Philly Native Calls Carl’s Best Cheesesteak in NYC

Grub Street took Philadelphia native and cheesesteak lover Joey Campanaro (Little Owl) on a tour of Manhattan’s cheesesteak purveyors, and when the dust cleared Carl’s Steaks (with a location on 3rd Ave. and 34th St. ) was victorious. More surprising than the Carl’s victory was the fact that Shorty’s came in 5th out of 7 places. Shorty’s, which is located on 9th Ave. btw. 41+42nd used to be an outpost of the famed “Tony Luke’s” in Philly until they got sick of paying the royalties for the name. You would think they would have learned a thing or two about making a cheesesteak in that time (although in fairness, ML commenters have said that their pork sandwiches with broccoli rabe are where it’s at.) Also included in the list, Philly Slim’s (on 9th Ave. and 53rd) and 99 Miles to Philly (52nd & 2nd)

Related: Carl’s Steaks is a Greasy Mess (And I Mean That in the Best Possible Way)


  • Opinions are like assholes : everybody’s got one

    Cheesesteak opinions seems particularly prone to assholery.

  • wow wayne tell us what you really think?
    im a carl’s fan so uh, good for carl’s! yeah!

  • I live right around the corner from Carl’s. No doubt it is the tops.

  • There’s no question this native Philly dude was right on target here…as in, NO QUESTION

  • Comments appear to be disabled on the falafel thread, so I’ll say here that I continue to be amazed at the love that Moshe’s Falafel Cart gets. His mix is pure breading with barely any flavor and he doesn’t even offer hummus.
    It’s cheap and it’s fast, but it ain’t special.

  • How about this for some assholery:

    I grew up in South Philly in the 70′s on Passyunk Ave. Cheese Whiz on a cheesesteak is an abomination that, frankly, I’ve never ever seen anyone order outside of a tourist. I’ve seen most Philadelphians order provolone. And most people also pronounce “with” properly. But, hey, we can’t all be Sopranos.

  • Oster, you are hereby commended for your lack of assholery. Excellent opinion.

  • @DDR – Sorry about that. I turned the falafel comments back on.

  • I’m from Philly as well and can happily contradict both Oster and the dude from NY Mag. Real Phlladelphians do indeed order Whiz on their steaks and a lot of them do drop the last consonant or syllable in ever other word they speak. As for the NY Mag dude, Jim’s is dry and shitty, which is what you get when you dice it up into a thousand pieces and huge mounds on grill and let it sit there for three hours at a time.

    Good steaks can be found at Pat’s, Geno’s and Tony Luke’s anytime.

  • man that thing is greasy. what i like about the cheese whiz is that velvety consistency that is… not found in nature. But whatever. And I wish the would smear it on one side of the roll, that way each bite has equal chance of being graced by the smooth wiz. Otherwise the wiz is at the bottom and some bites are dominated by the wizziness and others by beefiness.

    onions are nice, get it with onions.

  • Danny, that’s how they’re prepared in Philly, with the whiz smeared on the inside of the roll. I can’t understand why so many places in NYC that purport to be authentic can fuck up something so simple and essential.

  • just went to carl’s for lunch, my coworkers loved the original cheesesteaks. i don’t eat beef so i had the chicken cheesesteak and was slightly dissappointed…it was so dry and not enough cheese…

    sigh, anyone know where i can get a good chicken cheesesteak ?

  • I have wonderful news!! My granddaughter was just yesterday crowned “Little Miss Petit Jean Ham 2008!”

    My wife and I will have a special surprise for her during her next supervised visit with us.

    Reading this thread gave me a great idea: Steak Umms smothered in Cheez Whiz. Perfect for an 8 year old, don’t you think?

  • Hey DocChuckles!

    How’s your wife like working in prisons?

    Just curious!


    Ben NMtaB

  • My wife breeds litters of show-quality dachshunds here in our Maryland townhome, if that interests you. She no longer works in a correctional facility.

  • ben, you must be a tourist from the burbs then! ;)

    All kidding aside, I’m sure some Philadelphians do order the whiz, but if you’re saying that *most* of them do, I very much disagree. As far as people who say “wit”, they’re still a minority to the people who say it properly.

  • My favorite Shorty’s story involves ordering 2 roast pork italians with raub and prov to go, getting home (in Jersey) and opening the sandwiches to find they were missing something… THE ROAST PORK!

    I don’t hold a grudge, but havn’t been back since. Almost worth it for the story, stupidest thing I’ve ever encountered food wise.

  • Really DocChuckles?

    And what about your “May-December relationship should that interest you”? If you’re 66 and she’s 53 isn’t that more of October-December deal? I think I’m being generous with the October part too!


    Ben NMtaB

  • My wife is a young and vibrant woman, with a keen intellect, and an impeccable sense of style. She is capable of so many things. I wish I had not wasted so much time and money on wife #1.

    Her dog-breeding business is going gangbusters, even in this economy. There will be litters and litters of miniature dachshunds with red bows around their necks gracing the Christmas trees of the Baltimore area this year, thanks to her.

  • Oster, I never said most, only that native Philadelphians DO order whiz. I’m not sure I would venture on a %.

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