Creator of Philly Cheesesteak dies

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Creator of Philly Cheesesteak dies

Postby Jenise » Sat Jul 22, 2006 10:51 am

Here's part of the story from the Chicago Tribune:

Creator of the Philly Cheesesteak Dies

By Associated Press
Published July 21, 2006, 6:33 PM CDT

PHILADELPHIA -- Harry Olivieri, who with his brother Pat was credited with inventing the Philly cheesesteak in 1933, had died. He was 90.

Despite a heart condition, Olivieri had showed up at Pat's King of Steaks almost every day until about three years ago. He died of heart failure Thursday at AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center in Pomona, N.J., his daughter Maria said.

Harry and his older brother opened a corner hot dog stand near south Philadelphia's Italian Market in 1930.

Three years later, they made the first version of the sandwich that helped put the city on the street food map. Tired of hot dogs, Pat suggested that Harry go to a store and buy some beef. Harry brought it back, sliced it up and grilled it with some onions.

The brothers piled the meat on rolls and were about to dig in when a cab driver arrived for lunch, smelled the meat and onions and demanded one of the sandwiches.

Harry sold the cabbie his own sandwich in a transaction the brothers counted as the birth of Pat's King of Steaks.

Cheez Whiz was added to the steak and onions starting in the 1960s, and provolone, American cheese and pizza sauce later became options in the concoction along with various condiments and side dishes.

Pat Olivieri died in 1970. Harry's son, Frank, now runs the restaurant.
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Re: Creator of Philly Cheesesteak dies

Postby John F » Sat Jul 22, 2006 12:18 pm

I lived in Philly for 2 years (85-87) right after college while going to business school at Penn.

I am INDEBTED to the cheese steak inventor!! I must have eaten 5 a week for 2 years. I usually bought them from trucks around the Penn campus but sometimes ventured down to South Philly to Pat's. I frankly always felt like that was a disappointment in general - not easy to get to and crowded once there.

But a cheese steak for lunch in the sun sitting on a bench....or a cheese steak at midnight after a keg party.....HEAVEN!!!!

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Re: Creator of Philly Cheesesteak dies

Postby Harry Cantrell » Sat Jul 22, 2006 9:27 pm

interesting tidbit about him on NPR. The son of Pat was interviewed. He said that for years they resisted cheese on their steak sandwiches, as a lot of their customers kept Kosher. The son of Pat said that one day when Pat and Harry were away, the son got some Cheez Wiz and put it in a can and put the can on the grill to melt it. He did this to keep the dairy separate from the meat and still kept the grill Kosher. He claims Harry and Pat invented the first steak sandwich in Philly, but there are a few people that claim to be the first to put cheese on it.
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Re: Creator of Philly Cheesesteak dies

Postby TimMc » Sun Jul 23, 2006 10:12 pm

The Philly CheeseSteak dinner will keep my family alive for days!

My East Coast born wife introduced me to this delicacy and I am forever in her, taste bud-wise.

I am sorry to learn of his passing.

Re: Creator of Philly Cheesesteak dies

Postby Carl K » Mon Jul 24, 2006 10:57 am

I was first introduced to the Philly Cheesesteak by one of my Fraternity Borhters who was from Philly; and it remains one of the things I miss from my time spent up North (along with pizza subs, peroggis, and Permani Bros.).

I must remember to make a toast tonight, and perhaps a trip back North once things have settled down.
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Re: Creator of Philly Cheesesteak dies

Postby James Roscoe » Mon Jul 24, 2006 11:36 am

The Mellow Mushroom on King Str. does as decent an imitation of a cheese steak as I've had in SC.

P.S. No REAL cheese Philly steak EVER has cheese whiz on it. That is strictly for the tourists and out-of-towners who can't handle their provalone. Those of us born and bred in Philly know that a cheese steak has fried onions and provolone cheese! (along with mushrooms, green peppers and the local marinara sauce) Mmmmm......
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Re: Creator of Philly Cheesesteak dies

Postby Carl K » Mon Jul 24, 2006 8:06 pm

The was a place in North Charleston called TOPS that was run by a couple from Philly who made authentic Cheesesteaks (Provolone cheese, grilled onions, grilled peppers, and even the right roll). Unfortuneately they decided to move back to Philly, and the people they sold the restaurant to immediately started to make "improvements". Needless to say, they were out of business inside a year and the store front is now occupied by an insurance agency.

I haven't tried the Mellow Mushroom's version yet, though Pies-On-Pizza does a decent imitation. It's not quite right, but it's close.
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