In our first installment, Delco Cheesesteak Wars — Round 1, we threw down and waited. As expected, we got a lot of feedback, because let’s face it: Delco’s the place to go for mouthwatering, mind-blowing, must-have cheesesteaks. Game on.
But what is a cheesesteak? A legit, worthy-of-battle cheesesteak? Here’s what you said: It starts with a long roll (preferably crusty on the outside) followed by chopped or thinly sliced steak (preferably rib-eye). Then tons of melted cheese that really should be whiz (that’s Cheez Whiz for the uninitiated), though American and provolone are also acceptable. As far as toppings, any or all of these satisfy: sauteed mushrooms, onions, hot or sweet peppers and ketchup.
Our next entry into this never-ending battle features family joints. Some of them have no social media presence; not even websites. But one thing they have in common is they all have great cheesesteaks (as well as other eats).
You’ll come for the cheesesteaks and stay for the terrific tap list (plus a few hard-to-find bottles and cans, too). The Boccellas make sure that the service is fast, the portions are generous and the prices are reasonable. Here’s the place to experiment: the Boccella’s Steak, an Italian delight available in beef or chicken and topped with broccoli rabe and roasted peppers. Worth noting: The small is stuffed with one pound of meat; the large groans under two pounds.
37 W. Eagle Rd., Havertown, (610) 789-2228.
This venerable establishment was a pioneer in bringing the West Philly vibe to the ‘burbs — including the whiz. Its original spot opened in 1939; the Springfield outpost opened in 1999 and is still family-owned and -operated. Expect classic cheesesteaks, plus a few surprises, including a vegetarian option. Know a Delco ex-pat dying for a taste of home? Jim’s ships anywhere in the United States.
469 Baltimore Pike, Stoney Creek Center, Springfield, (610) 544-8400, jimssteaks.com/jim-s-steaks–springfield.html.
Drexel Hill Style Pizza
What does Drexel Hill-style mean? It means delicious, that’s what! That’s because what Ernie Sioutis promised when he opened in 1968 — quality — is still top of the list here. Try the royal steak, a slight twist on the classic: two kinds of cheese, onions, mushrooms, bell peppers and a secret sauce. Bonus: The low-cholesterol cheesesteak options are just as yummy.
2585 W. Chester Pike, Broomall, (610) 356-7773, drexelhillstylepizza.com/.
Leo’s Steak Shop
Get ready to take home leftovers at the “Home of the 18 Incher.” The Mullan brothers opened this unpretentious shop in Sharon Hill in 1974 and relocated to the current space in 1986. The menu boasts all handhelds — cheesesteaks, hoagies, hot sammies and burgers — and is still under the family’s watchful eye. Dig into the Buffalo chicken cheesesteak slathered in blue cheese and hot sauce. Pro tip: Plan to take out unless the weather’s nice; outdoor seating only.
1403 Chester Pike, Folcroft, (610) 586-1199, leossteaks.com/.
Anna’s Steaks & Hoagies
There’s a decidedly mom-and-pop feel to this family restaurant, which opened in 1935 and has been delighting locals ever since. Many returning to the area and en route into the county consider it “the first stop in Delco.” The portions are generous, including ample amounts of gooey goodness on the cheesesteaks. Add sweet peppers to any of the numerous options — trust us on this one. Stop at the ATM before you indulge, as it’s cash only. Closed Sunday and Monday.
303 Sutton Ave., Folsom, (610) 534-9289.
What’s your go-to Delco cheesesteak? Comment or hit us on social and join the battle.
Want to know more about everything Delco? We’re more than just your source for good eats — we’re your source for where to stay, what to do and more in Delaware County, Pennsylvania. We’re the Destination Delco Tourism Bureau, and we’ve got you covered from Philly to the Brandywine. Find us at 1501 N. Providence Rd., Media, PA, 19063; (610) 565-3679 or online.
— Nina Malone
Featured photo: Bigstock; all other photos, top to bottom: Pixabay; Bigstock (next two photos)