Cheesesteak Rivalry: Campo’s Versus Sonny’s

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Back in January, when GQ’s Alan Richman ratings of Philadelphia cheesesteaks came out, Old City’s Sonny’s Steaks was at the top and neighboring Campo’s Deli was panned for its service. On a recent weekday afternoon, we set out to put the Old City cheesesteaks up against each other, mano-e-mano.

 Tale of the Tape: Campo’s Deli Versus Sonny’s Famous Steaks

Campo’s Deli

214 Market Street
215-923-1000

Steak Ordered: Cheese steak, fried onions and American cheese




Roll: Liscio's

Meat: Rib-eye, sliced on site

Onion: Diced

Cheese: American

Price: $9

Pro Tip: An interesting twist on the cheesesteak worth ordering at Campo's is "The Heater," a spicy cheesesteak with jalapeno cheddar and Buffalo hot sauce.

The steak sandwich we tried at Campo's had a reasonable amount of meat on it. Meat that was juicy enough but in what is becoming a trend, under-seasoned. The cheese did mingle nicely with the meat, creating a cohesive experience. We also appreciated that the steak was cooked to order. Unfortunately with no seasoning to note, a mild American cheese and a heavy-hand of undercooked onions, Campo's cheesesteak was just ok.

Sonny's Famous Steaks

225 Market Street
215-629-5760

Steak Ordered: Sonny's Famous, steak with whiz and fried onions

Roll: Amoroso

Meat: Rib-eye, sliced on site

Onion: Spanish, diced

Cheese: Whiz

Price: $9

Pro Tip: The steak we ordered is the one recommended to tourists at the counter. The Sonny's Famous includes fried onions and Cheez Whiz. The Whiz saved this sandwich from being very boring. Sonny's skips seasoning the meat, favoring the theory that the fat of the steak provides enough flavor. And that might be true, as long as you go with the sodium-rich Whiz.

Sonny's Cheesesteak had some really excellent flavor, we just wish there was more sandwich in this cheesesteak. You shouldn't eat a cheesesteak and then seriously consider a sundae from Franklin Fountain to fill you up at lunch.

Verdict

Campo's and Sonny's could not be more visually different. In Campo's, every square inch of horizontal space is dedicated to selling something and every vertical inch, is encouraging you to buy something. Sonny's is understated and minimalist. The black and white signage match the black and white photos of historic Philadelphia. After the over stimulation of Campo's, Sonny's is almost zen-like.

As for the cheesesteaks, Sonny's won on flavor but we're not with Alan Richman on this one, it isn't the best cheesesteak in Philadelphia.

 



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  • Endy Photo

    Sonny’s isn’t the best in Philly, but I like the joint better than Campo’s. Sonny’s is better tasting, the place is more comfortable to sit around in because every time I’ve been to Campo’s the people who run the place were pretty jerky. Good stuff from both, I just prefer Sonny’s.

  • Boo-urns

    Never had Sonny’s, but Campo’s ranks #2 on my list of Most Overrated Cheesesteaks in Philly (the winner, of course, being Jim’s on South Street).

    Campo’s sandwiches are short on meat, woefully short on flavor, very high-priced (especially for the piddly serving you get) and served with ridiculous attitude. And even the absolute best rolls (Liscio’s) don’t help matters.

  • lizz

    except sonny’s has campo’s beat by a landslide when you consider that they’re open until 2am on the weekends. sonny’s has saved me from many a hangover, plus their hot sauce is so delicious

  • Tom Peduto

    I think it’s ridiculous to to put something like this in a review:

    “Unfortunately with no seasoning to note, a mild American cheese and a heavy-hand of undercooked onions, Campo’s cheesesteak was just ok.”

    No one made you order American Cheese! The cheesesteaks are made to order. You could have just as easily asked for Wiz if you like that more, or Provolone. To then say that Campo’s is under-seasoned while noting that Sonny’s doesn’t season and THEN let Sonny’s off the hook for using Wiz when you could have ordered Wiz at Campo’s makes it seem like the playing field was never really even here.

  • Denise Rambo

    Doesn’t sound like I’ll be trying either one of those steaks.

  • rogo99

    John’s Roast Pork, John’s Roast Pork, and John’s Roast Pork.