The Philly-style Cheesesteaks in Tri-Cities You Need to Try
Growing up outside of Philadelphia, cheesesteaks were available on nearly corner. Every pizza place, sandwich shop, and restaurant had one on their menu. It's a part of the fabric, and food culture, of the Philadelphia area.
Until about a decade ago, you were hard pressed to find a good cheesesteak, let alone a cheesesteak period, outside of a few States on the East Coast. The Philly staple has grown in popularity and can be found in a number of places in the Tri-Cities.
What is a Cheesteak?
Simply put, it is sliced or chopped beef on a roll topped with cheese and usually green peppers and onions. The culinary delight was brought in to being, legend has it, by Pat Olivieri and his brother Harry in the early 1930's. Pat would go on to start his own restaurant known worldwide as "Pat's King of Steaks"
I decided with enough of places serving them in Tri-Cites, I'd do my own tour and guide you towards the best bets in town. I did set some ground rules though, as I wanted this to be a real "Mom and Pop" experience as so many places in the Philly area are. No franchises or chains and no restaurants with more than one location in town.
There are certain things that need to be met to make a great cheesesteak:
- The roll has to have a firm outer shell and cut hinged to best hold the contents
- How the meat, veggies, and cheese blend together to create the flavor
- NO MAYO...EVER
Brother's Cheesteaks off Gage Blvd in Kennewick
Full disclosure...I've been a fan of Brother's since they were in downtown Pasco. The new location in Kennewick is right across from Costco and offers the opportunity to eat in instead of strictly takeout. The Cheesesteak was fantastic! The combination of flavors was great and the red peppers instead of green added a nice twist to the profile. The steak was also seasoned perfectly and the roll was firm and hinged holding the contents the way I expected.
Foodies in Columbia Park in Kennewick
First, I'm thrilled Foodies is back open in Kennewick. Great food is a hallmark of theirs, but the new location next to the golf course by the river is a great atmosphere. When ordering I had to hold the garlic aioli, I'm sure it's good, but no mayo on cheesteaks. The flavor profile was typical Foodies, incredible! Extra points for using prime rib and the provolone is one of the best cheeses to choose for a cheeseteak. The roll was the only drawback, while firm enough, it was sliced through like a dip instead of being hinged.
Italiano's on Bombing Range Rd in West Richland
I've probably had Italiano's cheesesteak more than any other in town. The roll is perfectly cut and crisped to hold the contents. They take the steak up a notch by using marinated black angus. The add mushrooms to the mix with onions and red and green peppers. They use mozzarella for the cheeses (my personal go to) which seamlessly brings the meat and veggies together.
MaGill's at RD 68 and Argent in Pasco
The steak was marinated and seasoned very well. The green peppers and onions had a little crunch, which isn't normally the case, but worked for this Cheesesteak. MaGill's could offer one thing no one else could, Cougar Gold cheese. It definitely took the sandwich to another level. The only knock on this Cheesesteak was the roll. It was too soft for the sandwich and the contents would fall out on to the plate.
Sageport Grille on Columbia Park Trail in Richland
The Sageport has always been known for it's breakfast, but when I saw they had a Philly cheesesteak, I needed to try it. Sageport gives you the option to build your own, so I went with my standard of green peppers, onions, and mushrooms. unfortunately, they were out of mozzarella so I went with American and it worked out great. The steak was thinly sliced roast beef and had good flavor. The roll was firm enough but was cut through like a dip on one half and hinged on the other.
I listed the restaurants alphabetically, not in order of personal preference. I tried more than five, but these five are the Tri-Cities area Philly-style Cheesteaks I think you'll enjoy the most.
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Gallery Credit: Jen Austin