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Phamous Philadelphia Phoods!

Updated on November 16, 2014

The Top Foods That Originated in Philly!

Don't worry ~ I can spell correctly! I just get a little excited about my city! Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is a city with many beginnings in the United States! Some foods were created in the city, others were just made famous here. All regions of the world have their own food specialties, so I wanted to share some of Philadelphia's! If you are ever in Pennsylvania, make sure to stop in Philly to check out some of these delicious foods for yourself. You won't be disappointed!

Photo Thanks to Wikipedia

# 1 Philadelphia Food!

Pat's Steaks
Pat's Steaks

The Philadelphia Cheesesteak

A "must - try" food when in the city!

So, exactly what is a Philly cheesesteak? A true steak sandwich is made of rib-eye steak sliced very thin, grilled onion, mushrooms, and peppers (combo or just one veggie), melted cheese (preferably "Cheese Whiz", but provolone and American are favorites, too), all served on a long, freshly baked roll. Some people like to add ketchup, relish, or mustard on their sandwiches, also. Now imagine them with hot French fries and a soda ~ voila! You're ready to party Philly style!!

Pat's Steaks ~ According to their website, Pat's King of Steaks was "The First and The Originator of the Philly Steak and Cheese Steak"! In 1930, Pat Olivieri, hot-dog stand owner, simply wanted a unique lunch for himself. After cooking chopped beef from the local butcher on his hot dog grill, he made it into the now famous "Philly Steak" by placing it onto a roll with onions. A frequent customer of the hot dog stand wanted to give it a try, and history was made in South Philly! "Hey.....forget 'bout those hot dogs, you should sell these!" said the customer. As Pat's became popular, melted cheese and other delicious topping were added through the years to give customers a great variety. This 80 year old establishment has had many famous guests ~ Humphrey Bogart, Tony Bennett, Larry King, NYSYNC, Brian Setzer, Ed Rendell, Rachal Ray, John Kerry, John McCain, Rocky Balboa a.k.a. Sly Stallone, and President Obama have just been a few! If you visit, they are open 24/7 almost every day of the year! Watch for the "How to Order a Steak" sign that tells you the special language of ordering! Do you like yours "wit" or "witout"?

Geno Steaks ~ Right across from Pat's on 9th Street and Passyunk Avenue in South Philadelphia, you will find Geno's Steaks "The Best from South Philly"! The owners and their regular customers get very passionate about who has the "best", but I think they both taste like a little bit of heaven!! The very energetic Joey Vento started his cheesesteak domain in 1966 following in his father's footsteps with the beginnings of "Jim's Steaks". Although the menu is very similar to his rival's restaurant, Geno's does not chop their meat as does Pat's. The walls are covered with tons of celebrity photos of those who have visited and enjoyed their meal at Geno's! Some of the celebs on the walls are Oprah Winfrey, Joan Rivers, Miriah Carey, Nicholas Cage, Pat Sajak, Tony Danza, Regis, Frankie Avalon, Patti Labelle, John Ritter, Vanna White, Sir Elton John, Brian Boitano, Backstreet Boys, Kelly Clarkson, Ryan Seacrest, Tommy Lasorda, Clay Aiken, Miss America, Shaquele O'Neill, "Snapple Lady Wendy", Wayne Brady, Michelle Qwan, Ray Romano, and Sylvester Stallone, of course!!

August 2011 - Philly is saddened to hear of the death of Mr. Joey Vento of Geno's Steaks at age 71. He will be missed by many people who enjoyed his spunk, energy, and charity throughout the community.

The Cheesesteak Wars! - Geno, Pat, Tony Luke, Jim, Rick, Steve, Chickie & Pete, or ??

They are all fabulous! No matter where I go, my favorite kind is "cheese wit mushrooms"!

Have you eaten at Pat's or Geno's? - Lucky you!!

Which do you think is better?

# 2 Philadelphia Food!


Philly Soft Pretzels!

"Birthplace of the American Pretzel Industry"

The history of these tasty bread - snacks starts in Germany and France (both claim to have baked the first ones). Although different variations of pretzel history exist, they all have a few things in common. The story always talks about a monk who made the treat for children who learned their Bible verses. The dough was twisted into the shape of crossed arms or "praying arms".

Many of the German immigrants to Pennsylvania, USA brought the tradition and recipes with them in the late 1700's. The "Pennsylvania Dutch" or the "Pennsylvania Deutsch", as would properly be called, settled in central and southeast Pennsylvania. The popularity of the pretzel grew both in the hard or soft variety. Pennsylvania has been given the honor of being the "birthplace of the American pretzel industry". Many pretzel shops are all around the area. Some are only tiny stores where they are baked fresh daily, others have become large industrial factories. Many historic pretzel companies such as the Sturgis Pretzel Bakery which was the first commercial pretzel bakery in the United States since 1861 and the Anderson Pretzel Factory which began in 1889 are still operating companies! Pretzels are so big that 80% of the pretzels made in country are from Pennsylvania! Philly even had an official "Pretzel Museum" and started celebrating "National Pretzel Day" every year on April 26.

Want to try to make some at home? This Soft German Pretzels Recipe looks tasty! Great pictures and other information about the pretzel are also found. Try some variations if you like - sesame seeds, cinnamon sugar, buttered, wheat, etcetera. Dipping your pretzels is awfully tasty, also. Consider dipping in your favorite mustard, honey, or other yummy sauce.

My favorite pretzels come from the Philly Soft Pretzel Factory! It's incredible walking into the branch close to where I live! I've tried to walk past the store without stopping to get a pretzel, but I always fail. From one of the large windows to the street you will see the bakers mixing the dough or rolling and twisting it into those wonderful shapes. The yummy aroma meets you on the sidewalk pulling you closer, and before you know it -- you have a pretzel (with mustard) in your hands and a huge smile on your face!! ~ I notice on their website that they ship around the country. I'm sure they are still awesome, but I don't know how they could compare to seeing your pretzel being pulled from the oven and holding it when its soft and warm!

# 3 Philadelphia Food!

Bassett's Ice Cream
Bassett's Ice Cream

Ice Cream from Philadelphia

Once known as the "Ice Cream Capital"!

Ice cream did not originate in Philly, frozen dairy products go way back in history, but Philly put its own twist on it with a recipe without eggs that was heated before being frozen in the mid 1800's. Ice cream was considered a luxury prior to that with only the well off being able to acquire the cool treat. It is even rumored that Benjamin Franklin may have served a cold dairy snack to other leaders that were meeting in Philadelphia to help work on the Constitution. Underground and insulated ice houses that started to appear made it possible to freeze and store the ice cream for longer times. The invention of the crank - handled "artificial freezer" by a Philadelphian women in 18413 made it easier to make, also. Then along came Lewis Dubois Bassett! He first made his ice cream in 1861 in his backyard with the help of a huge mule-turned churn! He moved his business into the center of Philadelphia a little over 20 years later, and found a permanent home for his ice cream company at the Reading Terminal Market in 1893 where it is still operating today by the 5th generation of the Bassett family! Bassett's Ice Cream ~ America's Oldest Ice Cream Company has branched out into numerous locations in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, and other locations.

Click for Bassett's Coloring Page.

Another famous ice cream maker, William Breyer, started making his delicious ice cream in 1866 in Philadelphia. When each batch of ice cream was ready to serve, Breyer's team of drivers delivered the treat to customers via horse - drawn carriages!

The Jack & Jill Ice Cream Company began in 1929 by Mickey Schwartz. Another business man with humble beginnings, Schwartz first his ice cream by selling it on the street carried in a wooden box. Jack & Jill uses special delivery ice cream trucks to be their ice cream shop on wheels taking tasty snacks to delighted neighborhood kids. Mickey's grandson, Ken, is running the company today. Their ice cream is distributed all throughout the mid-Atlantic United States area.

# 4 Philadelphia Food!

Tastykake ~ Tasty Baking Company

The Tastykake Company began in Philadelphia in the year 1914 when Herbert Morris and Phillip Baur started baking cakes with all fresh ingredients. When Mrs. Morris tried them for the first time, she described them as being "tasty" which led to their current company name. The team of bakers sold 280 cakes for $.10 apiece on the first day alone. Sales and popularity grew quickly helping the company to become larger. Now, close to their 100 year anniversary, they make 4.8 million baked treats per day and sell $280 million dollars of products annually! A 'fun fact' from their website that I thought you might enjoy ~ "If one chicken were to lay all of the eggs used for one day of production at Tastykake, it would take that chicken 572 years to lay enough eggs." ~ Poor chicken!!

# 5 Philadelphia Food!

"The Mushroom Capital of the World" - in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania

Reading Terminal Market
Reading Terminal Market

Reading Terminal Market

The "Farmers Market" in the City Plus More Goodies!

A Shop in Philly's Italian Market
A Shop in Philly's Italian Market

The Italian Market in South Philly

Great Place to Find Produce, Baked Goods, and Specialty Foods!


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