My favorite cheesesteak in Philly is not from one of the Pantheon of names such as Pat’s, Geno’s, Jim’s, etc… rather it is from Rocco’s, situated in front of the Home Depot on Columbus Boulevard. I was skeptical of the claims of the quality of these steaks until I tried one myself.
What separates these steaks from the rest is both the size and volume of said sandwich, but most importantly the application of the cheese. Rather than putting slices on top of the assembled hoagie, the cheese is draped over the elongated pile of cooked meat, onions, and peppers while on the grill. The final step is placing the split hoagie roll on top of the sandwich fillings and while still on the grill, thus building the sandwich “upside down.” The entire creation is then flipped over and wrapped. This cheese application creates a barrier of melty provolone preventing meat juices from soaking into the roll, ensuring a never soggy meal. Though this is a subtle trick, but is rarely duplicated, and is my mark of a “real” Philly Cheese Steak.
When people came to visit and they wanted a cheese steak, I knew just the place to go. Though initially they may be dismayed with my decision of steering clear of the big names, we avoided the long lines, and would find ample parking in the spacious lot. Furthermore, they enjoyed to top-notch cheese steak, while patronizing an establishment where “real” Philadelphians eat.