Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Why does the world's cheesesteak mecca not support local businesses?

Geno's & Pat's | Philadelphia's Cheesesteak Mecca

My guess is that you're probably a little confused after reading that title. I would be too.

9th, Wharton, and Passyunk in South Philadelphia, has been the world's most popular spot for authentic Philadelphia cheesesteaks for almost 80 years. If you're a tourist, and you're utilizing tourism websites/brochures/books to find the best place to eat a cheesesteak while hanging out in Philly, chances are they will suggest either going to Pat's and Geno's.


Don't get me wrong, I think both spots make a great steak, but the main reason this South Philadelphia location is the #1 suggested spot is because Pat's is considered to be the founder of our city's most famous sandwich. On top of that, their direct competition across the street (Geno's) looks like something you would see in Vegas; just looking at the building immediately draws you in. And to top everything off, both places are open 24 hours a day.

Enough said.

9th Street Italian Market Festival

The problem is that businesses immediately surrounding these meat and cheese behemoths have never really done well, and are still slow to achieve success to this day. So why is it that one of the most popular tourist spots in the 5th Largest US City can't support multiple businesses? Honestly, it's hard to say. But I do think this area (including the Italian Market) would do a lot better if they were just a little more organized. The local business association now has a plan in place, and it should help with that cause.

In the meantime, other businesses are slowly starting to feed off of "Cheeseteak Corner."

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