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Jim's Steaks

400 South St., Philadelphia, PA - (215) 928-1911
Posted By Patricia Beninato on 3/22/2006 8:54:00 PM
Of the numerous places one can obtain a cheesesteak in Philadelphia (and being a purist I will NOT eat one outside of the city limits, even if it's a Philly suburb), I have always found Jim's to be a unique experience. The crew there is a lot friendlier than the help at most cheesesteak spots (although it can be somewhat amusing to see tourist cheesesteak newbies get chewed out at Geno's or Pat's for not knowing to immediately ask for "Whiz wit").

The longtime grillmaster at Jim's gently steers the neophyte into proper cheesesteak etiquette and does not make a face if said neophyte commits sacrilege and gets Swiss cheese instead of Cheez Whiz. Also, although Jim's doesn't offer fries it is one of the few places in Philly where you can get beer with your cheesesteak.

I always get the same thing at Jim's - a cheesesteak Whiz wit (Cheese Whiz and grilled onions) and a can of Molson Golden. The meat is fresh, not frozen, and it's fun to watch the grillmaster hacking away at the pile until it's in beefy shreds. I must correct Michael and point out that the Whiz actually goes on the roll before the meat and onions, not on top. It blends perfectly into the hash-like filling and makes other condiments unnecessary.

Take your tray to one of the counters that line the walls or to the dining room upstairs, but downstairs offers the better experience. You can either check out the autographs and photos that cover the walls - everyone from local boys Kobe Bryant and Hall and Oates to John Denver, who stated humorously that "I'd be a vegetarian if it weren't for Jim's" - or watch the crowd stand in line awaiting their sandwiches and heaping good-natured abuse on anyone who doesn't order a cheesesteak (which does happen since Jim's also makes a pretty good hoagie). If you have room after your cheesesteak, top your meal off with that quintessential Philly dessert - Tastykakes, since Jim's has the full line from Butterscotch Krimpets to Chocolate Juniors.

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One of the big differences among Philly cheese steaks is texture. Jim's hacks its meat and onions into a rugged hash.
"One of the big differences among Philly cheese steaks is texture. Jim's hacks its meat and onions into a rugged hash."
Michael Stern





While the provolone is good, Whiz is by far the way to go at Jim's.  I usually request extra cheese, but it is not necessary.  These steaks were so good we plowed through them, despite having eaten four during the past eight hours on our cheesesteak tour.

As you can see, the steaks aren't huge.  I usually get two for lunch, and if you are a big guy who likes to eat you might want to consider three, especially if the line is long.
"While the provolone is good, Whiz is by far the way to go at Jim's. I usually request extra cheese, but it is not necessary. These steaks were so good we plowed through them, despite having eaten four during the past eight hours on our cheesesteak tour. As you can see, the steaks aren't huge. I usually get two for lunch, and if you are a big guy who likes to eat you might want to consider three, especially if the line is long."
John Jacobsen


The action on the griddle at Jim's: raw meat on the left, cooked in the center, onions at the right, ready to be mixed into the meat.
"The action on the griddle at Jim's: raw meat on the left, cooked in the center, onions at the right, ready to be mixed into the meat."
Michael Stern


A pan of just-sliced beef, ready to be thrown on the griddle
"A pan of just-sliced beef, ready to be thrown on the griddle"
Michael Stern


For some Philly cheese steak eaters, Cheez Whiz is essential. It adds a salty kick that old-fashioned provolone doesn't give. (Stephen Rushmore, Jr. photo)
"For some Philly cheese steak eaters, Cheez Whiz is essential. It adds a salty kick that old-fashioned provolone doesn't give. (Stephen Rushmore, Jr. photo)"
Michael Stern


I have no idea how someone could possibly do this, although if they could do it anywhere it would be Jim's.
"I have no idea how someone could possibly do this, although if they could do it anywhere it would be Jim's."
John Jacobsen


Jim's has been around since the earliest days of cheese steaks. In this exterior shot, you can see the upstairs dining room, which provides a view of South Street. And you can see some of the Roadfood team gathered on the corner at the left. (Stephen Rushmore, Jr. photo)
"Jim's has been around since the earliest days of cheese steaks. In this exterior shot, you can see the upstairs dining room, which provides a view of South Street. And you can see some of the Roadfood team gathered on the corner at the left. (Stephen Rushmore, Jr. photo)"
Michael Stern



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