so really...best cheese steak in Philly is????

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  • RiotZactRiotZact Posts: 5,974
    Holy fuck! That long hot bread looks insane. If that cheesesteak is as good as some of you are saying, then you put that bread on top of it? That could be a game changer. 
  • Cliffy6745Cliffy6745 Posts: 32,427
    edited October 2021
    RiotZact said:
    Holy fuck! That long hot bread looks insane. If that cheesesteak is as good as some of you are saying, then you put that bread on top of it? That could be a game changer. 
    That bread is only available occasionally and by the time I called at 4:30 on Friday, it was gone, but yeah
  • RiotZactRiotZact Posts: 5,974
    RiotZact said:
    Holy fuck! That long hot bread looks insane. If that cheesesteak is as good as some of you are saying, then you put that bread on top of it? That could be a game changer. 
    That bread is only available occasionally and by the time I called at 4:30 on Friday, it was gone, but yeah
    Damn. Will have to keep an eye out. 
  • Jearlpam0925Jearlpam0925 Deep South PhillyPosts: 14,920
    Unrelated to cheesesteaks but related to long hot bread and local Philly joints. This is the BLT on a Cooper sharp long hot bagel from Korshak's. And it's delicious.


  • F Me In The BrainF Me In The Brain this knows everybody from other commetsPosts: 26,926
    Went to White House in Atlantic City today.
    Got a full size Italian (it was absolutely delicious...as good an Italian as I've ever had) which I struggled to eat almost half of....thing was huge!

    Got a half Cheesesteak for the boy and I ate some of it.  Don't know where to rank it but it was really good.  Top notch stuff.

    The love he receives is the love that is saved
  • The JugglerThe Juggler Behind that bush over there.Posts: 42,542
    Nice. White House is legit
    chinese-happy.jpg
  • GlowGirlGlowGirl New York, NYPosts: 5,128
    Went to White House in Atlantic City today.
    Got a full size Italian (it was absolutely delicious...as good an Italian as I've ever had) which I struggled to eat almost half of....thing was huge!

    Got a half Cheesesteak for the boy and I ate some of it.  Don't know where to rank it but it was really good.  Top notch stuff.

    That Italian looks delicious. As I have gotten older I am a bit more restrained when it comes to sodium and nitrates. I rarely eat cold cuts anymore. But I think once in a while won't kill me. I may have to get one of these soon.

  • Get_RightGet_Right Posts: 11,280
    Love me some white house!  Good stuff!
  • The JugglerThe Juggler Behind that bush over there.Posts: 42,542
    Gobbler vs Pilgrim.

    Since I had no leftovers I felt like a taste test was in order last night. 

    The Gobbler is one of the things Wawa still does well. It wins based primarily based on moistness. The Pilgrim has the better bread, obviously, but is a bit dry. Pilgrim also only comes cold (deli turkey, though Boars Head which is always great) which loses points. So I got the cold Gobbler (with the turkey deli meat) for a fairer fight. I did had them toast the Gobbler--def recommend. Primos should really offer that as an option.

    Moistness of the Gobbler's stuffing plus they just had more turkey and cranberry sauce than the Primos sandwich is what put it over the top. The Wawa stuffing has some gravy in it. No gravy on the Pilgrim--just mayo.

    Of course you can also get a hot Gobbler which comes with the regular turkey instead of deli style.

    I also got American cheese on both. 

    Gobbler for the Win. 



    chinese-happy.jpg
  • Jearlpam0925Jearlpam0925 Deep South PhillyPosts: 14,920
    A lot to unpack here. Good to see Primo's getting into this game, and if they've been doing it I've been unaware. I have to say The Bobbie from Capriotti's is probably the best Thanksgiving roll sandwich imo.

    The Gobbler is good stuff tho, gotta try this Primo's one.

    No cheese on that, no way, get that outta here.

    I think The Gobbler has to be served warm/hot. 

    That's bushleague Primo's goes with lunch meat turkey. Has to be carved roasted turkey, regardless of it being warm or cold.

    The perfect leftover Tgiving sandwich is cold and has to be on white bread, turkey, mayo, cranberry sauce, heavy on the S&P, that's it. And you're eating at least two of them.
  • Get_RightGet_Right Posts: 11,280
    A lot to unpack here. Good to see Primo's getting into this game, and if they've been doing it I've been unaware. I have to say The Bobbie from Capriotti's is probably the best Thanksgiving roll sandwich imo.

    The Gobbler is good stuff tho, gotta try this Primo's one.

    No cheese on that, no way, get that outta here.

    I think The Gobbler has to be served warm/hot. 

    That's bushleague Primo's goes with lunch meat turkey. Has to be carved roasted turkey, regardless of it being warm or cold.

    The perfect leftover Tgiving sandwich is cold and has to be on white bread, turkey, mayo, cranberry sauce, heavy on the S&P, that's it. And you're eating at least two of them.

    Marble rye for my leftovers, and we go one way with the turkey, mayo and cranberry horseradish spread, and another way with turkey, slaw and russian/thousand island.  Swiss optional on the second sandwich.  And as an aside, I have always enjoyed Primos. 
  • The JugglerThe Juggler Behind that bush over there.Posts: 42,542
    Get_Right said:
    A lot to unpack here. Good to see Primo's getting into this game, and if they've been doing it I've been unaware. I have to say The Bobbie from Capriotti's is probably the best Thanksgiving roll sandwich imo.

    The Gobbler is good stuff tho, gotta try this Primo's one.

    No cheese on that, no way, get that outta here.

    I think The Gobbler has to be served warm/hot. 

    That's bushleague Primo's goes with lunch meat turkey. Has to be carved roasted turkey, regardless of it being warm or cold.

    The perfect leftover Tgiving sandwich is cold and has to be on white bread, turkey, mayo, cranberry sauce, heavy on the S&P, that's it. And you're eating at least two of them.

    Marble rye for my leftovers, and we go one way with the turkey, mayo and cranberry horseradish spread, and another way with turkey, slaw and russian/thousand island.  Swiss optional on the second sandwich.  And as an aside, I have always enjoyed Primos. 
    No stuffing for either of you guys? It is mandatory as far as I am concerned. But my mom's stuffing is always the best dish on the table at Thanksgiving so I am sure that plays into it for me. 
    chinese-happy.jpg
  • F Me In The BrainF Me In The Brain this knows everybody from other commetsPosts: 26,926
    I made a savage Sammie both yesterday and today, to rival The Gobbler.
    Made a Japanese Mayo and Leftover cranberry relish.
    Toasted fresh sourdough on the stovetop.
    Thinly sliced some of the turkey breast leftovers and popped for a quick heat on the stovetop.
    In a bowl, mixed mashed potatoes, stuffing, some panko, and an egg.  Made a few patties and crisped then on each side in the pan.
    Added some lettuce and it was amazing.

    The cranberry mayo thing was awesome.

    Thanksgiving Sammies rule 
    The love he receives is the love that is saved
  • F Me In The BrainF Me In The Brain this knows everybody from other commetsPosts: 26,926
    Primos diablo roast beef = fire

    The love he receives is the love that is saved
  • RiotZactRiotZact Posts: 5,974
    I’m not the biggest fan of Campo’s, but my girlfriend loves the Flyers cheesesteak (cream cheese, tomato, spicy cheese) so we get it from time to time. Decided to be a little adventurous and try something different this time. This is called the Stockyard and this is how they describe it:

    If you want a truly unique experience, this cheesesteak comes with chicken, and is cooked in all the oily goodness of pepperoni, bacon, and fried onions. Not to mention the marscarpone cheese spread it sits on.


  • F Me In The BrainF Me In The Brain this knows everybody from other commetsPosts: 26,926
    How was it?
    The love he receives is the love that is saved
  • Jearlpam0925Jearlpam0925 Deep South PhillyPosts: 14,920
    Get_Right said:
    A lot to unpack here. Good to see Primo's getting into this game, and if they've been doing it I've been unaware. I have to say The Bobbie from Capriotti's is probably the best Thanksgiving roll sandwich imo.

    The Gobbler is good stuff tho, gotta try this Primo's one.

    No cheese on that, no way, get that outta here.

    I think The Gobbler has to be served warm/hot. 

    That's bushleague Primo's goes with lunch meat turkey. Has to be carved roasted turkey, regardless of it being warm or cold.

    The perfect leftover Tgiving sandwich is cold and has to be on white bread, turkey, mayo, cranberry sauce, heavy on the S&P, that's it. And you're eating at least two of them.

    Marble rye for my leftovers, and we go one way with the turkey, mayo and cranberry horseradish spread, and another way with turkey, slaw and russian/thousand island.  Swiss optional on the second sandwich.  And as an aside, I have always enjoyed Primos. 
    No stuffing for either of you guys? It is mandatory as far as I am concerned. But my mom's stuffing is always the best dish on the table at Thanksgiving so I am sure that plays into it for me. 
    No way on the stuffing. It's suppose to be a cold sandwich so that doesn't compute for me.
  • RiotZactRiotZact Posts: 5,974
    How was it?
    Oh yeah, guess I should have mentioned that. Easily my favorite that I’ve had from Campo’s. Will be my new go-to there for sure. 
  • F Me In The BrainF Me In The Brain this knows everybody from other commetsPosts: 26,926
    RiotZact said:
    How was it?
    Oh yeah, guess I should have mentioned that. Easily my favorite that I’ve had from Campo’s. Will be my new go-to there for sure. 
    Cool.  I'm also not a huge fan but will remember that one.
    The love he receives is the love that is saved
  • Get_RightGet_Right Posts: 11,280
    Get_Right said:
    A lot to unpack here. Good to see Primo's getting into this game, and if they've been doing it I've been unaware. I have to say The Bobbie from Capriotti's is probably the best Thanksgiving roll sandwich imo.

    The Gobbler is good stuff tho, gotta try this Primo's one.

    No cheese on that, no way, get that outta here.

    I think The Gobbler has to be served warm/hot. 

    That's bushleague Primo's goes with lunch meat turkey. Has to be carved roasted turkey, regardless of it being warm or cold.

    The perfect leftover Tgiving sandwich is cold and has to be on white bread, turkey, mayo, cranberry sauce, heavy on the S&P, that's it. And you're eating at least two of them.

    Marble rye for my leftovers, and we go one way with the turkey, mayo and cranberry horseradish spread, and another way with turkey, slaw and russian/thousand island.  Swiss optional on the second sandwich.  And as an aside, I have always enjoyed Primos. 
    No stuffing for either of you guys? It is mandatory as far as I am concerned. But my mom's stuffing is always the best dish on the table at Thanksgiving so I am sure that plays into it for me. 

    No stuffing in the sandwich, bread on bread does not work for me.  Stuffing is the best side dish when covered in sliced turkey and gravy!
  • Cliffy6745Cliffy6745 Posts: 32,427
    Got some dental work done and wasn’t able to eat a hoagie for like the last 6 weeks or so. All good now. Where to today? Pastifico?
  • RiotZactRiotZact Posts: 5,974
    Got some dental work done and wasn’t able to eat a hoagie for like the last 6 weeks or so. All good now. Where to today? Pastifico?
    …….yes
  • The JugglerThe Juggler Behind that bush over there.Posts: 42,542
    Don't care what anyone says, this is still one of my favorites. And Covid really improved their ordering/pick up process too.


    chinese-happy.jpg
  • The JugglerThe Juggler Behind that bush over there.Posts: 42,542
    edited January 9
    By the way, reheating these things in the airfryer for 3-4 minutes at 325 is just about perfection. I'm about a half hour from Dalessandro's so I pretty much have to anyway. But man....gives the bread just a hint of crispiness too. Delicious. 
    chinese-happy.jpg
  • mcgruff10mcgruff10 New JerseyPosts: 26,354
    I m definitely late to the party but White House is legit.  
    I'll ride the wave where it takes me......
  • RiotZactRiotZact Posts: 5,974
    The GOAT Juggler! And yes, ordering is so much better now. Unfortunately it’s a bit of a pain for me to get there as well, so I don’t go as often as I should. Maybe 4 times since I moved to Philly 2+ years ago.
  • The JugglerThe Juggler Behind that bush over there.Posts: 42,542
    https://www.inquirer.com/news/philly-cheesesteaks-jim-pappa-20220113.html

    This Delco native ate 1,000 cheesesteaks to find the best one. Along the way, Jim Pappas found himself.

    Can a cheesesteak change your life? Probably not. But as cheesy as it sounds, in a quest to find the best cheesesteak in the region, Delaware County native Jim Pappas, 58, found himself.

    Jim Pappas 56 of North Wilmington Del takes his first bite of the Brisket Cheesesteak from Mikes BBQ marking his 500th cheesesteak on Wednesday Jan 8 2020 Pappas started his cheesesteak journey in May 16 2018 and has eaten 500 cheesesteaks within 20 months The first question I get is whats your favorite then the second question I get is whats the worst Pappas said I started to realize that a lot of the cheese steaks were the same Thats when I was like you know what and I went to a place and they had a special I would get it
    Jim Pappas, 56, of North Wilmington, Del., takes his first bite of the Brisket Cheesesteak from Mike's BBQ marking his 500th cheesesteak on Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020. Pappas started his cheesesteak journey in May 16, 2018 and has eaten 500 cheesesteaks within 20 months. "The first question I get is what's your favorite, then the second question I get is what's the worst," Pappas said. "I started to realize that a lot of the cheese steaks were the same. Thats when I was like you know what, and I went to a place and they had a special. I would get it."Read moreTYGER WILLIAMS / Staff Photographer

      Can a cheesesteak change your life? Probably not. But in rating 1,000 cheesesteaks from Pennsylvania, South Jersey, and Delaware, Delaware County native Jim Pappas, 58, has found himself.

      “I’ve been to places that I’ve been driving by for 45 years, would never think to go into to get a cheesesteak, or even stop for anything other than to get diseased,” Pappas joked. “And I’ve had great times, and met great people, and had great cheesesteaks.”

      Pappas’ new lease on life began in May 2018 when he dug into a cheesesteak at Claymont Steak Shop in Delaware, his new home post-leukemia scare (in remission since 2014), divorce, and career change.

      Pappas took to a spreadsheet to gather his thoughts. It was “a good cheesesteak,” he wrote, but “just not the Claymont steaks I used to get in high school” — plenty of parking and restrooms available.


      In subsequent years, Pappas’ spreadsheet would blow up as he tried cheesesteaks in delis, pizza shops, pubs, and restaurants. The reviews would get a little longer, with notes on how the bread collapsed, moisture, and cheese-to-meat ratios — cheese melting into the meat yields a higher score.

      Pappas documented his adventures on Facebook, as well as his own website. As a challenge, Pappas learned to share his content for audiences on YouTube, Yelp, Instagram, and Twitter. Podcast and television hosts have joined him in the adventures as he scores the experience out of 100.

       cheesesteak is from Charlie’s Roast Pork in South Philadelphia, which hits all the notes you expect: quality meat, crispy bread that collapses on said meat, cheese melted throughout. A beer boutique next door adds to the experience.

      On Thursday, Pappas reviewed his 1000th cheesesteak at G Lodge in Phoenixville in front of a Fox 29 camera crew. It wasn’t the big event he’d hoped it would be because of coronavirus concerns — it was supposed to be a ticketed celebration with a cheesesteak-themed buffet. But if the last several years have taught Pappas anything, it’s that life isn’t what you planned.

      From checking boxes to rating cheesesteaks

      Pappas spent his life checking boxes. Pleasing his parents, having a career in financial services that made it feasible for his wife to stay home with their two daughters, paid-for weekends in Williamsburg, vacations at Disney parks. He wasn’t keeping up with the Joneses, he was the Joneses.

      Don’t get him wrong, he loved being a father and husband, yet as his children grew up he wanted to do something, anything, that could shake up his life. After he and his wife of more than two decades split, his resolve only grew.

      ADVERTISEMENT

      “I lived for my parents, I lived for my kids, let me do something for me,” he said.

      Pappas is clear-eyed about how his hobby reads to some outsiders. It’s hard for some to understand why he spends thousands on these sandwiches every year. People also worry about his health (he only eats half a sandwich and gives the other half to a homeless person, Pappas also enjoys salads for other meals).

      When asked what he does, Pappas doesn’t advertise himself as a food influencer or prescribe himself a fancy title. Though he’d like to monetize his website “Philadelphia Cheesesteak Adventure” and related social media channels, he hasn’t figured out how just yet. He tells people he drives for Uber and eats cheesesteaks on the side.

      Of course, that description is unsatisfying to some. When a former colleague jumped into Pappas’ car for an Uber ride, it was clear he couldn’t understand Pappas’ choice to leave the lucrative financial services industry.

      ADVERTISEMENT

      “I’m just laughing to myself that he’s giving me a $20 sympathy tip thinking, ‘Poor Jim, he’s down on his luck,’” said Pappas, even though the friend had spent part of the conversation complaining about the same work issues they griped about 15 years ago.

      It’s not all laughs, though. A girlfriend broke up with Pappas because his cheesesteak blog is turning out to be more than a phase.

      Though dismayed, Pappas said he’s happy. The richness his travels have brought to his life is incalculable.

      Heckled and threatened by boozy patrons a handful of times, most people don’t pay any mind to the man taking selfies with a dissected sandwich. Sometimes he ends up being an armchair therapist, a confidant.

      “When I ask people about their favorite cheesesteak, they don’t tell me about a roll of cheese and meat,” he said. “They tell me about their dad’s favorite place and where they went to after the big game. It’s all about everything else.”

      Pappas said he’s not done venturing out for a cheesesteak with a side of conversation, but he won’t be eating two of the iconic Philly sandwiches every three days as he’s been doing in recent years. He sees himself exploring the future generation of cheesesteaks that come with a new culinary flair, whether that comes in the use of nicer mushrooms or homemade beer cheese.

      For now, Pappas is getting ready for his third March Cheesesteak Madness where he lets the public, as well as judges, whittle down 64 cheesesteaks in the region to crown one winner.

      Published 
      Jan. 13, 2022
      chinese-happy.jpg
    • Cliffy6745Cliffy6745 Posts: 32,427
      https://www.inquirer.com/news/philly-cheesesteaks-jim-pappa-20220113.html

      This Delco native ate 1,000 cheesesteaks to find the best one. Along the way, Jim Pappas found himself.

      Can a cheesesteak change your life? Probably not. But as cheesy as it sounds, in a quest to find the best cheesesteak in the region, Delaware County native Jim Pappas, 58, found himself.

      Jim Pappas 56 of North Wilmington Del takes his first bite of the Brisket Cheesesteak from Mikes BBQ marking his 500th cheesesteak on Wednesday Jan 8 2020 Pappas started his cheesesteak journey in May 16 2018 and has eaten 500 cheesesteaks within 20 months The first question I get is whats your favorite then the second question I get is whats the worst Pappas said I started to realize that a lot of the cheese steaks were the same Thats when I was like you know what and I went to a place and they had a special I would get it
      Jim Pappas, 56, of North Wilmington, Del., takes his first bite of the Brisket Cheesesteak from Mike's BBQ marking his 500th cheesesteak on Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020. Pappas started his cheesesteak journey in May 16, 2018 and has eaten 500 cheesesteaks within 20 months. "The first question I get is what's your favorite, then the second question I get is what's the worst," Pappas said. "I started to realize that a lot of the cheese steaks were the same. Thats when I was like you know what, and I went to a place and they had a special. I would get it."Read moreTYGER WILLIAMS / Staff Photographer

        Can a cheesesteak change your life? Probably not. But in rating 1,000 cheesesteaks from Pennsylvania, South Jersey, and Delaware, Delaware County native Jim Pappas, 58, has found himself.

        “I’ve been to places that I’ve been driving by for 45 years, would never think to go into to get a cheesesteak, or even stop for anything other than to get diseased,” Pappas joked. “And I’ve had great times, and met great people, and had great cheesesteaks.”

        Pappas’ new lease on life began in May 2018 when he dug into a cheesesteak at Claymont Steak Shop in Delaware, his new home post-leukemia scare (in remission since 2014), divorce, and career change.

        Pappas took to a spreadsheet to gather his thoughts. It was “a good cheesesteak,” he wrote, but “just not the Claymont steaks I used to get in high school” — plenty of parking and restrooms available.


        In subsequent years, Pappas’ spreadsheet would blow up as he tried cheesesteaks in delis, pizza shops, pubs, and restaurants. The reviews would get a little longer, with notes on how the bread collapsed, moisture, and cheese-to-meat ratios — cheese melting into the meat yields a higher score.

        Pappas documented his adventures on Facebook, as well as his own website. As a challenge, Pappas learned to share his content for audiences on YouTube, Yelp, Instagram, and Twitter. Podcast and television hosts have joined him in the adventures as he scores the experience out of 100.

         cheesesteak is from Charlie’s Roast Pork in South Philadelphia, which hits all the notes you expect: quality meat, crispy bread that collapses on said meat, cheese melted throughout. A beer boutique next door adds to the experience.

        On Thursday, Pappas reviewed his 1000th cheesesteak at G Lodge in Phoenixville in front of a Fox 29 camera crew. It wasn’t the big event he’d hoped it would be because of coronavirus concerns — it was supposed to be a ticketed celebration with a cheesesteak-themed buffet. But if the last several years have taught Pappas anything, it’s that life isn’t what you planned.

        From checking boxes to rating cheesesteaks

        Pappas spent his life checking boxes. Pleasing his parents, having a career in financial services that made it feasible for his wife to stay home with their two daughters, paid-for weekends in Williamsburg, vacations at Disney parks. He wasn’t keeping up with the Joneses, he was the Joneses.

        Don’t get him wrong, he loved being a father and husband, yet as his children grew up he wanted to do something, anything, that could shake up his life. After he and his wife of more than two decades split, his resolve only grew.

        ADVERTISEMENT

        “I lived for my parents, I lived for my kids, let me do something for me,” he said.

        Pappas is clear-eyed about how his hobby reads to some outsiders. It’s hard for some to understand why he spends thousands on these sandwiches every year. People also worry about his health (he only eats half a sandwich and gives the other half to a homeless person, Pappas also enjoys salads for other meals).

        When asked what he does, Pappas doesn’t advertise himself as a food influencer or prescribe himself a fancy title. Though he’d like to monetize his website “Philadelphia Cheesesteak Adventure” and related social media channels, he hasn’t figured out how just yet. He tells people he drives for Uber and eats cheesesteaks on the side.

        Of course, that description is unsatisfying to some. When a former colleague jumped into Pappas’ car for an Uber ride, it was clear he couldn’t understand Pappas’ choice to leave the lucrative financial services industry.

        ADVERTISEMENT

        “I’m just laughing to myself that he’s giving me a $20 sympathy tip thinking, ‘Poor Jim, he’s down on his luck,’” said Pappas, even though the friend had spent part of the conversation complaining about the same work issues they griped about 15 years ago.

        It’s not all laughs, though. A girlfriend broke up with Pappas because his cheesesteak blog is turning out to be more than a phase.

        Though dismayed, Pappas said he’s happy. The richness his travels have brought to his life is incalculable.

        Heckled and threatened by boozy patrons a handful of times, most people don’t pay any mind to the man taking selfies with a dissected sandwich. Sometimes he ends up being an armchair therapist, a confidant.

        “When I ask people about their favorite cheesesteak, they don’t tell me about a roll of cheese and meat,” he said. “They tell me about their dad’s favorite place and where they went to after the big game. It’s all about everything else.”

        Pappas said he’s not done venturing out for a cheesesteak with a side of conversation, but he won’t be eating two of the iconic Philly sandwiches every three days as he’s been doing in recent years. He sees himself exploring the future generation of cheesesteaks that come with a new culinary flair, whether that comes in the use of nicer mushrooms or homemade beer cheese.

        For now, Pappas is getting ready for his third March Cheesesteak Madness where he lets the public, as well as judges, whittle down 64 cheesesteaks in the region to crown one winner.

        Published 
        Jan. 13, 2022
        Soooo I saw this.  I can hit Charlie’s with a tennis ball from my house basically. I havent had one from there in a while but last time I did I thought it was terrible. They have roast pork, but I think I like the cutlets the most. 

        Have spent plenty of time at the beer boutique, which has gone up and down but is a real good spot now that it’s owned by Charlie’s. 

        Also, it’s randomly a Cleveland browns bar. Moral of the story, either this guy has terrible taste or it’s gotten better
      • Jearlpam0925Jearlpam0925 Deep South PhillyPosts: 14,920
      • northern spiritnorthern spirit I'm not present, I'm a drug that makes you dreamPosts: 177
        edited January 21
        https://www.inquirer.com/news/philly-cheesesteaks-jim-pappa-20220113.html

        This Delco native ate 1,000 cheesesteaks to find the best one. Along the way, Jim Pappas found himself.

        Can a cheesesteak change your life? Probably not. But as cheesy as it sounds, in a quest to find the best cheesesteak in the region, Delaware County native Jim Pappas, 58, found himself.

        Jim Pappas 56 of North Wilmington Del takes his first bite of the Brisket Cheesesteak from Mikes BBQ marking his 500th cheesesteak on Wednesday Jan 8 2020 Pappas started his cheesesteak journey in May 16 2018 and has eaten 500 cheesesteaks within 20 months The first question I get is whats your favorite then the second question I get is whats the worst Pappas said I started to realize that a lot of the cheese steaks were the same Thats when I was like you know what and I went to a place and they had a special I would get it
        Jim Pappas, 56, of North Wilmington, Del., takes his first bite of the Brisket Cheesesteak from Mike's BBQ marking his 500th cheesesteak on Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020. Pappas started his cheesesteak journey in May 16, 2018 and has eaten 500 cheesesteaks within 20 months. "The first question I get is what's your favorite, then the second question I get is what's the worst," Pappas said. "I started to realize that a lot of the cheese steaks were the same. Thats when I was like you know what, and I went to a place and they had a special. I would get it."Read moreTYGER WILLIAMS / Staff Photographer

          Can a cheesesteak change your life? Probably not. But in rating 1,000 cheesesteaks from Pennsylvania, South Jersey, and Delaware, Delaware County native Jim Pappas, 58, has found himself.

          “I’ve been to places that I’ve been driving by for 45 years, would never think to go into to get a cheesesteak, or even stop for anything other than to get diseased,” Pappas joked. “And I’ve had great times, and met great people, and had great cheesesteaks.”

          Pappas’ new lease on life began in May 2018 when he dug into a cheesesteak at Claymont Steak Shop in Delaware, his new home post-leukemia scare (in remission since 2014), divorce, and career change.

          Pappas took to a spreadsheet to gather his thoughts. It was “a good cheesesteak,” he wrote, but “just not the Claymont steaks I used to get in high school” — plenty of parking and restrooms available.


          In subsequent years, Pappas’ spreadsheet would blow up as he tried cheesesteaks in delis, pizza shops, pubs, and restaurants. The reviews would get a little longer, with notes on how the bread collapsed, moisture, and cheese-to-meat ratios — cheese melting into the meat yields a higher score.

          Pappas documented his adventures on Facebook, as well as his own website. As a challenge, Pappas learned to share his content for audiences on YouTube, Yelp, Instagram, and Twitter. Podcast and television hosts have joined him in the adventures as he scores the experience out of 100.

           cheesesteak is from Charlie’s Roast Pork in South Philadelphia, which hits all the notes you expect: quality meat, crispy bread that collapses on said meat, cheese melted throughout. A beer boutique next door adds to the experience.

          On Thursday, Pappas reviewed his 1000th cheesesteak at G Lodge in Phoenixville in front of a Fox 29 camera crew. It wasn’t the big event he’d hoped it would be because of coronavirus concerns — it was supposed to be a ticketed celebration with a cheesesteak-themed buffet. But if the last several years have taught Pappas anything, it’s that life isn’t what you planned.

          From checking boxes to rating cheesesteaks

          Pappas spent his life checking boxes. Pleasing his parents, having a career in financial services that made it feasible for his wife to stay home with their two daughters, paid-for weekends in Williamsburg, vacations at Disney parks. He wasn’t keeping up with the Joneses, he was the Joneses.

          Don’t get him wrong, he loved being a father and husband, yet as his children grew up he wanted to do something, anything, that could shake up his life. After he and his wife of more than two decades split, his resolve only grew.

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          “I lived for my parents, I lived for my kids, let me do something for me,” he said.

          Pappas is clear-eyed about how his hobby reads to some outsiders. It’s hard for some to understand why he spends thousands on these sandwiches every year. People also worry about his health (he only eats half a sandwich and gives the other half to a homeless person, Pappas also enjoys salads for other meals).

          When asked what he does, Pappas doesn’t advertise himself as a food influencer or prescribe himself a fancy title. Though he’d like to monetize his website “Philadelphia Cheesesteak Adventure” and related social media channels, he hasn’t figured out how just yet. He tells people he drives for Uber and eats cheesesteaks on the side.

          Of course, that description is unsatisfying to some. When a former colleague jumped into Pappas’ car for an Uber ride, it was clear he couldn’t understand Pappas’ choice to leave the lucrative financial services industry.

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          “I’m just laughing to myself that he’s giving me a $20 sympathy tip thinking, ‘Poor Jim, he’s down on his luck,’” said Pappas, even though the friend had spent part of the conversation complaining about the same work issues they griped about 15 years ago.

          It’s not all laughs, though. A girlfriend broke up with Pappas because his cheesesteak blog is turning out to be more than a phase.

          Though dismayed, Pappas said he’s happy. The richness his travels have brought to his life is incalculable.

          Heckled and threatened by boozy patrons a handful of times, most people don’t pay any mind to the man taking selfies with a dissected sandwich. Sometimes he ends up being an armchair therapist, a confidant.

          “When I ask people about their favorite cheesesteak, they don’t tell me about a roll of cheese and meat,” he said. “They tell me about their dad’s favorite place and where they went to after the big game. It’s all about everything else.”

          Pappas said he’s not done venturing out for a cheesesteak with a side of conversation, but he won’t be eating two of the iconic Philly sandwiches every three days as he’s been doing in recent years. He sees himself exploring the future generation of cheesesteaks that come with a new culinary flair, whether that comes in the use of nicer mushrooms or homemade beer cheese.

          For now, Pappas is getting ready for his third March Cheesesteak Madness where he lets the public, as well as judges, whittle down 64 cheesesteaks in the region to crown one winner.

          Published 
          Jan. 13, 2022


          Post edited by northern spirit on
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