Every March 24 America pays tribute to one of the all-time classic sandwiches — the cheesesteak. Much like national liberty itself, the cheesesteak is elegant, necessary, pure, and was born in Philadelphia. The cheesesteak rose from humble beginnings in South Philly to the cultural icon it is today: safely secure in the sandwich hall of fame. “Eat (ahem, read) on to celebrate National Cheesesteak Day.”
When is National Cheesesteak Day 2024?
The mouth-wateringly delicious cheesesteak sandwich is celebrated on National Cheesesteak Day on March 24.
History of National Cheesesteak Day
The cheesesteak was created in 1930 when Pat Olivieri, owner of Pat’s King of Steak, and a hot dog vendor, grilled beef and threw in some onions to make a sandwich. This caught the attention of a nearby taxi driver, who proceeded to ask for one too. The rest, as they say, is history.
There are a few disputes to this story, but Pat and Harry Olivieri are predominantly credited with the invention of the cheesesteak sandwich. The cab driver who became interested in the tempting sandwich that Pat was having, stopped to have one for himself. The sandwich was so delicious that the driver suggested that Pat stop selling hot dogs and, instead, start selling this new sandwich.
Perfecting the recipe, the steak sandwich started selling like hotcakes at Olivieri’s hot dog stand near South Philadelphia’s Italian Market. The popularity of the steak sandwich led Pat to open his own eatery — Pat’s King of Steaks. The restaurant is still running successfully today. Interestingly, the original sandwich that Pat had did not have any cheese. According to Olivieri, a manager named Joe Lorenza was the first to add provolone cheese to the sandwiches at one of the restaurants located on Ridge Avenue
Since then, cheesesteaks have become immensely popular at food carts and restaurants throughout the city. Most of these eateries are owned and run by families, who have their unique spin on cheesesteaks. Several fast-food restaurants also offer their variations of cheesesteaks now. Outside of Philadelphia, the sandwich is commonly known as ‘Philly cheesesteak.’
National Cheesesteak Day timeline
The Cheesesteak is created by Pat and Harry Oliveri, hot dog vendors who just so happened to put steak on the grill.
The Oliveris open their now-iconic South Philly restaurant, Pat’s King of Steaks.
Kraft Food launches Cheez Whiz— which becomes the traditional choice for cheese in Philadelphia and for cheesesteak.
Geno’s Steaks opens right across the streets from Pat’s, fueling a friendly rivalry that rages to this day.
National Cheesesteak Day FAQs
What is the number one cheesesteak in the world?
Charleys Philly Steaks bills itself as the home of the “World’s Number One Philly Cheesesteak.” But the company – now boasting 550 locations in 45 states and 20 countries – is based in Columbus, Ohio.
Why is cheesesteak called ‘cheesesteak’?
Cheesesteak, also called Philadelphia cheesesteak or Philly cheesesteak, is a sandwich made with sliced or chopped steak and melted cheese on a long sandwich roll.
How big is a cheesesteak?
These sandwiches are all king-sized on a loaf of bread, approximately 12 inches long and three inches thick.
National Cheesesteak Day Activities
Eat a cheesesteak
This seems obvious, but sometimes the obvious answer is the best. You can roll up your sleeves and craft your own sandwich, or you can pay a professional to do it for you. Just know that if the word Philly is in the name, it may not be the most authentic.
Visit the cheesesteak homeland
If you have the time and money, take a pilgrimage to the magical land where it all started. There are a shocking amount of official cheesesteak tours of Philadelphia, or you can go off the beaten path your own if you’re feeling adventurous. Just be sure to stop at Pat’s and Geno’s.
Try a vegan cheesesteak
Cheesesteaks may seem like the last thing that could be made vegan, but there are countless, easy to follow recipes online for plant-based cheesesteaks. If you’re in the mood for a kitchen adventure, try a cheesesteak made from mushrooms, vegetables, soy, wheat, nuts, or pretty much anything else imaginable.
5 Mouthwateringly Delicious Facts Abour Cheesesteak
A ‘Philly taco’
A Philly taco is a cheesesteak rolled up in a slice of pizza.
The original sandwich did not contain any cheese.
The most expensive cheesesteak
It is sold in Philly for $130, and it comes with champagne.
Steak is not a requirement
Not all cheesesteaks are made with steak.
It has an odd variation
There’s a cheesesteak cheesecake.
Why We Love National Cheesesteak Day
Philly cheesesteaks are traditionally served with Cheez Whiz. End of discussion. You can argue this point forever, but that's the way things currently stand in the motherland: Philadelphia, Pa.
Delicious food doesn't have to be fancy
There’s no denying it – cheesesteaks are downright delicious. They prove that you don’t need all kinds of fancy trimmings and trappings to make a delectable sandwich. Sometimes the only ingredients you need are the ones in the name.
They’re a huge part of Philly culture
Philly loves Ben Franklin, the Eagles, and cheesesteaks — in that order. They're such an integral part of the city’s culture that they generate tourism. But, whatever you do, don’t call it a “Philly Cheesesteak.” It's just a cheesesteak.
National Cheesesteak Day dates