Delco Cheesesteak Wars — Round 1

January 30th, 2019

You say South Philly? We say thanks, but no thanks — some of the best cheesesteaks around are within Delco’s borders. Our passion for meat, cheese and the perfect roll runs deep: Just as an Eagles’ fan will go toe-to-toe with a Giants fan over who’s best (and we all know the answer’s pretty obvious), we’re ready to go bite-by-bite to fight for our favorites.

There’s a little bit of infighting around the county, too. Everyone has their favorites, but our experts have whittled down the top 10. Here’s a taste of the first five, in no particular order. Didn’t see your go-to Delco cheesesteak? Keep an eye on our blog for Delco Cheesesteak Wars — Round 2.

1. The Original Thunderbird

Original Thunderbird
Photo courtesy of The Original Thunderbird

This venerable family-owned and -operated spot has been getting raves since 1956. The Greco brothers — Bill, Steve and Tom — carry on the family tradition by cranking out the classic whiz (yup, Cheez Whiz) “wit” or “witout” (onions, for the uninitiated), along with plenty of other cheese and topping options to please everyone. The old-time feel puts you right at home.

2323 West Chester Pike, Broomall, (610) 356-9969, theoriginalthunderbird.com.

2. Delco’s Original Steaks & Hoagies

Photo courtesy of Doris Malone

You’ve got a few choices here — including a small or a large — and we dare you to finish even the small (we’re not kidding — the photo is half of a small). You can go the classic route or branch out with pizza steak, chicken cheesesteak, buffalo chicken cheesesteak or, for something totally different (and gut-busting): a cheesesteak grilled cheese. Pro tip: Ask for the seeded roll. Expect friendly staff and an upbeat steak shop vibe.

152 Painters Crossing, Chadds Ford, (610) 558-8289, delcosoriginalsteak.com.

3. Frankie’s on Fairview

Photo courtesy of Frankie’s on Fairview

Several menu items give a nod to that famous crooner Frank — look for “my way” on the menu. In an unexpected twist, the “my way” head-turners are the vegetarian options, including for the steak sandwich. Choose from beef, chicken or seitan with cheese and up to three toppings. Vegan? There’s a separate menu to accommodate. Enjoy your pick in a laid-back atmosphere among warm, hospitable staffers. Bonus: It’s BYOB.

604 Fairview Rd., Woodlyn, (610) 543-2300, frankiesonfairview.com.

4. LaSpada’s Original Steaks & Hoagies

Photo courtesy of Eric Ayers

Longtime employee Tom Morrison and his wife, Debbie, bought in on this joint in 1991 so that the LaSpada motto — set in 1959 — would live on: “The best damn sandwich in town.” The steaks are made with 100 percent rib-eye, and the chicken breast is never frozen. Try a classic whiz, American or provolone cheesesteak — and ask for “South Philly-style” if you want yours sliced, not chopped. Dig into lots of creative twists on the original, available in mini, small and large.

1002 MacDade Blvd., Milmont Park, (610) 461-9023, ilovelaspadas.com.

5. Phil & Jim’s Delicatessen

Photo courtesy of Kevin Mooney

You’ll need three hands to hoist one of these hefty cheesesteaks. That’s just one of the reasons people travel from near and far (Minnesota, New York, South Carolina, California and more!) to give ‘em a try. The roll stays perfectly intact, despite being stuffed with steak, pizza steak or chicken steak, cheese and your favorite fixins. It’s a no-frills neighborhood classic — grab a seat at the counter and chat up the staff.

2905 Edgmont Ave., Brookhaven, (610) 872-9472, follow on Facebook.

Want to know more about everything Delco? We’re the Destination Delco Tourism Bureau, and we’ve got you covered from Philly to the Brandywine. 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. Find us at 1501 N. Providence Rd. in Media; contact us at (610) 565-3679 or online.

— Nina Malone