Dalessandro’s Versus Chubby’s


As we promised, 2014 is the Year of the Cheesesteak. And as part of the continuing coverage of the cheesesteak, we will be profiling cheesesteak rivalries around town. 

When GQ’s Alan Richman came to town to rank his ten favorite cheesesteaks, one of the biggest complaints was the omission of Dalessandro’s Steaks in Roxborough. According to Ray Didinger, who went along with Richman on his cheesesteak hunt, Richman had eliminated the Roxborough stalwart from his list based upon a previous cheesesteak visit to Philadelphia.

Sunday, I set out with a couple of friends, including comedian Chip Chantry, to try both Dalessandro’s and Chubby’s across the street. Check out the results of our first Rivalry Tale of the Tape.

Sunday, January 19th 2014, 1 p.m.

Tale of the Tape: Dalessandro’s Versus Chubby’s

dalessandros-cheesesteak-400Dalessandro’s Steaks

600 Wendover Street (Roxborough)

Steak Ordered: Cheesesteak, American Cheese, Fried Onions

Roll: Amoroso

Meat: Rib-eye, chopped fine

Onion: Chopped and grilled

Cheese: American, Provolone, Cheese Whiz (Provolone and Whiz are upcharges)

Price: $7.25

Pro Tip: If you order to-go, be prepared to name your condiments as they will be put on before the steak is wrapped up.

The meat, piled high on the grill resembles a brownish anthill. When a sandwich is ordered, the finely chopped meat was moved onto the hot part of the grill where cheese was applied and melted into the meat. No seasoning was noticed, Dalessandro’s relies on the molten cheese to add flavor to the meat. Or you can go for the gusto and scoop on the hot pepper sauce that’s available on the counter.

The meat is chopped so fine at Dalessandro’s that it resembles ground beef or a loosemeats sandwich popular in Iowa. But there is plenty of it on the roll, a nice change from some recent steak sandwiches I’ve had. The fineness of the meat also allows the cheese to mix in with the meat on the sandwich. The onions smelled great even when we were still outside, looked great on the sandwich but sadly didn’t add much flavor.

Walking out the three of us felt we had just eaten a very satisfying cheesesteak but we were intrigued to see what Chubby’s had to offer.

chubbys-cheesesteak-400Chubby’s Steaks

5826 Henry Avenue (Roxborough)

Steak Ordered: Cheesesteak, American Cheese, Fried Onions

Roll: Amoroso

Meat: Rib-eye, chopped

Onion: Thin squares of fried onions

Cheese: American, Provolone, Swiss, Pepperjack, Whiz

Price: $6.80

Pro Tip: Chubby’s has a full bar, so if you want a shot of fireball while you wait for your cheesesteak, you can have that.

Grabbing the last three seats at counter, we ordered our steaks. One with American cheese and fried onions, the other with no cheese but fried onions. I’ll admit when the steaks were placed in front of us I hesitated. The mess of onions poured off of the roll. I’m not a big onion guy and even when I order them, most get brushed off the sandwich. The meat looked a bit scraggly, but compared to Dalessandro’s, at least it resembled steak over ground beef. The first bite was an eyeopener, the onions were truly caramelized and gave the sandwich a sweetness that Dalessandro’s lacked. I found myself adding the onions on that I initially brushed into the red plastic basket. The meat had more flavor too. At Chubby’s, when I peeked at the grill I actually saw gradations in the color of the beef. It wasn’t just a large dark mass, but steak going from red to pink and finally brown. Again, the only seasoning came from the meat’s own fat and the cheese which melted into the sandwich. A reach to the salt and pepper brought the flavor out further.

The Verdict

In what was a bit of shocker to my steak eating buddies and myself, Chubby’s was the clear winner. After years of considering myself a Dalessandro’s man, I have decided to cross the Avenue for a more flavorful steak with sweeter onions and juicier meat.

Like Foobooz on Facebook
Follow Foobooz on Twitter

Year of the Cheesesteak [Foobooz]2014-year-of-the-cheesesteak



Around The Web

Be respectful of our online community and contribute to an engaging conversation. We reserve the right to ban impersonators and remove comments that contain personal attacks, threats, or profanity, or are flat-out offensive. By posting here, you are permitting Philadelphia magazine and Metro Corp. to edit and republish your comment in all media.

  • 14thandBroad

    Damn right. Dalessandros started to go downhill once the family sold it. Chubby’s is one of the best when it’s on, but I’ve had a handful of steaks there that were worse than Genos/Pats. Listen to that skinny girl that wrote that book, go back out there and visit Barry’s on Leverington. Absolutely the best.

    • Guest22

      Yea ok Barry you who’re

  • Jimmyo

    I wouldn’t feed my dog a chubbys steak. Anyone who thinks chubbys is better should never call themselves a Philadelphia.

    • Zak

      What would be your choice then? Just wondering cause I’ve eaten a few cheese steaks from the city and haven’t found a good one yet, although I’m not from the city, so I don’t know the best only what they show me on TV.

      • anon

        Gooey Louie’s-in Pennsport-is a good place to start

      • Guest

        Best Cheese Steaks in Philly
        #3 Steve’s Prince of Steaks – Northeast Philly
        #2 John’s Roast Pork – South Philly
        #1 Chinks )now called Joe’s) – Northeast Philly

        • kn

          Agree. Chinks is the best! Great milkshake too

          • Freddy

            There’s a new place opening near JoeChinks called Paganos Steaks

    • owens4414

      Chubby’s is, in my opinion better, but it’s a close call; pretty much comes down to Delassandro’s chopping their meet up so finely for me. I grew up nearby and locals are pretty much evenly split between the two. It’s far away from CC so you don’t get much tourists there at all… not sure who really eats at either of them other than actually Philadelphians. Oh and yeah, Barry’s should be in the running for the neighborhood crown, truly fantastic steaks somewhat off the beaten path.

      • Guest 32

        Let’s see now one fresh slices ribeye the other buys precut top round maybe Einstein can call this one

        • owens4414

          Does Del’s really use round? I know the last time I had Chubby’s they used choice ribeye and while I never asked of Del’s I’m fairly certain they use ribeye as well. Granted I live in South Philly now so haven’t been to either in a year or so, perhaps things have changed.

          • We checked and both told us they used ribeye.

          • Guest 99

            Someone lied only Dalessandros uses fresh cut RibEye. Get your facts straight

          • Jen

            No chubbys also uses ribeye.

          • Hakeem

            I guess Chubbies recently switched to Ribeye because last time I was there they were using something else

          • Jen

            I have worked @ chubbys for 22 years and all they use is ribeye.

          • Guest 99

            Dallessandros cooks enough meat for the demand of orders for the following 15 to 20 min YES THATS HOW LONG IT TAKES TO SERVE THAT BIG MOUND and the people that ordered it are all there waiting ,that’s the kind of demand is waiting the product

          • Guest38

            You can Watch the trucks unload on Monday morning
            ( the proof is in the pudding )

          • Guest38

            I would quit my day job if I were you

          • Hakeem

            They must of switched because last time I went in they were using top round witch I guess didn’t cut it

          • Dorgan

            What’s funny is there is a video on utube where the owner of Chubies personally claims he uses Top round

          • Link or it didn’t happen. And settle on one username. It’s tiresome otherwise.

          • Dorgan

            Life is like a box a chocolates , you never know which one you gonna get !

          • Dorgan

            watch the videohttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MLIN012us0k&feature=player_detailpage

          • Guest 75

            Dalessandros slices Ribeye all day long

      • Guest22

        Barry’s are horrible there is never anyone in the place

  • Earl J

    Agreed, Dalessandros hill of CHOPPED beef is a turn off. Like Chubby’s better and Chubby’s chicken cheesesteak is great if you like that sort of things. Also strong cheese fries. counter atmosphere at both places is hard to beat and has parking. When you try Jim’s, try the original on 62nd street for the best of Jim’s.

    • Guest 22

      The hill of meat is a 15 min supply for the hill of people that are waiting for a sandwich you moron

  • beege

    This one would probably go to a shoot out for me. Love them both. I think the red bell hot peppers at Dale’s are presented better. That’s and essential for me w/ a CS.

  • quentin5058

    Go around the corner to the Henry James and get an even better cheesesteak!

  • d

    Check out New Valley Tavern cheeses teak in Plymouth Meeting…..

  • Jay W.

    I have not eaten meat for over a decade, but I already have plans for about 14 months from now to head back to Chubby’s for a chicken cheese steak to end my embargo.

  • ss

    Most Philadelphian’s will agree with me….

    Tony Lukes – South Philly #5
    Jim’s Steaks – Northeast Philly & South Street #4
    Steve’s Prince of Steaks – Northeast Philly #3
    John’s Roast Pork – South Philly #2
    Chinks )now called Joe’s) – Northeast Philly #1

    • bb

      Jim’s is one of the worst in philly

    • Boo-urns

      I agree with you on Chink’s being #1, and Steve’s being in the top 5 (I’d probably put it #2).

      Jim’s is a complete abomination of a cheesesteak, I do not understand the appeal at all. Disgusting, vastly overrated, should be consistently rated as one of the worst in the city (and absolutely the most overrated). Yeah, I despise Jim’s with a passion.

      I admit, however, that I greatly dislike finely chopped / minced meat on my cheesesteak, though, so I’m not likely to care for Dallesandro’s or Chubby’s either (I haven’t been to either one). I don’t want a solid slab of meat, but the loose chop that Chink’s uses is perfect IMO.

      That pile of mined meat on the grill in the photos above is disturbing. Cook my steak when I order it, not ten minutes before I get there. Jeez, who taught you people????

      • Boo-urns

        PS. Hate to break it to everyone, but Amoroso rolls aren’t the best. Not even close. Always go to a place that uses Liscio’s.

        • owens4414

          Agreed with Liscio’s over Amaoro’s… but, while not as traditional, a cheesesteak on a Sarcone’s roll is no joke.

          • Boo-urns

            Love Sarcone’s rolls, but more for hoagies than cheesesteaks. (Not that they’re bad in any way, just that when I think of Sarcone’s I think of a thick Italian hoagie… mmm just had lunch and now I’m getting hungry again!)

          • Guest 5

            Liscios has a great looking roll but it has no taste whatsoever

        • Dominic

          A fresh amoroso roll is probably the best tasting roll in Philadelphia after Sarcones

      • Guest 99

        Go to Barclay Prime

  • John & Ellen

    the one thing I like about CHUBBYS is that I can order some french fries to go and then take them over to Dalessandro’s and enjoy the world’s best steak.

  • Robert Wright

    I’ve always been a fan of Chubby’s if I want to sit down and eat, but for takeout the cheesesteak hoagie at Dalessandro’s is hard to beat. For some reason it just works with the finely chopped steak. John’s roast pork does have the best fast food, under $20 cheesesteak on the planet but let’s not forget that a lot of high end restaurant’s in the city do cheesesteaks that crush the competition. Try the kobe beef cheesesteak at Barclay Prime and tell me that anything on any of these lists is better. If you do your senile.

  • BJ

    Having grown up here my entire life there is no competition between these two places. I have been to both many times but find myself back to the #1 place in the city. Dalessandros gets my vote. I cannot understand how you call this ground up meat? Are you kidding me? Its better than that shoe leather they serve in S Philly and the last time I went to Chubby’s the meat has so much fat I was pulling it out of my sandwich. This place uses meat so tender it melts in your mouth. I had a friend from TX eat both and he like me chose Dalessandro’s as the better of the 2.

    • Steve Kotridis

      Either they are idiots or there are politics involved ph

    • eldondre

      dalessandros is awful and is probably the most overrated steak in philly. the meat sits on the grill in huge piles, overcooked and flavorless. when you order they just heat it up. the onions also lack flavor, and the whole things is dry. it’s crap, it was crap ten years ago, and it’s crap now. chubby’s is hands down the better of the two if for no other reason the meat is better, the onions are better, and you can have a beer to wash it down. the article is spot on. neither is a city wide contender for best cheesesteak, neither is particularly remarkable. I tend to agree with the posters that joe chinks is the best, probably the only famous steak I’ve had that wasn’t disappointing. after that the field is muddled, steve’s is alright but it’s no better (and perhaps worse) than sonny’s. john’s isn’t all remarkable either. for most “Philadelphians” their steak is the shop near their house that serves decent steaks.

      • Guest 65

        I had a Chinks steak and thought it was horrible dry roll

  • Bob

    What about MAMA’s in Belmont Hills? A definite winner. I use to love the pepper bar at Deli’s (Delisandroes) and yes we all have our favorites (Mam’s, Pudgeis, Tony Lukes for roast pork, truth is there are a lots of good ones. I however thing that the three amigos that everyone revere as the place to go in south Philly are terrible. poor meat and no flavor (Pat, Lou’s and the other guy not worth remembering)

    • Jason

      Mama’s is hands down the best out there by far.

  • grp1953

    Barry’s on Leverington in Roxborough is way better than either of these two. AND Barry was original cheese steak maker at D’alessandro’s when they were good.

  • TJ

    All I can say is try Franks in East Falls 3600 Fisk Avenue; better then both Chubby’s and Deales’s!!!

    • vampyre927

      Franks in East Falls is awesome, but Deli’s is the best!
      Chubby’s and Barry’s are great too!!

  • Guest22

    The proof is in the pudding Arthur

  • Guest22

    Dalessandros rocks ……… No comparison

  • Guest 55

    You don’t even make a dent in the world of public opinion

  • Guest 55

    Dalessandros will not worship the alter of Philadelphia Magazine !
    I see !

  • Guest 55

    It’s like comparing dirty dog food to Le Bec Fin ……..hm

  • Guest 35

    What most of your pizza shops AND SOME OTHER PLACES use is a precut supposedly sirloin product that comes from the tail it is marinated and has 10 % water added on many occasions it also contains what are called knuckles and wholesales for half the price of a good Rib Eye , but to the untrained taste buds it comes off as tastier , hence the marination and high amount of salt used

  • Jennie

    Out of the 2 I like Chubby”s. The steak is fresh, They have fries, Nice pepper bar, Parking lot, and for us that have kids a restroom. The staff is nice, and they have a bar.

    • Tameeka

      I always drive by Barry’s , never anybody in the place , had a cheese steak there a few times it was ok

  • Get an education

    I heard this is really about Dalessandros not spending any advertising dollars in Philadelphia Magazine

    • Bob Heffner

      I have heard that too. The same is true for their best of Philly award issue. No adverting, no consideration.

  • Get an education

    It’s all about the money ,and where you spend it or not !!!!!

  • Get an education

    Fact is a Dalessandros is doing more business than it has done since it’s old glory days in the 80’s and many competitors are not happy

  • Get an education

    Fact if you are Jewish and open a restaurant , chances are you will be highlighted on Phila. Magazines next issue not very fair to everyone else

  • Bob Heffner

    About 20 years ago, Dallssandros was the better steak. I do not know what happened.

    • Piccolo padre

      Still is

  • Dorgam

    Rumor has it Philly Magazine runs smear campaigns if they are missing out on advertising dollars

  • Sal

    You can fool some of the people some of the time but you can’t fool most people most of the time …..the lines don’t lie !

  • Sal

    It’s all about your money and where it will be spent

  • Nickie

    Dalessandros always and still has the best

  • Nickie


  • Johnie

    It’s all about if you buy a whole page in their publication a quarter page or none at all ADVERTISING DOLLARS and who gets them !

  • Nikie

    Boy you really outdid your self this time Arthur and the worst part is you won’t be allowed back in to get one of those great Dalessandros Cheesesteaks that you will undoubtedly crave . Lol

  • Napoli

    Fact : RibEye is one of the best cuts of beef but it has grizzle
    Fact : The only way for the preparer to remove the grizzle while cooking is to chop the meat fine (otherwise you can’t see it to remove it ) so next time you wind up with a nice piece of grizzle in your cheese steak you’ll know why

  • Shivonna

    When in doubt , use this technique , go where it’s always packed , people are there for a reason !

    • Boo-urns

      Not necessarily — Jim’s on South Street is always mobbed, and it’s a terrible cheesesteak.