The Unvegan

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Old Western Lasagna at Italian Grotto
Old Meets New at Kingo Bowl
It’s a Pita Jungle Out There
Eating Like a Sconnie at Culver’s

‘Cheese Steaks’

Getting Laid Over at Tony Luke’s

Thank you Philly.
Thank you Philly.

Layovers are never fun. And I don’t mean the extended layovers that give you time to leave the airport to explore a city. I mean the layovers where you are just stuck in an airport waiting for a connecting flight. Yet, amidst that suck a lot of airports have begun to move away from only offering crappy fast food and overly expensive generic sports bar food. One of these places is Philly’s F Terminal, where a cheesesteak spot going by the name of Tony Luke’s can be found.

A Poor Substitute at DiBella’s

Yikes.
Yikes.

Apparently Winghart’s in Downtown Pittsburgh’s Market Square had itself a bit of a fire problem. Unfortunately I didn’t realize this when I wen down to try one of their famous burgers. Yet, having made the trek already I ended up eating at DiBella’s, an “old fashioned” sub place. I could imagine that it was a pretty popular lunch spot, but at night it was completely dead.

Invented by Pat’s King of Steaks

Chop shop.
Chop shop.

In the battle of Geno’s versus Pat’s there doesn’t seem to be much of a dispute about who created the famous Philly cheesesteak. That honor belongs to Pat’s King of Steaks, the second stop in my late-night journey to the vaunted food tourism spot. Situated quite literally across the street from Geno’s, Pat’s serves up cheesesteaks at the exact same price to ensure that any taste-tester is not biased by such a thing.

A Cheesesteak Battle at Geno’s Steaks

The start of something good.
The start of something good.

I’m not sure any first-time trip to Philly is worthwhile without a trip to Pat’s and Geno’s. Yes, I realize that they probably attract more tourists than locals, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are bad. Yes, I also realize that this wasn’t my first trip to Philly, but the only other time I set foot in the city was long before I became a meat blogger and I was snowed in the whole time anyway. So, yeah, I feel confident in saying it wasn’t worthwhile. I began my taste test with Geno’s for no other reason aside from that spot being where my taxi dropped me off.

A Royal Welcome at Steve’s Prince of Steaks

Blurred lines.
Blurred lines.

Arriving in Philly late at night, I was in need of cheesesteak. Of course, anyone with a right mind would want such a thing when arriving in Philly, but finding myself downtown and only looking for a place in walking distance, I opted for Steve’s Prince of Steaks. To outsiders, Steve’s doesn’t have the allure of Pat’s or Geno’s, but locals seem to like the place.

A Better Sequel at Stack’d II (REBRANDED)

They said it couldn't be done.
They said it couldn’t be done.

EDIT: Stack’d II quickly became The Ave which quickly became the Tipsy Cow. Gone are the sandwiches, but you can read about the Tipsy Cow here.

While the list of great sequels is quite short, a few stand out. And joining the ranks of X-Men 2 and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: The Secret of the Ooze is Stack’d II (hopefully someday they’ll update their site to include this). As you may recall, I once paid a visit to Stack’d in Shadyside, a build-your-own burger concept that found success on sales of beer, keeping their burgers cheap and not by the quality of burgers being pumped out. In fact, this was so successful that they made a sequel that swapped burgers for cheesesteaks.

Great Even Late at Big Nick’s Too

Diced pizza.
Diced pizza.

The city that never sleeps wouldn’t be the city that never sleeps without late-night food. And on the Upper West Side, the late night eating options seem to be pretty limited. Yet, there is Big Nick’s Too (the sequel to Big Nick’s, although the original has since left this earth), a pizza, sandwich, burger and countless other things restaurant. The menu is, in fact kind of dizzying, but we were guided by the bro-in-law and his soon-to-be wife.

Unvegan Bliss at Fat Sal’s Deli

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Best parking lot stand ever.

Sometimes you find a restaurant that seems like it was made just for you. I don’t mean that everything tastes good, or you go there regularly. No, I mean that you look at the menu and get the impression that the chef was thinking of you when they came up with every dish on it. That’s the feeling Fat Sal’s Deli (which isn’t really a deli) gave me when I first looked upon their menu.

Getting Whizzed at Bera’s Custom Cheese Steaks (CLOSED)

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Love the maize and blue colors.

One day outside of my work, a new truck appeared. It was called Bera’s Custom Cheese Steaks and since the best cheese steak I’ve ever eaten came from a food truck, I thought Bera’s was definitely worth a try. They have a surprisingly robust menu for a cheese steak truck, ranging from Thai Chicken Steak to Stromboli Steak. But as good as some of these looked, I was thinking more about the “Custom” in their truck name.

Philadelphia Sandwiches Without the Philadelphia

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Enough with the bread already.

In North Hollywood there is a little sandwich place with a ’50s theme called Philadelphia Sandwiches. I’m not sure how Elvis and cheese steaks are related (unless it’s a fluffernutter cheese steak), but somehow they have managed to coexist since the sandwich shop was started in the ’80s. Specializing in Philly Cheese Steaks, I figured the place at least deserved a shot at meaty glory.