It’s been a raging debate that has persisted in Philadelphia since Joey Vento opened up Geno’s across the street from Pat’s King of Steaks in 1966. Sadly, after more than half a century, we are no closer to resolving the million dollar question of “which cheesesteak is better?”.
Those of you who are not from Philly are probably confused about what the big deal is. After all, there are plenty of similar restaurants, none drawing nearly as much attention for a rivalry based primarily on taste. But what makes the competition so fierce and brutal between these two places is their locations (right across the street from each other) and, well, their all-out bitterness toward each other. For example, try carrying a cup that says “Geno’s” on it into Pat’s territory — you’ll be shooed away in seconds time.
But don’t be fooled, both Geno’s and Pat’s know that perpetuating a rivalry like this does nothing but boost sales, for both restaurants. It’s a weapon they both use to egg on word of mouth, and boy do they use it freely. The result has been generous (and free) attention, on TV shows and nation-wide news stations alike.
Another way they get attention is by strictly enforcing ordering speak like “Whiz Wit”, short for a cheesesteak with cheese whiz and onions. God forbid you don’t recall how to order your food. You’ll probably be sent to the back of the line.
Of course, part of the reason they get so much attention is the taste of their food. Both restaurants make a great cheesesteak, with subtle but noticeable differences. Both use rib-eye cuts of meat for their steaks. While Geno’s slices the steak very thin and long, Pat’s tends to chop the steaks up into smaller pieces. As a result, Geno’s steaks tend to be a little fattier, but also a little tastier. As for the cheese, Geno’s applies the whiz on the bread whereas Pat’s applies the cheese on top of the meat, which makes for a messier time eating.
Which one is better? Well, that’s for you to decide on your own, so if you’re ever in Philly, stop by and give both a taste!