During my first week in Kansas, I tweeted about my initial encounter with a local “Philadelphia cheesesteak.” My pal D-Mac replied: “Better than Geno’s, I assume.”
I loved his reply, as it was quite a simple way to judge a cheesesteak. Geno’s is a not-very-good cheesesteak further torpedoed by the stand’s garish design and its now-deceased owner’s terrible politics and misguided interpretation of patriotism. It’s the city’s cheesesteak tourist trap, and the last place anyone should spend their time while visiting Philadelphia.
“Is it better than Geno’s?” had a nice ring to it. “Philly Cheesesteaks” are notoriously terrible because the name is evidence enough of how they’re trying too hard. If the name is unnecessarily redundant, what else are they getting wrong? The answer, usually, is: “A lot.”
My initial idea was to write a blog where I tried cheesesteaks and reviewed them on a simple scale: are they better than Geno’s? But this would have been a miserable task: I don’t want to eat cheesesteaks all the time, let alone potentially bad cheesesteaks. Plus, I wasn’t about to travel the country looking for them. I had options around me, but not many.
And so, Is It Better Than Geno’s? is born. I started the blog by adding the first five entries, and I’ll certainly chip in with others along the way. But my main goal is to broadcast it to Philadelphians, former Philadelphians, and cheesesteak lovers, in the hopes that they might eat a cheesesteak or two (or ten!) for the sake of contributing to the blog. There’s a submission link right on the main page.
The site is currently hosted on Tumblr, but you can get there easily by clicking the link above or going to www.betterthangenos.com. Hope to see some of you contributing in the future!