Pat's vs. Geno's Cheesesteak Debate

Pat's vs. Geno's Cheesesteak DebatePHILADELPHIA, PA - Philadelphia is steeped in history, and its culinary scene is no exception.  One of the most iconic foods associated with the City of Brotherly Love is the cheesesteak, a sandwich made with sliced ribeye steak, cheese, and onions on a long roll. But when it comes to cheesesteaks, one debate has raged on for decades: Pat's vs. Geno's.

Pat's vs. Geno's Cheesesteak Debate
Pat's vs. Geno's Cheesesteak Debate

The Great Cheesesteak Debate: Pat's vs. Geno's

These two cheesesteak shops, located just across the Street from each other on South 9th Street, have become synonymous with the Philadelphia cheesesteak experience. Both shops claim to have invented the cheesesteak, and both have their passionate supporters.

A History of Cheesesteaks

The exact origins of the cheesesteak are a bit murky, but most accounts place its birth in the early 1930s. Pat and Geno claim to have been the first to create the cheesesteak, with Pat citing 1930 and Geno claiming 1931.

Pat's founder, Pat Olivieri, is said to have come up with the idea for the cheesesteak while working as a hot dog vendor. He started adding sliced steak to his hot dogs, and the cheesesteak was born. On the other hand, Geno claims that their founder, Joey Vento, invented the cheesesteak while working at Pat's and then took the recipe with him when he opened his shop across the Street.

Regardless of who invented it first, there's no doubt that Pat and Geno have played a significant role in popularizing the cheesesteak. Both shops have been featured in numerous travel guides and food shows and continue to be popular tourist destinations.

The Rivalry Heats Up

Pat's and Geno's rivalry is as legendary as the cheesesteaks. The two shops constantly try to outdo each other with flashy signs, aggressive marketing, and occasional pranks.

In the 1960s, Pat's and Geno's got into a heated dispute over a parking spot between their two shops. The city eventually had to intervene and paint a double yellow line down the middle of the Street.

The rivalry has also spilled over into the political arena. In 2010, then-Mayor Michael Nutter declared a "Cheesesteak Day" in Philadelphia, but he refused to say which shop made the better cheesesteak.

The Tourist Experience

Despite the rivalry, Pat's and Geno's offer a unique and authentic Philadelphia cheesesteak experience. The atmosphere inside both shops is similar, with counter service and limited seating. The cheesesteaks are also very similar, with the main difference being how the meat is prepared. Pat chops their steak while Geno slices it.

So, which shop makes the better cheesesteak? That question has been debated for years, and there's no easy answer. It comes down to personal preference. Some people prefer the chopped steak at Pat's, while others prefer the sliced steak at Geno's.

Beyond the Rivalry

While Pat's and Geno's may be the most famous cheesesteak shops in Philadelphia, they are certainly not the only ones. There are many other great cheesesteak shops in the city, each with its unique take on the classic sandwich.

If you're looking for a genuinely authentic Philadelphia cheesesteak experience, don't be afraid to venture beyond Pat's and Geno's and explore other great shops the city offers. You might find your new favorite cheesesteak spot.

In conclusion, the Pats vs. Geno rivalry is a unique and fascinating part of Philadelphia's culinary history. Whether you're a fan of Pat's or Geno's, there's no denying that both shops have played a significant role in making the cheesesteak a beloved Philadelphia tradition.

This article is just a starting point; there is much more to learn about the history of the cheesesteak, Pat's vs. Geno's rivalry, and the broader Philadelphia cheesesteak scene. So grab a cheesesteak, explore more, and see for yourself what all the fuss is about.