Best Cheesesteak in Pennsylvania (2016)


While many of our iconic sandwiches are surrounded by debate regarding their origin, there is less controversy surrounding the creation of the classic cheesesteak sandwich . In 1930 Pat Olivieri, a Philly hot dog vendor, put some meat on his grill and a cabbie driving by ordered the first steak sandwich. Word spread like wildfire as cabbies across the city flocked to Pat’s for his steak sandwich topped with onions. There is debate as to who added cheese, but today’s incarnation of the sandwich is as synonymous with Philly as the Liberty Bell and Rocky Balboa.

  • The Groove Cheesesteak Co.

    The Groove Cheesesteak Co.

    Visiting Philadelphia natives credit The Groove Cheesesteak Co. (formerly Southside Steaks) as the closest to a Philly original you can get in Pittsburgh. The classic rendition comes with sliced beef on a soft Italian roll with sauteed onions, peppers and cheese sauce, while the "Pittsburgh" comes topped with mozzarella, french fries, lettuce, tomato and cole slaw.
    Photo courtesy of The Groove Cheesesteak Co.

  • Dalessandro's Steaks & Hoagies

    Dalessandro's Steaks & Hoagies

    Open since 1960, Dalessandro’s uses chopped rib-eye served on soft fresh Italian rolls with a pepper bar you can sample when ordering your cheesesteak. They mix the onions in with the cheese and meat, giving a flavorful combo in every bite. Dalessandro’s is one half of the neighborhood rivalry with Chubby’s across the street.
    Photo courtesy of Krista / Flickr

  • Forksville General Store

    Forksville General Store

    The Forksville General Store and Restaurant is a 160-year-old historic landmark located in the picturesque mountains of Northeastern Pennsylvania. Owners Mike and Mary Ann moved their family from the hustle and bustle of Philadelphia to the quiet countryside upstate. Being from South Philly, Mike brought his love of the iconic cheesesteak to his quiet mountain restaurant, now home of Big Mikes Steaks and Hoagies. The original south Philly cheesesteak is served with a half-pound of grilled steak “wit or witout” fried onions and a choice of provolone, American cheese or the “whiz,” all on a famous Amoroso roll.
    Photo courtesy of Forksville General Store

  • Jim's Steaks South Street

    Jim's Steaks South Street

    The home page of Jim’s Steaks is adorned with food porn shots of their cheesesteaks with the caption “This is How It’s Done.” It’s hard to argue when the proof is staring you in the face saying “eat me now!” Passed down to Ken Silver by his father, Jim's Southside opened in the summer of 1976 and has ties to the first Jim’s steakhouse opened around 1940. Jim's uses chopped steak as opposed to sliced. In a hipster neighborhood in the heart of Philly, Jim’s has earned its place among the top cheesesteak institutions in the city.
    Photo courtesy of steve lyon / Flickr

  • Philip's Steaks

    Philip's Steaks

    Philip's Steaks has been open for over 30 years, serving residents of and visitors to South Philly 24 hours a day. A bit off the beaten path for South Philly cheesesteak, Philip's offers a standard 'wich as well as the more unusual "Old Fashioned," topped with provolone, grilled tomatoes, onions and long hots.
    Photo courtesy of Thinkstock

  • Steve's Prince of Steaks

    Steve's Prince of Steaks

    A Philadelphia native, founder Steve Iliescu of Steve's Prince of Steaks has always known the value of a good cheesesteak and its importance in the cultural scene of his city. As a boy, Steve made trips to get his beloved sandwich at iconic establishments like Pat’s and Geno’s, and he has had a lifelong passion for this iconic sandwich . Many believe Steve has now surpassed his predecessors and is indeed the Prince of Steaks.
    Photo courtesy of Steve's Prince of Steak / Facebook

  • Joe's Steaks + Soda Shop

    Joe's Steaks + Soda Shop

    Samuel "Chink" Sherman, who had long worked at Pat’s King of Steaks, opened what was then called Chink's Steaks in 1949 when he decided it was time to bring the cheesesteak to North Philly. Sherman ran Chink's for 46 years before retiring and turning the business over to one of its long time workers, Joe, who changed the name in 2013. It has won many awards, including the honor of best cheesesteak in Philadelphia.
    Photo courtesy of Joe's Steaks + Soda Shop

  • Leo's Steak Shop

    Leo's Steak Shop

    Despite its location outside of Philadelphia in Folcroft, Leo's has attained a reputation as one of the best cheesesteaks around, with awards for the best rendition in Philly and Delaware County. The shop has somewhat of a cult following for its 18-inch cheesesteak. The meat at Leo’s is served chopped rather than sliced and always comes with American cheese on semi-soft rolls as opposed to the soft rolls many places use. Patrons agree this is necessary given the size of the sandwiches.
    Photo courtesy of Leo's Steak Shop / Facebook

  • John's Roast Pork

    John's Roast Pork

    Established in 1930, John's is one of the oldest sandwich shops in Philly. Today the rest of city is learning what dock workers and contractors have known for years: John’s has great sandwiches! John’s does indeed serve a delicious roast pork as the name would indicate, but don’t let the name fool you! They also serve a cheesesteak which has won top honors in the category. It is noted for expertly seasoned beef grilled with cheese and onions actually folded into the meat, making it more flavorful and cheesy than many of its rivals. It's served on a crusty seeded roll.
    Photo courtesy of T.Tseng / Flickr

  • Pat's King of Steaks

    Pat's King of Steaks

    Founded by Pat Olivieri in 1930, Pat's King of Steaks began as a modest hot dog stand and is now considered the birthplace of the steak sandwich which eventually evolved into the now iconic cheesesteak. The menu at Pat’s includes a Steak section with 13 options, as well as a section called "Everything Else" with about half as many options. Pat’s is old school and accepts cash only, and the website includes instructions on how to order: 1) specify which steak sandwich “wit” or “wit - out” onions; 2) specify plain, cheese whiz, provolone, American or Pizza Steak; 3) order only steak at widow one and everything else at window 2 and have your cash ready. A true cheesesteak experience.
    Photo courtesy of Pat's King of Steaks

That's why it came as quite a surprise when readers of 10Best and Sandwich America voted The Groove Cheesesteak Co. (formerly Southside Steaks) – a Pittsburgh sandwich shop – as the best in the state. It's a major upset that should have some Philly residents abuzz.

It was an extremely tight race, and the final result came down to a matter of a few votes between Pittsburgh's only nominated sandwich shop and Dalessandro's Steaks & Hoagies, a Philadelphia favorite. But the City of Brotherly Love was still well represented, with seven out of the top 10.

The top 10 winners in the category Best Cheesesteak in Pennsylvania are as follows:

  1. The Groove Cheesesteak Co. - Pittsburgh
  2. Dalessandro's Steaks & Hoagies - Philadelphia
  3. Forksville General Store - Forksville
  4. Jim's Steaks South Street - Philadelphia
  5. Philip’s Steaks - Philadelphia
  6. Steve's Prince of Steaks - Philadelphia
  7. Joe's Steaks + Soda Shop - Philadelphia
  8. Leo's Steak Shop - Folcroft
  9. John's Roast Pork - Philadelphia
  10. Pat's King of Steaks - Philadelphia

A panel of experts picked the initial 20 nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote. Experts Jill Gilber (JillyFromPhilly), Erica Lamberg (10Best Local Expert) and Sharon Rigney (10Best Local Expert) were chosen based on their familiarity with Pennsylvania's food culture.

Other nominees included Chubby's Steaks in Philadelphia, DiMaria's Pizza and Italian Kitchen in Lilitz, Geno's Steaks in Philadelphia, Giacomo's Market in Easton, Maggio's Restaurant in Southampton, Mama's Pizzeria in Bala Cynwyd, Pagano's Market & Bar in Philadelphia, Philadelphia Subs in Wilkes Barre, Pudge's Steaks & Hoagies in Blue Bell and Tony Luke's in Philadelphia.

Congrats to all 10 of our cheesesteak winners.

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AlertThe Experts

Jennifer Daskevich

Jennifer Daskevich

Jennifer Daskevich

Terry French

Terry French

Terry French

Jill Gilber

Jill Gilber

Jill Gilber

Erica Lamberg

Erica Lamberg

Erica Lamberg

Sharon Rigney

Sharon Rigney

Sharon Rigney