Tuesday, July 15 2014 01:14

Rock Father Tour: When in Philly... Geno's or Pat's for Cheesesteak? #VisitPhilly

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G.J JOE or COBRA? Autobots or Decepticons? Coke or Pepsi? Angels or Demons? Empire or Rebellion? Throughout the course of time and mankind, there have many been epic battles that have raged on and become the subject of infinite debate. Is there a "right" or "wrong" answer? Probably not, but whichever you prefer will ultimately become your "right," and besides - everyone knows that COBRA rules. Last week, however, I dropped myself smack-dab in the middle of two longtime rivals, PAT'S KING OF STEAKS and GENO'S STEAKS - both located directly across from one another in South Philadelphia. You see, I dig a good "Philly Cheesesteak" - but I'm from Chicago, and up until now, I'd never had the chance to take the cheesesteak challenge for a legit Philly Cheesesteak. While this doesn't really fall inline with my fitness challenge, I made an exception (and hit the hotel gym later) to choose my side.

For my personal taste, I ordered the exact same thing at both places: Cheesesteak with Onions and Provolone. Apparently Kraft Cheese Whiz is a big deal here, used frequently at both establishments - but I'm not a big fan. I did get Cheese Fries at Geno's, and it was definitely the 'Whiz on there...

steakpastsPat's King of Steaks

1237 E. Passyunk Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19147

Holding an average user review score of 3.6 Google and 3.5 Yelp, the originator of the Philly Cheesesteak holds a full-point lead over it's neighbor in terms of the publicly-available online scores.

I rolled into Pat's after circling the block a few times and then getting guided into a primo spot by a local... somewhat shady individual that was directing cars in hopes of scoring a few bucks (there's a lot of folks like this in the touristy areas of Philly). I tossed the guy a buck and went right up to the window with only two customers ahead of me.

The sandwich: Bread on the slightly moist side coupled with tasty meat that's inconsistent in texture. A few tougher pieces in there, but flavorful as I'd expect. The onions and cheese did their job here.

steakgenoGeno's Steaks

9th and Passyunk, 1219 South 9th St, Philadelphia, PA 19147

Holding an average review score of 2.8 Google and 2.5 Yelp,

While Pat's might be the originator, Geno's has turned Cheesesteak into a spectacle - pulling in 4x the line during my visit. 

I tossed my order from Pat's in the car and took note that someone else from Illinois has squeezed in behind me. The wait felt longer than it was, but the service at the windows was prompt.

The sandwich: Better presentation than their neighbor's steak overall, but the taste here is key. The bread was not only more solid, but seemed fresher. And the onions (chopped into squares) were crisper and bolder. The steak, presented in longer strips was both flavorful and tender.

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Pictured: On the left, Pat's. On the right, Geno's

Bottom Line: Between the two most famous Philadelphia giants, Geno's wins this round based on my personal experience. While both sandwiches were very good (and make what passes for the "Big Philly Cheesesteak" at Subway look like garbage), Geno's just scores bigger than Pat's on this trip. Is there a better Philly Cheesesteak in Philadelphia? It's quite possible, but like Chicago Pizza - there's dozens of independently-owned shops serving 'em up, and what equates to "best" is strictly dependent on taste. My advice? If you're a first-timer as I was, get the exact same thing from Geno's and Pat's, then make up your own mind.

James Zahn

James Zahn is best-known as The Rock Father™, a media personality, commentator, adventurer and raconteur. He is the Owner, Publisher, and Editor-in-Chief of THE ROCK FATHER™ Magazine. In January, 2019, after nearly a decade of publishing The Rock Father™ Magazine, he joined Adventure Media and Events as Senior Editor of The Toy Book—the leading trade publication for the toy industry since 1984, as well as The Pop Insider — a destination for all things pop culture, and The Toy Insider — the leading consumer guide for toys and games. He is also editor of The Toy Report, a weekly newsletter published by The Toy Book each Thursday. Zahn has over 27 years of experience in the entertainment, retail and publishing industries.

He regularly serves as a Brand Ambassador and spokesperson for several Globally-recognized pop culture and lifestyle brands in addition to consulting for a number of toy manufacturers. 

Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for bands such as FEAR FACTORY, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands. He currently serves as an artist manager and video director for PRODUCT OF HATE, whose debut album was released by Napalm Records in 2016, distributed by ADA/Warner Music in the U.S. with Universal Music handling global. A new album has been completed and is set for release this year.

Zahn and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, NBC, ABC, WGN, CBS, GCTN, G4, The Chicago Tribune, Forbes, MarketWatch, Reuters, BusinessWire, Fangoria, Starlog and more. He's appeared as a music expert on CNN's AC360 alongside Anderson Cooper, and has been interviewed by Larry King. In the past he served as a writer for the Netflix Stream Team,  Fandango Family and PBS KIDS, penned articles for Sprout and PopSugar, and was a contributor to Chicago Parent.

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