UPDATED: Non-Traditional Cheesesteaks In Philly

Okay, so remember a couple weeks ago when we posted our Foobooz Six-Pack detailing the best non-traditional cheesesteaks available in Philly? I’m guessing you do, because at least a few of you out there were loud enough in your insistence that we’d missed a couple important ones that we decided another taste test was in order–just in case the ones you folks loved were worth making the list.

And guess what? They were…

Two MORE Non-Traditional Cheesesteaks

The Trainwreck at Beck’s Cajun Cafe

According to Beck’s, the Trainwreck–an absolute hot mess of chopped steak, Andouille sausage, salami, cheese, Cajun spice and onion on a hoagie roll–is what a cheesesteak wants to be when it grows up. And there were some among our taste-testers who agreed. True, Beck’s sells this monster as a po’boy, but it has enough cheesesteak DNA in it to qualify for our list. Absolutely worth a try for those looking for a cheesesteak with a kick–and some salami.

Beck’s Cajun Cafe

Reading Terminal Market (12th and Arch)


Crawfish Cheesesteak from Chris’s Jazz Cafe

This was a weird one… It is indisputably a cheesesteak–steak and cheese, amply mounded up on a long roll. But what makes it different is the addition of some mud bugs–both bits of crawfish meat stuffed low down in the roll and two whole critters, complete in the shell, spiked to the foil when you get one of these sandwiches to go. Two awesome things about this? One, crawfish meat actually matches pretty well with the steak and the slightly spicy kick of the Cajun spices added to this sandwich. And two, the whole crawfish themselves have myriad uses–from creeping out sea bug-averse co-workers and as puppets used to perform select scenes from Shakespeare (I’m partial to the Gravedigger scene from Hamlet) to acting as a fashionable brooch. Also, you can eat ’em.

The only problem with Chris’s crawfish cheesesteak? It just didn’t have enough oomph for me. I wanted it to be more non-traditional, to have more crawfish meat or more spice or just more something. As a quick walk on the wild side, it worked. I was just hoping for a more substantial journey.

Chris’s Jazz Cafe

1421 Sansom Street