Philadelphia Cheesesteak Adventure

My quest to find the Ultimate Cheesesteak

The ultimate cheesesteak?  Is it a roll, meat and cheese or a happy childhood memory?  

Does it come with Wiz Wit?  — picture Pat’s —-  or a Beer?   —- picture Mama ——-

I’m Jim Pappas.  I have eaten over 1,100 different cheesesteaks since 5/16/2018.  I keep track of the cheesesteaks I have eaten on a 36 column spreadsheet.  I score them using my 5 category 100 point scoring system.  Each one has a video review on my Youtube Channel; Philadelphia Cheesesteak Adventure.  

When I started my quest I was told I was wasting my time because all cheesesteaks were the same and everyone already knows where to get a good cheesesteak.  I quickly found out;  1. Philadelphians would rather argue about who has the best cheesesteak than actually eat a cheesesteak.  2. Favorite cheesesteaks have a lot to do with ‘my dad’s favorite place’ and the ending to a night out with friends.  3. Rolls, meat and cheese can be very, very different.

Here’s a link to the website. on the website you will find;

  1. Home page.  I will introduce you to my adventure.  I discuss ‘Not all cheesesteak are created equal.’  I have a few talking points about rolls, meat and cheese.  Don’t worry it is mostly pictures.
  2. Philadelphia Cheesesteak Guide.  The world’s only interactive Philadelphia Cheesesteak Guide lives here.  The information in the guide is based on my 36 column spreadsheet.  The guide lets you search for your next cheesesteak three different ways; 1. My 36 column spreadsheet.  The entire spreadsheet is there in its raw form.  2.  Search by; name; location; or amenities (bars only).  You choose what is most important to you.  3. Map view.  Every place I reviewed is ‘pinned’ on the map.  The ‘pins’ have my total score for that cheesesteak.  

Your search results (and clicking on a ‘pin’) will include my YouTube video, full review, notes and scores for each of the 5 categories in my scoring system. 

  1. The Cheesey Life Store.  Cheesesteaks are a way of life, The Cheesey Life.  Here is your chance to wear your Cheesey Life proudly.
  2. About.  I think I have an awesome story and I tell alot of it here.
  3. Contact. Questions, comments and/or concerns.  That was my tagline when I had a real job.

Not all cheesesteak are created equal  

I was going to try and explain all the different roll, meat and cheese combinations.  I wrote a paragraph about bread density and then I looked at two pictures of rolls with different bread density.  The pictures were much easier to understand.  I added some verbiage because I feel like I have to.  I apologize for my grammar.  Luckily google corrects my spelling.

  ———- pictures ——  Gilben’s                                   Donkey’s                              Philip’s  

The Roll – A long roll. Amoroso Rolls are probably the most well known cheesesteak roll.  I think the perfect cheesesteak roll is M&Mesque.  I want a crispy crust that I can bite right through and soft bread that holds the meat, cheese and fried onions inside the roll.  I very much dislike biting into my cheesesteak and the meat, cheese and fried onions shoot out the back. 

———- pictures ——   Little Creek                              Curly’s                                    Tony’s

The Meat – We will save the Sirloin vs Rib Eye vs Wagyu for a different time.  Here we will discuss chopped vs slab/ribbon.  The original places had a slicer next to the grill.  As orders would come in they would slice the steak and lay it on the grill.  From the grill to a roll.  Add some cheese whiz and you have a cheesesteak.  Serving the meat this way is called; a ribbon or slab.  In the suburbs, most places chop the meat as it cooks on the grill.  I grew up on chopped meat and that is my preference.

———- pictures ——  Seward’s                              Steak out                                 Bayard House

The Cheese – Beer Cheese is the way of the future.  Provolone is my new recreational cheese.  I’m becoming a fan of melting the cheese and then pouring onto the cheesesteak.  We can discuss these topics later.  Here we will stick to the original cheese debate; Whiz vs American.  Traditionally, ‘in the city,’ aka Philly they would use Cheese Whiz with their ribbons/slabs.  In the suburbs,  we use American cheese.  The cheese melted all through the chopped meat on the grill is my preferred method.  

———- pictures ——   Delco         Lucky’s          Esterly’s