Tale of the Tape: Cheesesteak at Philip’s Steaks

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Philip’s Steaks is the hipster rock answer to where to get the best cheesesteak on Passyunk Avenue. But that doesn’t mean it is the wrong answer. Far from the neon of 9th and Passyunk, Phil’s, as those in-the-know call it, is a 24-hour stand at 23rd Passyunk. Easily accessible to homesick travelers returning through Philadelphia International Airport, as well as shift workers, locals and in-the-know sports fans heading to or from the sports complex, Phil’s always has customers, despite its off-the-strip location.

Philip’s offers the standard cheesesteak options and the “Old Fashioned” or “Old Fashion” as the sign says, a steak that GQ’s Alan Richman highly praised when he was naming his best cheesesteaks in Philadelphia.

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Most Affordable ’Hoods for Renters: Yup, They’re What You’d Think

Screen grab from Kwelia's interactive rental heat map.

Screen grab from Kwelia’s interactive rental heat map.

Here’s what we want to say to startup Kwelia: If loving you is wrong, we don’t wanna be right. The self-professed data geeks help real estate professionals by collecting and analyzing information about the rental market: what’s hot, what’s trending, what competitive pricing would look like.

That doesn’t necessarily sound like it would be to a consumer’s benefit. But Kwelia also provides info about Philadelphia rentals and free tools to regular folk. Take, for instance, the company’s interactive heat map of rental prices in Philadelphia for the month of May: It’s a really helpful look at what’s going on in the city in terms of affordability–as long as you understand the reasons behind the prices.

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Where We’re Eating: Gennaro’s Tomato Pies

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Mike Giammarino—who operated Philly’s Lombardi’s pizzeria on 18th Street before that location succumbed to 10 Rittenhouse and, eventually, Serafina—is back, baking New York-style pizza in Philadelphia, where he belongs. Giammarino has opened Gennaro’s Tomato Pie just off West Passyunk Avenue, and despite the fact that it debuted just after New Year’s, the place already feels like it’s been here for decades. The World War II model planes and 1940s-era posters and advertisements certainly help, but somehow even the tattooed servers fit right in.

Though the pizza is available for takeout (no delivery), these pies are meant to be eaten right where they’re made—inside the 34-seat pizzeria, while the mozzarella is still melting, the chunky, herb-filled tomato sauce is still dangerously hot, and the snappy well-done crust can still stand up to the toppings without a hint of floppiness. If you can’t decide which kind to get (though really, there are no wrong choices), the pleasant staff will offer the option of divvying pies up by halves. But that politeness aside, this remains pizza worthy of being called New York-style.

Gennaro’s Tomato Pie
1429 Jackson Street
215-463-5070

First appeared in the June, 2013 issue of Philadelphia magazine.

Cousin’s Grubhouse Opens on West Passyunk

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Longtime friends, William Schmidt and Jim Lord have taken over Cousin’s Luncheonette on West Passyunk and rechristened the spot, Cousin’s Grubhouse. Located between 22d and 23rd Streets (opposite Philip’s Steaks), Cousin’s has been a fixture at the corner of Passyunk and Hemberger since 1955. Serving up breakfast and lunch to a wide variety of regulars, Schmidt, who owned Players Pub and Black Door back in the day has cleaned up the spot and installed a new menu with the help of Lord. Lord is very attached to the wise idea, that just about anything can be made better by using bacon or a deep fryer (even better if it is both), and is pushing the menu beyond that of the traditional greasy spoon.

What we ate last week »