Brotherly Love on a Bun

We’ve seen the Liberty Bell and we’ve been to Independence Hall. What we’re looking for today is a more contemporary Philadelphia experience: the cheesesteak. And not just any cheesesteaks, but the best.

Getting agreement on which place serves the best Philly cheesesteak is like finding common ground on the best New York pizzeria (we think it’s possibly in Asheville), but several sources direct us to Jim’s Steaks. We cannily avoid the touristy South Street location and instead head to the original shop in West Philly, where they’ve been making the city’s signature sandwich for 71 year. Our trek is rewarded when we find an authentic neighborhood restaurant without lines snaking out the door.

I step up to order and have a big decision to make. My normal M.O. is to throw caution to the wind and try whatever is most traditional. In this case that means a sandwich made with Cheese Wiz. Even when being adventurous, I always try to avoid consuming things with wiz of any kind. This is no exception. I wuss-out and order a sandwich with provolone, mushrooms, and onions.

I watch as the cook throws some fresh beef on the grill and slaps a single layer of cheese on a roll. Already I’m happy. I expected high quality beef. But I also expected it to be smothered in cheese. Fondue on a roll isn’t really my thing, so I’m thrilled to see cheese used as a condiment rather than a main ingredient.

I grab my sandwich and retire to a narrow counter and stool along the right-hand side of the restaurant. Fresh, meaty and delicious are my first thoughts. My second thought is that ordering provolone was a rookie mistake. I’m still not convinced Cheese Wiz is the way to go, for anything, but provolone is too mild. The sharper flavor of American is what this sandwich calls for. Live and learn.

Is Jim’s the best cheesesteak in Philly? I can’t say without a lot more research. But it is the best I’ve had. A simple sandwich made from high quality ingredients. Call it brotherly love on a bun.

Tags: , , ,

2 Comments on “Brotherly Love on a Bun”

  1. Simple Girl August 15, 2011 at 10:49 am #

    We lived in Philly for many years. If you have time, check out Abner’s to compare: Many a late night was spent there enjoying cheesesteaks after going to the U of P’s bar scene. Enjoy Philly!

    Simple Girl (from the ER forum)


    • Brian August 15, 2011 at 12:37 pm #

      Thanks for the tip (always welcome). We’ll be sure to check out Abner’s


What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: