In Philadelphia, the cheesesteak is a culinary institution. It’s a fast food you can get in food trucks, delis and small restaurants.
The cheesesteak is a long roll filled with thinly sliced steak sautéed with onions and cheese. Traditionally, the cheese was Cheez Wiz (a processed cheese sauce) which technically isn’t even real cheese. You can also choose to have American cheese (technically also not real cheese because it is also a processed cheese product) or Provolone (a proper Italian cheese for you cheese snobs).
Jim’s South Street
I was pretty sure my son would love cheese steak because he loves cheese and he loves steak. So we did a pilgrimage to one of the celebrated cheese steak restaurants in Philadelphia, Jim’s Steaks on South Street.
Jim’s Steaks is reputed to have the best cheese steaks on South Street. South Street is an historic area of Philadelphia popular with tourists and locals. It’s got a lively boho atmosphere with lots of eateries, bars and stores filled with the young and the hip.
We were lucky that there was not a long line at Jim’s when we went. We were also able to get a table to sit down in the upstairs seating area. My messy 8 year old son could not have handled eaten a cheesesteak standing up without having most of it end up on his shirt. We both agreed the cheese steak was delicious.
The Philly Taco
I did not tell my son about the newest variation of a Jim’s cheesesteak for fear he would want to try it – the Philly Taco (a.k.a. the South Street Sushi). For the Philly Taco, you take a cheese steak from Jim’s and wrap it up in a pizza from Lorenzo’s which is also on South Street.
The Philly Taco was made up by a Philadelphia journalist in 2003 for the Philadelphia Journal and has since caught on (especially with late night drinkers).
I can’t even imagine the calories or the accompanying heartburn. Just because something individually tastes good does not mean you need to put it together. The Philly Taco reminds me of that deep-fried Southern American Thanksgiving favourite, the Turduckin (a turkey stuffed with a duck stuffed with chicken). People say it’s delicious and I’m willing to take their word on it.
Jim’s Steaks is open 7 days a week at its Art Deco home on the corner of South and 4th Street in Philadelphia. Jim’s will also express ship a Philly cheesesteak anywhere in the United States.