Photo by Jeff Fusco
Abner Silver, the owner of Jim’s Steaks on South Street passed away today at age 79. Silver co-owned Jim’s with Bill Proetto since the South Street location opened in the mid-seventies. Silver became the sole owner when Proetto passed in 2011.
Silver, a jazz buff, was responsible for setting up Jim’s first cheesesteak eating stunt back in 1978, when Lynda Kuerth devoured 11 steak sandwiches. Silver was also the founder of Abner’s Steaks in University City.
Silver had suffered from Alzheimers in recent years but passed peacefully today.
Note from Jim’s Steaks »
Last year when Philly’s Finest Sambonis competed on the Food Network’s The Great Food Truck Race, we had a bit of fun at their expense. In Philadelphia magazine, Jason Sheehan wrote, “Philly’s Finest Sambonis truck never vended in Philadelphia before appearing on The Great Food Truck Race. Which is why I am hereby declaring myself the King of Bulgaria and the prettiest Eskimo in Atlanta, Georgia. Because apparently that’s just how this shit is done now.” But the team of friends from Philadelphia made the finals of the show and started hitting locations around Philadelphia. But it wasn’t till yesterday that I was able to catch up with the truck while they vended at the Porch at 30th Street Station.
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As Serious Eats pointed out in its rundown of Philadelphia cheesesteaks, under seasoning is a big issue. Even spots that aren’t just phoning it in often lack adding any salt or pepper. Under seasoning is not an issue on the Train Wreck at Beck’s Cajun Cafe. This Philadelphia take on the Po Boy adds Andouille sausage and salami to the traditional cheesesteak.
Today we take the Train Wreck for a spin and see how the Creole take on the cheesesteak stacks up.
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Illustration by Kagan McLeod
First things first, I have to thank you for being so good to Philadelphia since the last time I wrote you. I asked for a lot of things on behalf of the city last year — outdoor drinking and BYOs and soup and more delivery options — and you came through in spades.
This year, my requests for Philly are a little bit darker. Rather than asking for things we need, I’m asking for things to go away. This is mostly because we’ve had such a good year already, and because our neighborhoods are so full of amazing restaurants and chefs doing the best work of their careers. Hard as it might be to say, what Philly is due for is a cull. To keep the scene healthy. And Santa, sometimes hard choices need to be made.
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Serious Eats founder Ed Levine and associate editor Niki Achitoff-Gray came to Philadelphia and sampled 30+ cheesesteaks over two days. And what did they find? “Finding a truly great cheesesteak in Philly is hard. Like, alarmingly hard.”
And as I’ve been eating my share of cheesesteaks over this Year of the Cheesesteak, I agree with what came out of their guiding principles. Especially that the meat is consistently underseasoned, bland and often dry.
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Jake’s Sandwich Board is celebrating the grand opening of its second location in University City at 40th and Sansom Streets on December 1st, at 11 a.m. And if you’re one of the first 500 students to show up and show ID, you’ll be getting a mini bottle of Sriracha, oh yeah.
And if that’s not enough, on December 3, co-owners Gary Dorfman and Sean Stein will be hosting a Three For All – offering $3 sandwiches (any sandwich on the menu) for 3 hours (from 12 noon until 3 p.m.).
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Joe’s Steaks at Girard and Frankford.
Joe’s Steaks + Soda Shop’s new location at Frankford and Girard was announced back in May and work has finally begun to convert the old Acropolis Diner into a cheesesteak emporium. Pictured are several shots of the exterior and interior being overhauled.
Despite the current look, owner Joe Groh is still aiming for a mid-December opening.
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Whenever Pat’s and Geno’s Steaks are mentioned, undoubtedly someone will weigh in with the seemingly erudite argument that they don’t pick a winner between those geographic rivals, but rather they prefer Steve’s Steaks. The Philadelphia cheesesteak joint has been Northeast Philadelphia royalty since opening in the early 1980s. In March of 2013, Steve’s opened a branch of cheesesteak kingdom at 16th and Chestnut Streets in Center City Philadelphia.
Today, we measured how Steve’s Prince of Steaks stacked up against the best cheesesteaks in Philadelphia.
The tale of the tape »
Fan shares his cheese fries with Eagles QB Mark Sanchez | Image via 6 ABC
Last night the Eagles dominated the Carolina Panthers on Monday Night Football. And in what might be a record, ESPN went to the well worn cheesesteak trope six minutes into its 8 p.m. broadcast. That prompted native Philadelphian and star of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Rob McElhenney to tweet, “My home city is the BIRTHPLACE OF THE UNITED STATES. Why must we be constantly relegated to the home of loose-meat pieces on a roll?” No doubt, there’s much more to show in Philadelphia than just 9th and Passyunk. Incidentally, NBC’s Sunday Night Football deserves acknowledgement for consistently showing Philadelphia in a less stereotypical light during their broadcasts.
But what last night’s broadcast revealed, besides that analyst John Gruden did not react well to a Geno’s Steaks sandwich years ago, was that Mark Sanchez had not had a cheesesteak since joining the Eagles.
Sanchez, who is celebrating his birthday today, made good on his on-air statement that he would have cheesesteaks from both Pat’s and Geno’s if the Eagles won.
Check out the video »
John’s Roast Pork has been known as much for its excellent cheesesteaks and roast pork sandwiches as it has been for its short hours. The South Philadelphia sandwich shrine has long closed up shop by 3 p.m. and it was big news when the Snyder Avenue stand finally added Saturday hours in 2012.
But now even bigger news. Starting in March of 2015, John’s Roast Pork will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., six days a week.
John’s Roast Pork [Foobooz]