I had the privilege to visit Philadelphia this week to see a friend, and the first thing I knew I had to do was get a Philly cheesesteak.
Growing up, Philly cheesesteaks were kind of a big deal in my house, even though my parents are not even from Philadelphia. It’s just one of those sandwiches that majority of people seem to love. And what’s not to love about it? It’s thinly-sliced, tender beef doused in grilled onions, pepper, mushrooms (if desired), and smothered in cheese. The thought of it makes my mouth water!
So my friend and I had one question: where is the best place to get a Philly cheesesteak? It seems that each street boasted the best namesake hoagie in the city. Even food carts had their fair share of bragging rights. We turned to our trusty Yelp app to help us find a place.
Initially, we were going to go to a different place a few doors down but off the bat I didn’t have a good feeling about it. It definitely felt like a “hipster” place with stark white walls and black letters to contrast. The line was long, so I suggested we go to a place that looked like more of a mom-and-pop, diner place called Campo’s Deli in Old City.
We knew it was going to be good because the line stretched out towards the door. I paid no attention to the other menu items because I went straight for the cheesesteaks. Something that struck me was how many ways you can have this hoagie prepared. Some of the sandwiches are topped with broccoli rabe, cream cheese, or pizza toppings. Definitely not what I expected because when my mom would create Philly cheesesteaks at home, she insisted that they only be topped with caramelized onions and peppers and Cheez Whiz. Naturally, I ordered “The Works,” which includes those toppings, mushrooms, and choice of Cheez Whiz, provolone or American cheese.
The reason why I did not make this into a restaurant review was because this was my very first authentic Philly cheesesteak. And it was nothing short of amazing. What stood out most was how soft the bread was! It was not a tough as a grocery-bought hero/hoagie/sub. This melted the way a piece of freshly baked bread does in your mouth. Then mixed with the meat and toppings, it all blended so perfectly. Bread is such a key component to any sandwich because it holds everything together. Soft bread made this hoagie so much more enjoyable than other heros/hoagies I’ve had in the past. I also ordered my sandwich with provolone, which gave it a nice creaminess.
As I did my research afterwards, I learned that Campo’s was featured on Food Network, AOL City Guides, and all of these other awards. Like I said before, this may have been my first authentic Philly cheesesteak, but I can definitely see what all of the hype is about with this particular hoagie. Especially because of the bread. I can’t stop stressing how great it was! I highly recommend this place. And if you’re not based in Philly, take advantage of their shipping menu. The next time I’m in Philly, I want to try a different place just to compare. But this was a great starting point and set my Philly cheesesteak bar pretty high.