Alan Richman Ranks His Ten Favorite Cheesesteaks


Alan Richman, GQ Food editor and Philadelphia native has ranked his ten favorite Philadelphia cheesesteaks. In a single day, Richman and his crew of cheesesteak eaters managed to try 23-steaks and ranked the top-ten steak sandwiches in order.

There are plenty of zingers and a top-ten list that will be sure to be criticized. Unfortunately we don’t know which places he went to that didn’t make the list.

Here’s the top-ten list and some of our favorite zingers.

  1. Sonny’s Famous Steaks
    “What a combination—wonderful cheesesteaks and attentive service. That’s almost impossible to find.”
  2. Philip’s Steaks
    “At Philip’s, you pick up your cheesesteak, then do an about-face and eat standing up at a long, narrow, metal counter that stretches along the sidewalk. Of course, this style of dining is more fun when you’re facing the ocean, not West Passyunk Avenue.”
  3. Joe’s Steaks and Sandwich Shop
    “More than 60 years passed before political correctness found its way to the Wissinoming neighborhood of Philadelphia.”
  4. Campo’s Deli
    “Campo’s has a tip jar on the counter. I passed.”
  5. John’s Roast Pork
    “The sandwiches are big and hearty, less refined than most, and most cheesesteaks aren’t refined at all.”
  6. Steve’s Prince of Steaks
    “The sandwich was so tender and dainty I felt I was at a tea party.”
  7. Pat’s King of Steaks
    “Pat’s operates so efficiently your sandwich will be handed to you at the same time as your change.”
  8. Steaks on South
    “The sandwiches meet minimum cheesesteak standards, but lack finesse, style, or an identity.”
  9. Tony Luke’s 
    “Once a swell-looking spot, the walls lined with signed photos of local characters who ate there, the place has been transformed into a self-congratulatory shrine to owner Tony Luke Jr.”
  10. Geno’s Steaks
    “No panhandlers here. I suspect any who approach the premises would be met by suppressive fire.”

2014-year-of-the-cheesesteakAlan Richman: The 10 Best Cheesesteaks in Philadelphia [GQ]

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  • Clearly an out of towner

    Idiot. Steve’s is dry and thick. Pat’s & Geno’s being on the list is laughable. Hell, Gooey Louie’s may be a bit of a mess, but it belongs on there above the others. Mike’s Steak should be a contender as well.

  • transplant

    I think that Jim’s @ 4th and South is the best because there is much less grease.

    • Steve

      Jim’s is awfui. Jim’s is where people send tourists so they don’t make the lines worse at the good joints. Dry steak, unmelted cheese, mediocre bread. “Less grease”? Stay home and eat healthy. These are cheesesteaks we’re talking, not baked kale on rye.

    • Boo-urns

      The most overrated cheesesteak in the city, bar none. I don’t know why anyone goes there at all. A Steakumm on Wonder bread would be preferrable

  • Sammich Man

    Mama’s on Belmont Ave puts the rest to shame.

    • James Randal Lester

      whats the cross street?

      • Dee Dollarton Mackey

        E. Levering Mill Rd.

    • Dee Dollarton Mackey

      Took my children to Mama’s over break and we thought we were in heaven. We had the Chicken cheesesteak!

      • Dennis DiMarino Jr.

        thats not a real cheesesteak

    • Jumanji

      Mama’s is an embarrassment.

      • Hemoglobin

        An embarrassment of caloric riches!

    • Dutchgrl

      Mama’s is the BEST Cheesesteak in Philly. Bar none!

    • yeaaaah jetes

      i don’t get the love for mama’s. it’s just not THAT good.

  • Dan

    Yea, kinda weak. Sub dalesandro’s, Jim’s and Ishkabibble’s for pat’s, geno’s and steaks on south (seriously no one in Philadelphia eats at SOS).

    • steve

      The fact that these “Top Picks” will get people’s attention is a joke. Anyone who appreciates a little meat on their roll would never list Pats, Genos, or Yony Lukes. Since there wasn’t any criteria (must be located in Philly proper) then please let me throw my hat in for Pudges.

    • Steve Kotridis

      The boys over at GQ have obviously not done their homework

    • Colly

      Went to Dalessandro’s on Sunday….what a disappointment! Got some dry
      hamburger meat with barely any cheese. The best thing was the roll. :(

  • Kelly Petersen

    no cosmis? who is this clown

    • James Randal Lester

      yes who is this clown

  • Allen Wing

    Larry’s on City Line and Rustica in Northern Liberties

    • Valoria Says

      The cheesesteak at Rustica in NoLibs is not that great. Their pizza is much, much better, which is what they’re known for.

  • Jaleh Najafali

    Geno’s is by far one of the most disgusting cheesesteaks I’ve ever had. The meat is dry and the rolls are stale. I have no idea why it is on the list. For me, Geno’s is one of the reasons I haven’t tried Pat’s yet because I figure one tourist attraction is no better than the other.

  • Nicki

    This list is embarrassing, Alan has no idea what he’s talking about.

  • PiNk

    To be a native he sure doesn’t know steaks…Pats & Geno’s and Tony’s those tourist traps are disgusting no self respecting philadelphian would eat there…now Daleassandros & Chubby’s in roxborough deserve a big nod.

    • Uncle Tiger

      I hear ya PINK.

    • PhillyJawn


    • anthony ferraro

      or chinks in the northeast

      • PaulaP

        If I’m not mistaken. Joe’s Steaks that’s on the list is the former Chinks

    • Brian

      Agreed 100%. And if we’re doing the neighborhoods outside CC, I usually point people to Chestnut Hill for a Schmitter – the bastard of all cheesesteaks.

    • PiNk

      Yeh!…at Chubby’s you got the pickle & pepper bar…yum!…and fries of course…at Del’s no fries but the flavor of the meat is so succulent…love em both!

  • Brad Emmons

    Another vote here for Larry’s on 54th… just perfect

    • Hemoglobin

      You should drive the extra mile and go to Mama’s on Belmont. Your cardiologist will thank you. For buying him a new speedboat.

  • Steve

    John’s roast pork made the list. That’s all that matters. There are no better sandwiches in the state of Pennsylvania.

  • NupeCASp2010

    See, when people make lists like this I can only think that they called and not visited the city, and someplace like the Independence Visitor Center gave them a list of places without actually venturing to these places. What ever happened to Jim’s on 62nd and Noble or 4th and South, Iskibibles, and, (only fairly recently, and with some arm twisting, Larry’s on City Ave). I am big guy, I know where to find and select the best in my food, my steaks, and most of all what my city has to offer. But these places… really!?!?!?

  • Paula Vicente

    I still like Chinks on Torresdale ave……It will ALWAYS be Chinks to me!!!

    • PaulaP

      I believe Joe’s Steaks that is on the list is the former Chinks.

  • twocent

    Angelo’s cart outside of Liberty Place. You know he’s in there because the cart rocks back and forth when he moved around (ex body builder)

  • boyscout

    Who the hell is Alan Richman????

  • Devon

    How are Mama’s and the Delassandro’s not on this list? For shame!!

    • Colly

      Went to Dalessandro’s on Sunday….what a disappointment! Got some dry hamburger meat with barely any cheese. The best thing was the roll. :(

  • Norma Stitz

    Love me some Sonnys, agree that they should be at the top of any list. Also, regarding Campos service – couldn’t agree more. The ladies working there are beyond rude. And you get two napkins for a sloppy roast pork sandwich. There are signs up all over the place “don’t touch this or you buy it”, stuff like that. Great food, but some of the worst service I’ve ever seen.

  • Colly

    Tony’s Port Richmond will always be the best! Good roll, loads of meat and ample amount of cheese!

  • Gary

    There are plenty or gr8 cheesesteak joints in Philly and a never ending debate as to which is best, but if you go to Tony Luke’s for the cheesesteak, you’ve missed the boat or rater the Chicken Cutlet Italian w/ broccoli rabe. The best sandwich I’ve had in Philly, but I haven’t had DiNic’s roast pork yet.

    • Bbo

      Try the arista sandwhich at Paesano’s around 2nd and Girard. Crazy good. Suckling pig, long hots, broccoli rabe, and sharp Provolone. Silly good. One of my favorite sandwiches or things I have ever eaten.

  • Allan

    For a second, I asked myself, “why the hell do I care which cheesesteak place Severus Snape likes?” However, I realized that the author’s last name was Richman and not Rickman.

    • Bdawk20

      I’d care more about Severus’ list

  • critical mass

    A foolish venture that resulted in a foolish list.

  • Krystina

    The BEST cheesesteak in PA is DELCO’S ORIGINALS in Chadds Ford Pa!! Hands Down!!

  • Jerryi

    There are only 2 great cheesesteak places, Dalessandro’s and Mama’s. End of story.

  • Sikinah

    You forgot gooey Louie pats Tony n genos should not b on this list

  • Voice of Reason

    People, people; let us not forget that such a place as Pats or Genos are the visual relics that people from all over picture when “Philly cheesesteak.” Whilst we as born and raised phillians know there are far better portrayals of our state Sammie in other parts, let the bewildered souls who visit our city be amazed at the steaks served on this list( as I’m sure they are far better than a cheesesteak from Minnesota, or dare I say Texas!) that way, our favorite little joints will be free of douchbaggery hipsters and ready for our wiz wits…

    • Bob Sackamento

      I hate to break it to you, but those Neanderthals who descend upon our city from over the bridge, get piss drunk, vomit on little girls, assault fans for wearing the wrong t-shirt, start riots at wedding receptions and eat at Pat & Genos etc.–they are not hipsters. Experts who study this group refer to them as “Jersey Residents.”

  • Phil E. Pretzel

    Pat’s and Geno’s don’t belong in the Top 100 – this is a swing and a miss by Richman. Here is a much better list of Top 12 Philly Sammiches:

  • fred675

    cosmi’s, 8th and Dickinson. yum.

    • Suz

      I agree! +1

  • Linda

    My vote would have to go to Angelo’s pizzeria in Haddonfield you haven’t had a cheesesteak until you had one of theirs

  • Beal St.

    Donkey’s Place in Camden is best. Hands down. Nothing else comes close.

    • I’ve read about it but haven’t tried it myself. This year for sure.

  • Tommy

    Seriously, Angelo’s in Haddonfield is seriously the best steak around. I know what you’re thinking, who would go to Haddonfield, NJ of all places for a cheesesteak???
    Take the trip and you’ll find out.