Photo: Pat's King of Steaks

The ClassicsPhiladelphia

Pat’s King of Steaks is the Heart of Philadelphia

By

From its location in the heart of South Philly, the just off-center ordering process, and of course the whole “Whiz Wit” situation, Pat’s King of Steaks has classic Philly spirit.

What I admire most about this 85-year-old business is how you can find all walks of Philadelphia standing in that great long line for cheesesteaks. From politicians to little leaguers to the post-bar crowd, it’s a rite of passage to eat Pat’s steaks.

There once was a time when I lived just a few blocks away from Pat’s. It’s a 24/7 operation, so you can imagine (when I still drank) how many late nights once ended there.

Ordering a cheesesteak is truly an experience unlike any other. You want the ordering process to be as concise as possible, so you do two things: request the type of cheese (Whiz, Prov, American), and say whether or not to add onions (Wit or Witout). My order is the “Prov Wit” with a visit to their superb pepper bar to load it up. And once you place your order and are waiting off to the side, enjoying your fountain soda, they get to work on your order in a line of tickets, rushing to get the sandwich into your hands so the magic can begin.

Whiz Wit. Photo: Pat’s King of Steaks

From my countless visits, I’ve become friends with Frank Olivieri Jr., the current and third-generation owner. I’ve had the pleasure of being friends with Frank for years now. Just in the past couple years, we took him and his wife to Israel for a taste of what you could argue is the Israeli version of cheesesteak, shawarma.  He actually FaceTimed his team at Pat’s while we were eating shawarma that day in Israel. It was an incredible experience to watch the connection between such different food cultures be made — that’s what street food is all about. 

Pat’s is a slice of Philly community. I wholly admire the tradition that surrounds this iconic establishment. And for all you cheesesteak newcomers, there are a few things I know for sure: Your first time ordering at Pat’s will be uncomfortable, memorable, and so rewarding.  Worth it every time.

***

Pat’s King of Steaks: 1237 E. Passyunk Ave, Philadelphia. www.patskingofsteaks.com

Michael Solomonov is the chef and co-owner of several Philadelphia restaurants, including Zahav, Federal Donuts, Dizengoff, Abe Fisher, and Goldie.

Discover More


Events

Amex® Gold Card Pop-up Diner

Photo courtesy of Eeva

The Hit List

The August Hit List: Perla, Elwood, Eeva, Hardena, and More

The tasting menu at Friday Saturday Sunday is chef Chad Williams' way of bouncing back from more casual pandemic cooking. // Photo courtesy of Friday Saturday Sunday

‘The Tasting Menu is the Ultimate Goal’: Friday Saturday Sunday Finds a New Vibe

Resy Lineup

The Resy Lineup: A Taste of the Sea, a Beer Destination, and More

The baby corn elote at La Chinesca. // Photo courtesy of La Chinesca

The Hit List

The July Hit List: La Chinesca, Cry Baby Pasta, Terron Kitchen, and More

Greenwood Supper Club founders Elijah Milligan and Chrystin Bunion. // Photo by Corey Moore, Courtesy of Greenwood Social Club

Chef Features

In Philadelphia, A Supper Club Built For the Black Community

Photo courtesy of Ortlieb's

New on Resy

Now Open on Resy: Bok Bar, Gabriella’s Vietnam, Vista Peru, and More

The scene at Charley Dove.

The Hit List

The June Hit List: Charley Dove, Leaf, Lucha Cartel, Café La Maude, and More

The lamb shoulder at Zahav: Philly's new icon. // Courtesy of Zahav

Guides

Seven Dishes That Define Philadelphia: A Resy Guide

Courtesy of Frankford Hall

Guides

The Resy Guide to Breweries and Brewpubs in Philadelphia

Courtesy of Lola's Garden

The Hit List

The May Hit List: Irwin’s, Vientiane Bistro, Lola’s Garden, and More

The omakase at Hiroki sets the mood.

Guides

The Resy Guide to Date Night in Philadelphia

Courtesy of Gabriella's Asian

The Hit List

The April Hit List: Little Fish, Gabriella’s Asian, Brauhaus Schmitz, and More

The expanded outdoor setup at Harper's Garden

Guides

The Resy Guide to the Best Outdoor Tables in Philadelphia

New on Resy

New on Resy: Osteria, Fette Sau, DanDan, Frankford Hall, and More