Explore Philadelphia

Philly Originals

The cheesesteak is the quintessential Philly comfort food. It’s easy to love grilled, thinly sliced rib-eye steak served on a long crusty roll, “wit’” fried onions, and “wit’ Whiz”—that is, doused in a slather of bright orange Cheese Whiz (provolone is a respectable option, too). Longtime South Philly rivals Pat’s (1237 East Passyunk Ave., 215.468.1546)—which claims to have invented the sandwich in the 1930s—and Geno’s (1219 South 9th St., 215.389.0659) are open 24/7 and serve plenty of fans. Jim’s (400 South St., 215.928.1911) on South Street typically has lines out the door along with plenty of seats upstairs and down. Many folks swear by John’s Roast Pork (14 Snyder Ave., 215.463.1951), where a James Beard Award-winning roast pork sandwich is served. Any food lover will revel in a visit to one of the nation’s oldest public markets: Reading Terminal Market (12th & Arch sts., 215.922.2317), a downtown icon since 1893. Sure, there are more cheesesteaks to be had (Carmen’s Famous, 215.592.7799), but there’s so much more. Head to the Dutch Eating Place (215.922.0425) for a breakfast of eggs and scrapple—the peppery ground pork and cornmeal dish that tastes best when it’s extra crispy. The market’s Pennsylvania General Store (800.545.4891), owned by Michael and Julie Hoohan, is the spot for all things Philly and Pennsylvania, from souvenirs, books and T-shirts to yummy locally made treats like Tastykake Butterscotch Krimpets—a Philly baking tradition since 1914—Melrose Diner Butter Cookies, Asher’s Keystone Crunch and Goldenberg’s Peanut Chews.

Beth D’Addono