NPR Online
Election 2000
Republican National Convention
Philadelphia Postcards:
Wish You Were Here...
The Cheese Steak
Speaking Philadelphian
Victor Café
Independence Hall
The Story Behind the Philadelphia Cheese Steak
Pat's Cheesesteak
Courtesy of Pat's Cheesesteak

Boston boasts of its beans, Coney Island touts its hot dogs, California leads its very own sushi roll, and Texas has its Mex. Everywhere, locals celebrate a culinary delicacy. In the 'City of Brotherly Love," you'll find the Philadelphia Cheese Steak Sandwich.

audio buttonHear NPR's story on the Philadelphia's "world famous"celebrated Cheese Steak.

Most agree the birth of Philly's cheese steak took place at Pat's King of Steaks in the Italian immigrant section of South Philadelphia in 1930. There, Pat Olivieri plied his trade by selling hot dogs and sandwiches until he thought of something else: thinly sliced beef dripping with melted cheese in a bed of sautéed Spanish onions.

Of course, these days, customers come up and say in their own inimitable way: "cheese wit." That means, "cheese with onions," explains Olivieri's grandson, Frank, Jr., who now follows the tradition set by his grandfather at Pat's King of Steaks

Today, Olivieri uses thinly sliced rib-eye steak cooked in its own fat with a touch of soybean oil. When it comes to cheese, if you don't want something more traditional like mozzarella or provolone - the latest trend is with Cheese Whiz.

"Ya know, 'The Whiz!'"

Still, you can pretty much have it anyway you want. Many like sauteed sweet and red peppers, mushrooms. Others enjoy pizza sauce topping. One secret of the taste, say self-proclaimed experts, is in the crusty roll. Long and thin like a French baguette -- not too fluffy, but not too soft -- and baked locally with Philadelphia water as an ingredient for an unparalleled flavor.

Web link
Pat's King of Steaks

You will need the free RealAudio Player to listen to audio.

Copyright © 2000 National Public Radio