. Try Tony Luke's or Cosmi's if you seriously want a top notch steak. What I got today was a Provolone with from Geno's and a Wiz with from Pat's. The with means with fried onions. Both were good steaks and definitely hit the spot on a football sunday. The true greatness of these places is the atmosphere of south philadelphia and the fact that these places are open practically 24/7. Lines will commonly stretch around the block and into the streets. These places are busiest before and after sporting events and about twenty five minutes after last call. The steaks are very similar with the main differences between the two places being cleanliness and cheese application. If you're concerned with cleanliness I would definitely recommend Geno's over pats. As for cheese application, the two spots do it differently. Pats' will put the cheese on the steak itself and geno's will put the cheese on the bread. You may think this is not a big deal but it makes a difference in the steak experience. At Pat's you're getting a dripping messy steak that you'll still be tasting the next morning. Geno's is cleaner to eat, but the bread seems to absorb some of the flavor from the cheese. I will say the steak quality at Geno's is a little better as well. My recommendation for your visit is pick whichever line is shorter. There isn't a large enough difference to wait significantly longer for one vs. the other. My other suggestion, Order a provolone with and an order of cheese fries. They put more than enough wiz on the fries to give anyone their fill of processed cheese product. No matter what decision you make you can't go wrong at 9th and Passyunk."

- Holiday

Geno's, looks more like a carnival ride than sandwich stand.

Pat's.  You can tell it is better by the line. I will take a better cheesesteak than neon lights anyday. 

Pat's on the left, Geno's on the Right. 


  1. Not to give Philly the old goon-hand; but Carl’s Steaks (3 locations in NYC) does a fine job competing. I first tried it at Yankee Stadium. Thinly sliced sirloin with grilled onions with your choice of cheez whiz, american, provolone. Not your average stadium fare but I honestly put it up there with the one I had @ Tony Luke’s in Philly.

  2. I have never had a Carl's steak so I will have to take the previous comments word on that but I have eaten at just about every steak place in philly and have to say that Tony Luke's under I-95 has by far the best steaks in the city and the homeless people swearing at the line just makes the experience that much better. Definitely try Tony Luke's next time you are in Philly.