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Amazing Cheesesteak Facts

Did you know ...

  • Cheesesteak… that a cheesesteak, also known as a Philadelphia cheesesteak, Philly cheesesteak, or steak and cheese, is a sandwich made from thinly sliced pieces of steak and melted cheese in a long roll?

  • … that the cheesesteak is one of the favorite foods of the city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.


  • … that the cheesesteak was developed in the early 20th century "by combining frizzled beef, onions, and cheese in a small loaf of bread," according to a 1987 exhibition catalog published by the Library Company of Philadelphia and the Historical Society of Pennsylvania?

  • … that Philadelphians Pat and Harry Olivieri are often credited with inventing the sandwich by serving chopped steak on hoagie rolls in the early 1930s?

  • … that the Pat and Harry Olivieri began selling this variation of steak sandwiches at their hot dog stand near south Philadelphia's Italian Market?

  • … that they became so popular that Pat opened up his own restaurant which still operates today as Pat's King of Steaks?

  • … that the sandwich was originally prepared without cheese and Olivieri claims provolone cheese was first added by Joe "Cocky Joe" Lorenza, a manager at the Ridge Avenue location?

  • … that Pat's and Geno's Steaks have a highly publicized rivalry and they are located across the street from each other on 9th Street and Passyunk Avenue in South Philadelphia?

  • … that cheesesteaks have become popular in restaurants, cafeterias and food carts throughout the city with many locations being independently owned family run businesses?

  • … that variations of cheesesteaks are now common in several fast food chains and versions of the sandwich can also be found in locations ranging from bars to high-end restaurants.


  • … that the meat traditionally used is thinly sliced rib-eye or top round although other types are also used?

  • … that on a lightly oiled griddle at medium temperature, the steak slices are quickly browned and then scrambled into smaller pieces with a flat spatula?

  • … that often, the steak is placed on top of already slightly fried onions to prevent overcooking and thicker slices are also sometimes used?

  • … that some vendors forgo the chopping, serving their sandwiches with the slices of steak in whole form?

  • … that some locations preparing several sandwiches at once will griddle the steak in a large pile, chopping and flipping the steak with a large metal spatula until cooked to a light brown?

  • … that the thicker pieces of steak, due to their need to be cooked more thoroughly, will be set in a single layer on the griddle and flipped until brown?.

  • … that a cheesesteak may include other optional ingredients such as fried onions, sautιed bell peppers, and mushrooms?

  • … that some menus include mayonnaise, hot sauce, ketchup, or pizza sauce (a Pizza Steak, often with mozzarella as the cheese)?


  • … that in Philadelphia most cheesesteak places use Amoroso or Vilotti-Pisanelli rolls?

  • … that one source writes that "a proper cheesesteak consists of provolone or Cheez Whiz slathered on an Amoroso roll and stuffed with thinly shaved grilled meat," while a reader's letter to an Indianapolis magazine, lamenting the unavailability of good cheesesteaks, wrote that "the mention of the Amoroso roll brought tears to my eyes?"

  • … that after commenting on the debates over types of cheese and "chopped steak or sliced," Risk and Insurance magazine declared "The only thing nearly everybody can agree on is that it all has to be piled onto a fresh, locally baked Amoroso roll?"


  • … that White American cheese, provolone, and Cheez Whiz are the most commonly used cheeses?

  • … that Cheez Whiz, first marketed in 1952, was not yet available for the original 1930 version but is now a common option?

  • … that a 1986 New York Times article called Cheez Whiz "the sine qua non of cheesesteak connoisseurs?"

  • … that in a 1985 interview, Pat Olivieri's nephew Frank Olivieri said that he uses "the processed cheese spread familiar to millions of parents who prize speed and ease in fixing the children's lunch for the same reason, because it is fast?"

  • … that American cheese - generally of the pasteurized process cheese variety - is a favorite due to its mild flavor and medium consistency?

  • … that some places pre-melt the American cheese to achieve the creamy consistency, while others just put freshly cut slices over the meat, letting it melt slightly under the heat?

  • … that Provolone is also popular and one Los Angeles reporter claimed that "provolone is the cheesesteak cheese, preferably an extra-sharp provolone with a distinctly savage bite?"

  • … that the proprietor of Geno's considers provolone or American cheese more authentic, but on Pat's introduction of Cheese Whiz it quickly became a "topping of choice?"

  • … that during his presidential campaign in 2003, John Kerry was ridiculed for attempting to order the sandwich with Swiss cheese and a food critic for the Philadelphia Inquirer explained: "In Philadelphia, that’s an alternative lifestyle"?


  • … that a cheesesteak made with chicken is called a chicken cheesesteak or "chicken philly" and a variation with buffalo wing sauce and blue cheese dressing is called a buffalo chicken cheesesteak?

  • … that a steak sandwich topped with pizza sauce and sliced or crumbled mozzarella constitutes a pizza steak, which is often placed briefly in a pizza oven or under a broiler to melt and lightly brown the cheese; however, some establishments offer sliced pepperoni as an optional topping, to make a pepperoni pizza steak?
    … that another variation is the "cheesesteak hoagie", which contains lettuce and tomato and often mayonnaise?

  • … that the Lehigh Valley region of Pennsylvania is also known for its own style of steaks and typically, these feature not Cheese Whiz but rather a special tomato-based "steak sauce," onions, pickles, and peppers?

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