Good eats: Philly is known for its cheese steak sandwich

Chandler Holland / Times-News correspondent

Commentary by Chandler Holland
Times-News correspondent

   Philadelphia is well-known for a variety of culinary delights, but one in particular is so synonymous with the city that it is even named after it. The Philly Cheese Steak has become so famous, it is even listed on our own Graham Soda Shop’s menu. Other local Philly favorites include hoagies (subs) and water ice (Italian ice). Philly claims to be the home of America’s ice cream. Philly’s pizza has a character all of its own. Unlike Chicago’s deep dish, Philly’s pizza is thin and crispy, and it seems as though there is a pizzeria on every corner. Another favorite local treat is soft pretzels, sold on pushcarts found on most Center City street corners. Be prepared to answer, “With or without?” The vendor will want to know if you want mustard on your pretzel.
For a cornucopia of local foods all in one place, visit Reading Terminal Market, one of America’s “largest and oldest public markets,” which has been at 12th and Arch Streets since 1893. For fabulous ethnic cuisine, the 9th Street Italian Market is located just south of Center City, and Chinatown has a multitude of delectable restaurants and shops. Famous Delicatessen, a vintage example of a real old fashioned deli, is a personal favorite of my grandparents, and has kept much of the original charm from when it opened its doors in 1923.



Open 24/7
From Vine to Arch Streets and 7th to Broad Streets
The Chinatown Friendship Gate is at 10th and Arch Streets

Famous Delicatessen
Open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily
700 South 4th Street, Philadelphia, Pa. — on Fabric Row

Geno’s Steaks
Open 24/7
1219 South 9th Street, Philadelphia, Pa. (at 9th and Passyunk Avenue)

Italian Market
Admission is free, market tours available for $29  for adults and $24 for children
Open daily, outdoor vendors open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays and 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sundays
9th Street from Wharton to Fitzwater Streets

Pat’s King of Steaks
Open 24/7
1237 E. Passyunk Avenue, Philadelphia, Pa.

Reading Terminal Market
Admission is free, market tours available for adults $17 and children $10
Open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays
51 North 12th Street, Philadelphia, Pa.

Here’s a recipe to try at home:

Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich

Olive oil
1 large Vidalia onion, coarsely chopped
1 large bell pepper, coarsely chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 pound shaved rib-eye steak
1/2 pound provolone cheese, thinly sliced or shredded — other cheeses can be substituted
4 long Italian hoagie rolls (bread rolls)

Heat a large flat sauté pan on medium heat and when hot, brush heavily with olive oil. Add chopped peppers and onions, and salt and pepper. Sauté mixture for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring often, until the onions are translucent, but not browned. Push the mixture to the perimeter of the pan, and cook the meat in the center (hottest) part of the pan for 3 to 4 minutes, until all sign of pink is gone. While cooking, chop and mix the meat in the pan. When the meat is done, stir in the onion-pepper mixture from the perimeter of the pan. Add the cheese on top and let cook until fully melted into the mixture. Slice rolls lengthwise so there is a “hinge” on one side holding it together, and warm or lightly toast. Spoon 1/4 of the cheese/steak mixture into each roll. Top with ketchup or other condiments, if desired.


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