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Geno's

1219 South 9th St., Philadelphia, PA - (215) 389-0659
Posted By Michael Stern on 8/3/2006 11:54:00 PM
Among the multitude of places in and around Philadelphia that serve significant cheese steaks, Geno's is a classic. In the recent Roadfood team taste-test, it didn't make Number One in the listings, but neither should it be ignored in any roster of cheese-steaks-that-should-be-tasted.

Our own personal loyalties have wavered over the years from Pat’s to Jim’s to Olivieri’s (now Rick's, in the Redding Market) out to Mama's in Bala Cynwyd, but we have always appreciated a certain fundamentalism about the way things are done at Geno’s. The rolls are sturdy, the meat is cut thick and served in large flaps rather than a hash and, of course, the cheese choice includes Provolone, American, or Whiz.

The place itself is a beaut, similar to (and a French fry's throw away from) Pat's. Open into the wee hours of the morning, it is a magnet for night owls who eat standing under carnival-colored neon leaning forward at the waist so shreds of beef that fall from the sandwich hit the sidewalk rather than their shoes. Decor consists mostly of 8x10 pictures of the famous and not-so-famous people who have pledged their allegiance to Geno's over the years.

As at Pat's and most other traditional sandwich shops, it is crucial to arrive at Geno's prepared to order a steak properly: first give your choice of cheese then say the word “with” or “without,” indicating your decision on whether or not you want onions. In other words, “Whiz without” means a cheese steak made with Cheese Whiz but no onions. Philadelphian Marc Bruno informed us that if you want extra onions, you conclude your order with the word "bundle."

Red sauce is another option, creating a pizza-like steak; but for most aficionados, sauce is not an essential ingredient. On the other hand, you must have fries – or, better yet, cheese fries – on the side.

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Scorecard

3 - Overall: Excellent - Worth a Detour
Overall: Excellent - Worth a Detour
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Reviewers Photos [Upload Your Photos]

A Geno's cheesesteak with whiz and onions, salt and pepper added.
"A Geno's cheesesteak with whiz and onions, salt and pepper added."
Jack Barry





Philadelphia has many tourist attractions. For those who like to eat, this sandwich shop at the corner of 9th and Passyunk is an essential part of the tour.
"Philadelphia has many tourist attractions. For those who like to eat, this sandwich shop at the corner of 9th and Passyunk is an essential part of the tour. "
Michael Stern


Food pyramid be damned. We'll take this food torpedo any day.
"Food pyramid be damned. We'll take this food torpedo any day."
Michael Stern


The basic add-your-own condiments for a steak sandwich are peppers and hot sauce.
"The basic add-your-own condiments for a steak sandwich are peppers and hot sauce."
Michael Stern


Archetypal Mid-Atlantic Roadfood decor: 8x10 pictures of famous people, friends of the house, and relatives.
"Archetypal Mid-Atlantic Roadfood decor: 8x10 pictures of famous people, friends of the house, and relatives."
Michael Stern


You don't exactly have to walk up and down the block searching for Geno's.
"You don't exactly have to walk up and down the block searching for Geno's."
Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle


Decor at Geno's consists mostly of tributes to the uniformed services.
"Decor at Geno's consists mostly of tributes to the uniformed services."
Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle



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