We’d grown tired of Chicago’s famous hotdogs; it was time for a juicy Philly cheese steak, a savory sandwich that begins with cheese (Provolone is my favorite) slathered on a freshly baked Amoroso roll (foot long is the only way to go) stuffed with thinly shaved grilled beef (preferably rib-eye or top round). I myself prefer a modest helping of grilled onions to seal the deal.
Hot dogs, by the way, are actually part of the Philly cheese steak story. Italian-Americans Pat and Harry Olivieri are most often credited with inventing this culinary classic. Seems the brothers started with a hot dog stand in Philadelphia in the 1930’s before undoubtedly growing bored (along with their customers) with the traditional tube steak. As the story goes, when a cabby stopped for a bite to eat and was presented with the brothers' new sandwich, the cabby told Pat and Harry to forget the hotdogs and stick with the cheese steak sandwich. The rest is history, as they say.
There’s no history finer when it comes to hearty food than a mom and pop establishment, preferably on the corner of Memory Lane and Budget Boulevard; one where the owners live above the diner and the prices and atmosphere reflect the good ole days. Dalessandro’s certainly fit the bill.
Jim and I joined the line forming at the end of the counter where the kitchen was located and waited our turn. I smiled, savoring the nostalgia of this quaint corner of the past tucked so efficiently into the present. We might have been strangers to Philadelphia’s Dalessandro’s in the middle of the blue collar neighborhood called Roxborough, but the sights and sounds and smells of good food and good people said, ‘Welcome. Glad you’re here.’
Bottom Line on Dalessandro’s Steaks and Hogies
Verdict: If this truly is the last Philly cheesesteak my body can stomach (food + gluten = gut wrenching) I can honestly say, what a way to go!
How to Get to Dalessandro’s in Philadelphia’s Roxborough neighborhood: From Center City (Philly proper) take I-76 W heading toward Valley Forge. Take EXIT 340A toward Lincoln Dr/Kelly Dr. Merge onto City Ave. Take the exit toward Ridge Ave West. Turn left onto Ridge Ave. Turn right onto Walnut Ln. Turn left onto Magdalena St. Take the 1st left onto Wendover St. Dalessandro’s will be at the end of the street, at the corner of Wendover Street and Henry Avenue.
Insider Information: Dalessandro’s offers domestic, imported, specialty and seasonal beers as well as gourmet sodas to wash down all that heavenly beef. Yum!