Friday, October 2, 2009

Fun Cheesesteak Facts

Philadelphia's most famous sandwich, the cheesesteak, started out as an alternative to hot dogs. In the 1930s, Pat Olivieri and his brother Harry had a hot dog cart in South Philly, but one day Pat got tired of hot dogs and wanted to eat something different for lunch. He sent Harry down to the butcher to bring back some beef. When Pat got the meat, he cooked it up on the grill and put it on a hot dog roll. At this point, a cab driver who came for lunch saw the sandwich and wanted one. He asked Pat if he could have one, and Pat either sold him the sandwich or gave him half of his. Either way, the cab driver supposedly said afterwards "You should stop selling hot dogs and sell these things". The first West Philadelphia steak shop, Jim's, opened up in 1939. Cheese, the final essential component, was first put on the steak sandwich by Joe Lorenza, an employee at Pat's on Ridge Avenue.
Source: Philly Mag

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