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The imperially long Philadelphia steak sandwich as rendered by Philly’s (click to elongate)
Pride of the City of Brotherly Love, the Philly cheesesteak sandwich was supposedly invented by Pat Olivieri and his brother Harry in 1930, when they had a hot dog cart in the Italian Market area of South Philadelphia. They took a long hero roll (a demi-baguette, really–there had been a craze for French bread all over the United States in the 1920s), heaped it with thin-sliced beef, lavished it with sauteed green peppers and onions, and laid on slices of Provolone cheese. The brothers founded Pat’s King of Steaks soon thereafter, still one of the most famous (maybe not the best) purveyors of cheesesteaks.
New Yorkers recognize Brooklyn’s own Italian roast beef hero as one of the progenitors of the trashier Philadelphia version of the sandwich, but–let’s face it–the cheesesteak is a wonderful thing unto itself, and we’ve had several credible versions here for the last eight years. Newcomer Philly’s on Houston makes a superb rendition, and you can get fresh jalapenos instead of the usual green bell peppers, which makes it a kind of Mexi-Philly cheesesteak. 191 East Houston Street, 212-475-7744