Philly Cheese Steaks

Some of the greatest entrepreneurial inspirations have centered around food. You’ve probably heard the story of the ice cream vendor who ran out of cups one day and rolled up a waffle to hold the ice cream – thus the ice cream cone was born. But do you know the story of the Philadelphia Cheese Steak?

Back in 1930 Pat Olivieri had a modest hot dog stand in the Italian Market of south Philadelphia (can you picture Sylvester Stallone as Rocky running though the narrow streets before dawn crowded with leftover produce?) He was bored with eating his own hot dogs every day (a frightening thought) & whipped up a new recipe by sending for some chopped meat from the butcher. He cooked it on his hot dog grill, stuck it into an Italian roll & threw on some onions. (the cheese came later) A passing cab driver who ate Pat’s hot dogs every day asked him what he was eating & wanted one. The Philadelphia cheese steak was born.

Pat’s Steaks on the corner of 9th & Passyunk in south Philly is still owned by the Olivieri family. I spent many late evenings in the mid 1980s conducting scientific taste tests between Pat’s & their in-your-face competitor across the street Geno’s. Just like you always ask a Chicagoan if they are a Cubs or White Sox fan, you always ask a Philadelphian if they prefer Pat’s or Geno’s. For me, it’s definitely Pat’s!

And make certain you order properly. For me, it’s “mushroom cheese wit, point five”.

Taste buds inspiring a small business – I dig that, a LOT!

Pat’s Cheese Steak recipe

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