The Best Cheesesteaks at the Reading Terminal Market
Back when Rick’s Steaks had a stand at the Reading Terminal Market it was the only place inside the market to get a cheesesteak. But without an exclusive vendor, you can now get cheesesteaks at seven locations inside the market, eight if you include the pork cheesesteak at Wursthaus Schmitz. So with this explosion of cheesesteak options, Team Foobooz sets out to find the best cheesesteak at the Reading Terminal Market.
#1 Philadelphia Stereotypes on a Roll
The Franklin Cheesesteak at Carmen’s Famous Italian Hoagies & Cheesesteaks
The Franklin features well-chopped steak and both American and cream cheese. On the surface it is a Philadelphia stereotype that could only be more hackneyed if you ate it while posing with the Rocky Statue. In practice, the cream cheese melted throughout the sandwich and Carmen’s clever strategy of shredding the onions into fine strings and then frying them, made this a sandwich that all agreed was the best cheesesteak in the building.
Located at: A & 8
#2 Fire In Your Belly
The Trainwreck at Beck’s Cajun Cafe
We’ve song the praises of the Trainwreck before and the Cajun rif on the cheesesteak continues to deliver. The finely chopped steak is mixed together with Andouille sausage and salami, creating a spicy cheesesteak that is difficult to put down. The French baguette also adds to the uniqueness of the sandwich. For cheesesteak purists who might complain the Trainwreck isn’t really a cheesesteak, we have no time for your fundamentalist views.
Located at: C & 8
#3 By George That’s a Big Cheesesteak
Cheesesteak at By George
By George used to specialize in pizza and pasta. Now they’ve added a flat top and are cooking up the biggest cheesesteaks in the Reading Terminal. It is also the only cheesesteak offered on a seeded roll. We got our belly buster with By George’s housemade cheese sauce and really enjoyed the legitimate cheddar cheese taste along with the meat and onions.
Located at C & 2
#4 When a Soft Pretzel Meets a Cheesesteak
Cheesesteak Pretzel at Miller’s Twist
We normally keep it straight forward at Miller’s Twist pretzel stand, one pretzel with butter. But an excuse to get the cheesesteak pretzel had us excited. Why wouldn’t chopped steak meat and cheese in a pretzel purse excite? The cheese is a molten sauce when you bite in, the salt and somewhat sweet pretzel dough add to the flavors. The only negative we could come up with is the meat was a little dry, but not so much that we didn’t finish the whole thing.
Located at: B & 10
#5 Best Cheesesteak for the Beef Connoisseur
Cheesesteak at the Down Home Diner
The cheesesteak at the Down Home Diner can be had for $7 at the takeout counter. It wasn’t an enormous steak but the hand cut steak was clearly the most flavorful of the seven steaks we tried. With Down Home Diner’s commitment to local farms and freshness, that’s not much of a surprise. The steak is finished with Provolone cheese and fried onions.
Located at: B & 2
#6 So You Like D’Alesandro’s
Cheesesteak at Spataro’s
This cheesesteak reminded us all of D’Alesandro’s in Roxborough. The beef is so finely minced it resembles a loose meat sandwich. The Spataro’s cheesesteak was also the greasiest of all the cheesesteaks sampled. And we mean that in a good way. Spataro’s is right on the Center Court and swiftly delivers cheesesteaks to the masses.
Located at: B & 7
#7 When You Want Fries and a Beer with Your Cheesesteak
Cheesesteak at Molly Malloy’s
Molly Malloy’s, like the Down Home Diner takes the familiar ordering out of the cheesesteak equation. The cheesesteak is listed on the menu with American cheese sauce and house-cut fries. No tweaking encouraged. The sliced ribeye was the only steak that resembled a slab-style cheesesteak. Interestingly the steak had a burger flavor to it. The cheese sauce was poured over top the steak but once you squeezed the sandwich together, the cheese found its way into every bite. The thick cut fries were a nice side, a crisp Yards Pale Ale went even better.
Located at: D & 6
Price: $12.42 (with side of fries)
Though Philadelphia’s best known cheesesteak joints are often dismissed as being tourist traps, we feel confident recommending all seven of the cheesesteaks we tried at the Reading Terminal Market to tourists and locals alike.
So next time you’re at the Reading Terminal Market and the line is just too long at DiNic’s or your friends of out of town need to check cheesesteak off their Philadelphia To-Do List, rest assured, there’s a good steak for everyone at the Reading Terminal.
Reading Terminal Market [Official]
Cheesesteak Project [Foobooz]