First Bite: Marathon’s $11 Cheesesteak

Yesterday, I had the chance to try the new cheesesteak from Marathon Grill, which the company has been toying with over the last few months. The latest prototype was on the specials list for the first half of the week, though if you’re feeling hungry, note that it’s not available today. Like many cheesesteaks in and around town, this one is served on a Sarcone’s roll. Unlike virtually every cheesesteak on the planet, this one features local grass-fed organic beef, specifically from the family-owned 100 acre Jennings Farm in Medford.

It was a satisfying sandwich made with onions, peppers, chopped top round, and Marathon’s own homemade version of the classic Cheez Whiz sauce. But it wasn’t exactly a satisfying cheesesteak — at least it wouldn’t be to the 3 a.m. Pat’s/Geno’s crowd — because the lack of fat, grease, and salt make it miss the junk food mark. And that’s what a cheesesteak is, right? Junk food? “It’s definitely the steak sandwich that doesn’t make you feel disgusting after you’ve eaten it,” says Marathon owner Cary Borish, who explains that they are still tweaking the fat content and seasoning. “Just using organic meat makes it leaner to begin with.”

The Marathon Cheesesteak is $11 with a side of fries. $1 from each sandwich is donated to Marathon’s farm project in North Philadelphia.