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Dining out and in - 2011 Readers' Choice

The ballots poured in and the readers have selected their favorites in 40 categories ranging from wings to cannolis and from happy hour to tradition. The votes have been tallied, so here are the best of South Philly in 2011:

By Bill Gelman, Joseph Myers, Erica J. Minutella and Alvaro Balderas
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 3 | Posted Mar. 17, 2011

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Cheesesteak icons Geno's Steaks is No. 1 for South Philadelphians looking for the best steak around.

The star among its stars

Stroll over to Geno’s Steaks, 1219 S. Ninth St., and you’ll quickly notice an endless photo array of the who’s who of Hollywood. There’s Sylvester Stallone, Oprah Winfrey, Nicolas Cage among many others. But when the big name stars stop by this Italian Market landmark, they take a back seat to the A-list headliner: The cheesesteak. The co-stars of this show are the cheese (wiz, provolone or American) and french fries. Whether they like it wit’ or wit’out (that would be fried onions to the out-of-towners), there is no doubt this 45-year-old, 24/7 institution continues to be the king among kings when it comes to the Readers’ Choice winner for best cheesesteak .

Although the competition was fierce in this meaty battle, Geno’s keeps the crown for the sixth year running. What could be bad? The institution has a staple of simple ingredients that keeps customers coming back for more. It starts with some thinly sliced rib-eye steak, topped with a little melted cheese of choice that is neatly tucked into oven-fresh baked bread. If needed, other condiments can be added at the self-serve topping bar.

Now that it’s getting warmer out, be patient as the ordering line could wrap around the block. If you want to speed up the process, be prepared to order the moment you’re called to the window. Many around these parts will proclaim the sandwich is well worth the wait.

Jim’s Steaks and Phillip’s Steaks heated up the grill to deadlock in a second-place tie.

 

Sliced right

As the city where the stacked-sandwich originated, no one knows hoagies better than Philadelphians. And according to locals, no one knows the Italian hoagie better than PrimoHoagies , 1528 Ritner St., recognized as the best in its specialty for the third year in a row.

“I think it’s about the way the guys make the hoagies,” manager Audrey Neigre said on why she feels PrimoHoagies has been recognized so consistently. “They concentrate on making them, and they do it the same every time.”

Primo’s basic Italian hoagie consists of a flavorful mix of prosciutto, provolone cheese, hot capacola and natural casing genoa salami. Although business is generally slower in the beginning of the week, it quickly picks up as the end of the week and the weekend approaches, with a lot of orders coming in from the Navy Yard.

Nakai Varalli, of the 800 block of Ellsworth Street, is a frequent customer at the Ritner Street location and usually sticks to Primo whenever the craving for a hoagie sets in.

“The bread is the best out of all the other [hoagie] places,” she said adding that the service at the store is also commendable.

The local shop has scattered a trail of bread crumbs since its humble beginnings at the South Philadelphia store, with around 70 locations throughout Philadelphia and the tri-state area and one in Maryland. Soon, Primo will open up its first shop in New York.

“My father, Richard Neigre, just thought of opening a little deli,” Neigre said. “All of a sudden, I guess the neighborhood word of mouth got really big …. We never in a million years thought it would be as popular as it is.”

Chickie’s Italian Deli sliced up at second place, while P&S Ravioli Co. rolled into third.

A feast for Francophiles

Owner and general manager Stephen Slaughter has all food and organic waste composted at Green Eggs Café , 1306 Dickinson St. It is unlikely the Passyunk Square eatery’s workers ever have to tend to a loved Parisian treat, though. The 15-month-old establishment takes this year’s honor for best French toast .

A Bella Vista native and a Marconi resident, Slaughter sees his location as a part of a neighborhood teeming with promise. To keep its patrons’ taste buds jazzed, Green Eggs, whose name derives from a Dr. Seuss book and reflects its eco-friendly identity and breakfast offerings, serves an all-day menu; therefore, hungry stomachs can sate desires for French toast anytime between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.

“We wanted to do at least a couple French toast plates,” Slaughter said of conceiving his fare.

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Comments 1 - 3 of 3
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1. Anonymous said... on Mar 17, 2011 at 03:07PM

“The Peking Inn has the best ethnic food in the city!”

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2. Anonymous said... on Mar 18, 2011 at 06:50AM

“Johnny Chang's all the wayy !”

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3. Joe C said... on Mar 20, 2011 at 06:35AM

“Pats and Geno's is for tourist the best cheesesteak is Phil's 23rd Passyunk or John's Roast Pork.

Best Tomato PIE is Sal's Between Broad n 15th on Jackson st

Best sicilian Uncle Tommy's.

I mean this literally My dog wouldn't eat Changs.It was Terrible”

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