Pat’s vs. Geno’s | The Cheesesteak Debate

The story behind Pat’s and Geno’s cheesesteak rivalry goes a little something like this: Pat’s King of Steaks was founded in 1933 by the Olivieri Brothers, the creators of the Philly cheesesteak. What started out as a corner stand eventually turned into a 24 hour cheesesteak restaurant in the 1940’s and everything was all cozy until Joey Vento decided to establish his own cheesesteak restaurant, Geno’s Steaks, on the opposite corner facing Pat’s in 1966. His logic behind setting up shop across the street from Pat’s was, “If you want to sell cheesesteaks, you go where they eat cheesesteaks.” Suffice to say, the food gauntlet was thrown and it’s been “war” ever since.

Days leading up to our Philadelphia trip, many of our friend’s told us, “You’re gonna love Pat’s.” And Charles and I thought we were going to too. The fact that Pat’s sliced up their steak while Geno’s didn’t really appealed to our textured taste buds. So after a night of barhopping, Charles and I hopped into a cab and made our way to the corner of Passyunk and 9th Ave to see what the hype was all about…

^^^ So here’s what we ordered in the order that we ordered it…
We first went to Pat’s and got the steak “wit provolone”. Our opinion: The meat was seasoned and cooked to perfection and pretty darn juicy. The provolone was nice and melted but it wasn’t cheesy enough for us considering all the bread and meat we had.
So then we headed across the street to Geno’s and got the steak “wiz wit” since we hadn’t tried the wiz sauce yet. Our opinion: Wiz sauce = the bomb diggity. Geno’s bread was more toasted and crunchy than Pat’s which held up well with the wiz sauce. Their meat was a bit tougher in texture compared to Pat’s as a result of the fact that they don’t slice up their meat but overall, we were really happy with our cheesesteak.
And since we couldn’t properly judge two completely different sandwiches against each other, we headed back over to Pat’s to order their version of a steak “wiz wit”. Our opinion: The sandwich as a whole was good. But we were kind of disappointed by the bread because it was already soggy from the wiz sauce before we even bit into it.

Now before I tell you whose cheesesteak we preferred, I’d like to make a point that my tastes buds are not your taste buds or any other person’s taste buds for that matter. So if you disagree with my opinion, I totally understand. It’s easy see why making a decision between whose cheesesteak’s are the best is so hard because each restaurant brings a little something different to to the table. But anyways, here is what our final decision was (drum roll please): Charles and I liked the cheesesteak from GENO’s the most! Surprising right? And honestly, the reason we chose Geno’s over Pat’s came down to the bread, overall  presentation of the cheesesteak and customer service…

Charles and I loooove bread. As such, the one thing we hate the most is soggy bread and Pat’s bread was not toasted/baked enough to withstand the wiz sauce. This really affected our experience because we were eating with our hands and the sauce was leaking through the sandwich onto everything.

In regards to the overall presentation, Geno’s cuts their cheesesteak in half while Pat’s gives you the cheesesteak whole. As a couple who likes to share food, I really liked the convenience of having a cheesesteak pre-cut because I knew Charles and I were sharing our sandwich equally. When we were at Pat’s, I had to sit there and watch Charles take his huge man bites (compared to my little woman bites) each time we passed the cheesesteak back and forth… And the phat person inside me was upset because he ended up eating most of the cheesesteak :(

And lastly, the customer service… Charles and I both agree that the overall service at Geno’s was better than Pat’s. The person who took our order at Pat’s literally dropped our cheesesteak down onto the counter by the register for us to take while the front person at Geno’s gave us our cheesesteak by hand. The front person at Pat’s was brusque and abrupt in manner while the front person at Geno’s actually smiled and said, “Hi” when we arrived to place our order. Customer service is important when dining out and it was those personable gestures that really set Geno’s apart from Pat’s for Charles and I. Who knows? Maybe the front man at Pat’s was having a bad day but that wasn’t our problem and I don’t like having my food plopped down in front of me… Ever. And that’s that. Geno’s for the win in our books. 

Have you ever tried the cheesesteaks at Pat’s and Geno’s? What’s your overall opinion?

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  • i've only had a cheese steak once and it was so good. i can't remember where but it was somewhere in NY

    -kathy | Vodka and Soda

  • Haha…I guess I need to actually try Geno's before I give my final opinion. You guys should also try Ishkabibble's. They're pretty good too! I think you'll like their bread. Ok, bye :)

  • I don't think I've ever even had a chessteak before. Its not super common around here! But it looks delicious and I know I'd love it!

  • I totally saved this post so I remember to go the next time I am in Philly! My family that lives their has their own favorite outside the city and I have never tried these!!!

    Thanks for linking up with Funday Monday!


  • Those look so yummy! I love the Rocky plaque too. What a great hangout to try for food. Thank you for linking up for Travel Tuesday last week and looking forward to seeing your post this week! 

  • I haven't had a cheesecake since I was a kid and that was in NY. I'd LOVE to each a cheesecake in Philly, and when I get there, I'm going to Geno's :)
    P.S. I have to say, I love how you did this in one night!