Sidewalk Cheesesteaks on MLK Way

Good Bite

The most widely accepted origin of the cheesesteak comes courtesy of Andrew F. Smith, food historian, educator and author of The Oxford Companion to American Food and Drink. By his expert calculations, the first cheesesteak was made in Philadelphia by hot dog stand owners Pat and Harry Olivieri in 1933. The story goes that the brothers were making themselves a cheap lunch when a cab driver and regular customer smelled the grilled steak and onions. It was an instant hit and the brothers would end up saving enough money to open a brick and mortar restaurant selling the same sandwich, eventually adding melted provolone cheese.

This same industriousness—and comforting flavor—exists at C & D’s Sandwich Shop on MLK Way. Operating out of a food truck, the sandwich purveyor offers a bevy of submarines overflowing with griddled goodness, but the cheesesteak serves as the safest path to meat and cheese nirvana. Chopped and griddle-seared beef gets tossed with any combination of onions, mushrooms, bell peppers or even broccoli, with a dash of salt and pepper sprinkled on before being topped with slices of provolone cheese. Once melted, the goopy meaty scramble gets scooped into a soft hoagie roll just like at Pat’s King of Steaks in South Philly and wrapped in the aluminum foil garb of any worthy street food. And when owner-operator Samantha Koch asks if you’d like to add some homemade lemonade, the answer is yes, always yes.

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