Wit or Witout?

Today is National Cheesesteak Day. “Every March 24 America pays tribute to one of the all-time classic sandwiches — the cheesesteak. Much like national liberty itself, the cheesesteak is elegant, necessary, pure, and was born in Philadelphia. The cheesesteak rose from humble beginnings in South Philly to the cultural icon it is today: safely secure in the sandwich hall of fame.” (https://nationaltoday.com/national-cheesesteak-day/).

Being a Philly native, I have had my share of debates over who serves the best cheesesteaks in the area. Most notable is the rivalry between Pat’s King of Steaks (established 1930) and Geno’s Steaks (established 1966); the two venues are situated on opposite corners of 9th St. and Passyunk Ave. I have had them both, and I prefer Geno’s. But not all great cheesesteak joints are in South Philly. I have fond memories of having cheesesteaks with my Roxborough relatives from Dalessandro’s Steaks and Hoagies on the corner of Wendover St. and Henry Ave. Of course, some of my Philly friends will tell me to mention Tony Luke’s, Steve Prince of Steaks, or some other sandwich shop but that could make my post go on forever. Did you know there is a Facebook page dedicated to rating cheesesteaks?

If you are a true South Philly regular you know how to order your cheesesteak just the way you like it without holding up the line. Here are some pointers.

How to order a cheesesteak
“A cheesesteak wit,” is what you say if you want onions.

“A cheesesteak witout,” is what you say if you don’t want onions. (You can also order your cheesesteak “with onions” or “without onions” and nobody will mind.)

At some places, you may be asked to specify whether you want American cheese, provolone, or Whiz. Don’t ask for Swiss cheese. Presidential candidate John Kerry made that mistake.

Don’t ask for rare, medium-rare, or medium. All cheesesteaks are well-done.

So, for example, you might order “One Whiz, wit (or witout)”; “One American, wit (or witout)”; or “One provolone, wit (or witout)” (https://www.inquirer.com/philly-tips/how-to-order-philly-cheesesteak-20210609.html)

You may think you have eaten a “Philly” cheesesteak before, but unless you have eaten it in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, what you had was just an imposter!


7 thoughts on “Wit or Witout?

  1. Rita, thank you for this post. I prefer Geno’s myself, and mine is always an American witout. I went to Ursinus College, so I was roughly a monthly customer when my friends and I drove to Philly. Getting hungry for one now.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I lived across the river from Philadelphia for 2 years as an impressionable teenager…and LOVE Philly cheese steaks. We always had grilled onions and provolone cheese on them. I was stunned when I heard they were made with cheese whiz! While in Philly a couple of years ago we tried one in Indep. Square at ‘Mama’s’ cart and it was everything I loved and remembered. This was a fun trip down memory lane.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This post had me laughing out loud. We love our Philly foods. Great job with this, Rita. I especially liked how you ended it. Now I’m yearning for a cheese steak, but they are not the same on the gluten-free roll I need to eat it on.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I haven’t had a cheesesteak since moving to Central PA 12 years ago. I decided I needed to change that soon so I started seeking out places that have gluten-free buns. I found one. It’s called Joe’s Steaks and Soda Shop. They have two locations: Fishtown and Torresdale. Have you been to either of them?

    Liked by 1 person

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