Hometown Hungers: Best Philly Cheesesteaks Outside of Philadephia
No need to book a trip to the City of Brotherly Love. These popular places across the country are serving sizzling takes on Philadelphia’s signature sandwich.
Cheesy Does It
There have been intense rivalries going on in Philadelphia for decades now surrounding one particularly juicy topic: the cheesesteak. The sandwich’s first iteration featuring grilled meat and onions was cooked up by hot-dog vendor Pat Olivieri in 1930. Some years later, cheese came into the equation and an iconic Philly staple was born. The grilled steak and cheese served on a hoagie roll has many variations, with different cheeses (provolone and the processed cheese sauce known as Cheez Whiz being the most common), as well as grilled onions, peppers and mushrooms as standard additions. Though the sandwich is simply referred to as the “cheesesteak” in Philadelphia, its popularity has grown well beyond that city. Check out these Food Network-approved spots across the country serving classic takes on the Philly cheesesteak.
Photo courtesy of Alex Saglimbeni
Jim’s SteakOut, Buffalo
Serving hearty sandwiches since 1981, Jim's Steakout has carved out a reputation in Western New York for the chain’s riffs on two between-the-roll creations that originated in Pennsylvania: cheesesteaks and hoagies. The Whiz is one option that sticks close to the basics with its fillings of chopped steak, fried onions and processed cheese sauce, but they punch up the sandwich with the addition of a second sauce. It’s a housemade chili-laced concoction known as Jim’s Secret Sauce, which has an avid fan base of its own. For a cheesesteak-hoagie hybrid, order Jim’s Famous Hoagie: Angus beef, fried onions and melty white American cheese married with the traditional hoagie toppings of lettuce and tomato, then doused in Jim’s Secret Sauce.
Photo courtesy of Jim's SteakOut
Go to: Jim’s SteakOut
Buddy V’s Ristorante, Las Vegas
Cake Boss Buddy Valastro made his mark in the culinary world with sweet confections, but he also knows a thing or two about dishes of the savory sort — including cheesesteak. This New Jersey native did tinker with the sandwich’s name, calling the version that’s offered at his Italian-American restaurant the Hoboken Cheesesteak, but he does closely follow the Philly tradition with an impeccable mix of steak, peppers, onions and mushrooms. One delicious difference is that Valastro doubles the cheese, bringing the standard provolone together with fontina.
Photo courtesy of Buddy V's Ristorante
Go to: Buddy V’s Ristorante
Figueroa Philly, Los Angeles
A fixture in Los Angeles, this mom-and-pop shop takes the business of cheesesteaks seriously. They stick close to the classic style, building their sandwiches on 20-inch rolls from Amoroso’s Baking Company and stuffing them with marinated rib-eye steak straight from Philadelphia. All the attention to detail has paid off for this spot that’s been open for a little more than five years, winning them numerous nods for serving the best cheesesteaks in the City of Angels. Opt for the Famous Figueroa Philly and your sandwich will come smothered with grilled onions, peppers, mushrooms and the cheese of your choice.
Photo courtesy of Figueroa Philly
Go to: Figueroa Philly
Ravage Deli, Baltimore
Billed as a “gourmet sandwich shop,” Ravage Deli elevates the classic cheesesteak with a recipe that starts with dry-aged locally farmed Black Angus top rounds. The meat is hand-cut (and the bones used for a 72-hour beef stock), then shaved on a deli slicer, cooked in clarified butter, and simply seasoned with sea salt and pepper. After being chopped on the grill, the steak is deglazed with a touch of the beef broth to melt the cheese on top and placed on a fresh-baked hoagie roll.
Photo courtesy of Alex Saglimbeni
Go to: Ravage Deli
The Groove Cheesesteak Co., Pittsburgh
Philadelphia may lay claim to the cheesesteak, but it’s not the only city in Pennsylvania serving an impeccable version of the iconic sandwich. After all, the city’s neighbor to the West — Pittsburgh — has plenty of fans clamoring for a taste of the cheesesteaks turned out at The Groove Cheesesteak Co. Owner Marc Feldstein started his cheesesteak operation back in 2003 out of a personal desire for the Philly original. However, he upgraded the humble classic by using high-end ingredients. His award-winning cheesesteak features choice rib eye and top round cut to order, and the meat is not grilled until the sandwiches are ordered. Feldstein skips the store-bought cheese sauce in favor of a housemade version and uses 9-inch crusty rolls delivered fresh daily.
Photo courtesy of The Groove Cheesesteak Co.
Go to: The Groove Cheesesteak Co.
Alex’s Brown Bag, San Diego
Hailing from the suburbs of Philadelphia, owner Jim Mullen has been eating cheesesteaks since childhood. Now residing in San Diego, he’s staying true to the traditional sandwich of his youth, down to the rolls that are sourced from Philadelphia-based Amoroso’s Baking Company. Alex’s Brown Bag currently operates from inside the Latitude 32 bar, which draws locals with Mullen’s authentic cheesesteaks that are hearty enough to soak up an evening of brews. Opt for the classic version and in addition to the meat, your sandwich will come stuffed with grilled onions, green bell peppers and mushrooms. As for the cheese? You get a choice of mozzarella, provolone, American cheese or processed cheese sauce.
Photo courtesy of Alex’s Brown Bag
Go to: Alex’s Brown Bag
Carousel Restaurant & Bistro, Yakima, Wash.
A French restaurant housed in a former opera house may seem like a surprising place to spot a cheesesteak, but that’s just what you’ll find at Carousel. This version of the Philly classic is interpreted through a French lens — prime cuts of beef are seared on a flat top with Carousel’s own steak seasoning, then cooked with caramelized bell peppers and onions in beef consomme. This upscale take on the classic cheesesteak comes complete with Swiss cheese and a horseradish fraiche that particularly complements the steak seasonings.
Photo courtesy of Carousel Restaurant & Bistro
The Hollywood Tavern, Woodinville, Wash.
This old-school spin features shaved rib-eye steak fortified with a proprietary “HT3” seasoning, a secret spice mix that’s also used on the burgers served here. The sandwich starts with a buttered and toasted Grand Central bakery hoagie, which comes stuffed with the rib-eye steak and a heap of sauteed and seasoned white onions, red bell peppers and mushrooms. A cheese sauce made with cheddar and Jack adds to the richness.
Photo courtesy of The Hollywood Tavern
Go to: The Hollywood Tavern
Jake’s Steaks, San Francisco
Authenticity is key at Jake's Steaks in the Marina District of San Francisco. Order a “Whiz with” and you’ll be handed a meaty sandwich bursting with rib eye, gooey Cheez Whiz and onions, all piled onto a hearty bun from Philadelphia-based Amoroso’s Baking Company. This real-deal sandwich is one that Philly natives seek out and locals have come to love.
Photo courtesy of Karen Palmer
Go to: Jake's Steaks