Where to Find The Best Cheesesteak in New Jersey

Where to Find The Best Cheesesteak in New JerseyNEW JERSEY - Located in Camden, New Jersey, Donkey's Place has garnered nationwide recognition as one of the top destinations for cheesesteaks. Its popularity reached new heights when it was featured on CNN's Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown. Bourdain, a renowned culinary expert, declared Donkey's Place his favorite cheesesteak, surpassing those found in Philadelphia, the birthplace of the iconic sandwich. What sets this family-owned establishment apart is not only its delicious food but also its rich history.

Where to Find The Best Cheesesteak in New Jersey
Photo: MyPhillyAlive.com

The story of Donkey's Place began in 1943 when Leon "Donkey" Lucas and his wife founded the restaurant. The restaurant's name, "Donkey's," stems from Leon's boxing nickname, as he was known for his powerful punch in the ring. Remaining true to its roots, Donkey's Place operates in the exact location, serving locals and tourists alike. The longstanding success of their iconic sandwich led to the opening of Donkeys Place Too in Medford, New Jersey, offering customers another location to indulge in their exceptional cheesesteaks.

One of the distinguishing features of Donkey's Place is its choice to serve its cheesesteaks on a poppy seed Kaiser roll instead of the traditional hoagie roll. This unconventional twist adds extra texture and flavor to their already mouthwatering creations. Their sandwiches are renowned for their perfectly cooked caramelized onions, adding a unique sweetness and savory flavor that elevates the entire experience. Generations of ownership have maintained the restaurant's commitment to excellence, leading to the establishment of their mobile food truck, cleverly named "Haulin Ass," which allows them to bring their signature cheesesteaks, fries, and beverages to various events and locations.

Beyond their delectable sandwiches, Donkey's Place offers an array of enticing options, including bar snacks, local beers, growlers, and an impressive selection of hard-to-find liquors. The restaurant's atmosphere reflects a sense of nostalgia, taking patrons on a journey "back in time." Displays showcasing the rich history of beer, food, and the city of Camden contribute to the unique ambiance and provide an enriching environment for a delicious meal.

During a recent visit by the Philly Cheesesteak Tour for www.MyPhillyAlive.com, we had the pleasure of sampling not one but two types of cheesesteaks. One was prepared without onions for judging purposes, while the other had caramelized onions for pure enjoyment. The tender, perfectly cooked ribeye, and the melty cheese created an unforgettable taste enhanced by the caramelized onions. With each bite, it felt like pure heaven on the palate.

Opinions on the best cheesesteak may vary, but one thing is sure: visiting Donkey's Place is a must-try experience. The restaurant holds a special place as a bucket-list destination for cheesesteak aficionados. During my visit, I not only got to indulge in their mouthwatering food but also had the opportunity to take home a few unique and memorable souvenirs of these pandemic times, such as the "I only remove my mask to eat that ass, I dined at Donkeys" T-shirts. These witty apparel pieces serve as a reminder of the exceptional culinary journey and the laughter-filled memories created at Donkey's Place.