When Tom and I went to Philadelphia for the day, we had to sample some of the local cheesesteak sandwiches. We asked Jackie, our daughter-in-law who grew up near Philadelphia, which one was the best. She said any that served real Philly Cheesesteaks. Well, that narrows it down. After a little research on TripAdvisor and asking a few ranger friends, we settled on Sonnys Famous Cheesesteaks. Sonnys had the advantage of being within walking distance of Independence Hall as well as being highly recommended.
Philly Cheesesteak has been a tradition since the 1930’s. Most people agree that the cheesesteak was “invented” by a hot dog stand owner who started grilling beef. Cheese was added sometime in the 1940’s. Cheese Whiz became a staple topping in the 1950’s. Most Philly cheesesteak sandwiches have sliced beef, cheese or Cheese Whiz, and grilled onions or peppers. Sometimes the onions are breaded and fried.
Sonnys Famous Cheesesteaks is a small, no-frills shop. You stand in line to order and then find a table after you pick up your order. The grill and workers are located in a small space behind glass. They work in a delicate ballet of movement because they are all super busy and the space is very small. You can watch them work while you wait in line.
I stood in line for close to 20 minutes to order our sandwiches, and this was before the line got long. The shop was packed and Tom scooped up a place to sit as soon as one became available. I enjoyed the wait in line because I liked watching the workers prepare the sandwiches. Two men on the grill, two men putting on ingredients and wrapping sandwiches, and one woman taking orders and putting the orders together.
I ordered one loaded cheesesteak with provolone cheese. Tom and I figured the sandwich was high enough in sodium without the “wiz.” The loaded sandwich came with grilled onions, peppers, and mushrooms. I also ordered some fries for us to share. By the time I got over to Tom with our sandwich, we were both pretty hungry.
The sandwich was delicious with all the parts melted together. The flavors flowed into one another – juicy but not messy. The fries were also good, but not the star that the sandwich was. Tom and I split a sandwich because they were about 12″ long and that seemed like too much. This was we had room for dessert, if we should find a likely spot. When we left, we had to fight to get out through the door. The line was now curving around the block.
Sonnys Famous Cheesesteaks was an excellent place to sample Philly Cheesesteak. It was convenient to Independence Hall and delicious. We felt like we ate in an authentic Philly Cheesesteak establishment.