Review: The Original Philly from Great Steak

I don’t know about you readers, but I hate malls. Suffering through the traffic, parking fifteen miles away from the entrance, being crammed next to throngs of people, who don’t smell very good, having their screaming children throw stuff at me (true story), not being able to find what I want, and to top it off, the food is utterly awful. While eating at Sbarro, I noticed Great Steak on the other side of the food court. I love a great cheesesteak and thought it would make for a good review. I then realized I would have to return to the abyss and out the window went that idea. If you guys couldn’t already tell, I take requests. Ryan seemed enthusiastic about a Great Steak review, so here you go.

Great Steak is a fast food mall institution with over 160 locations. Along with cheesesteaks they also specialize in baked potatoes… color me intrigued. I figured I would go with what seemed like the best way to test their authenticity, and get just steak, onions and whiz on a roll. They call that The Original Philly. Well, the website does anyway. The girl at the register looked at me like I was crazy after I asked for one. I look at the menu and sure enough, nothing called an “Original Philly”. She tried to sell me a signature “Great Steak”, but considering that is constructed more like a hamburger, I said no. The manager caught wind of the confusion and came over to help. I ask if this is the same Great Steak as the others around the country? He replied yes. I then hand him my cell phone with the corporate menu pulled up, and asked if any of these items were on his menu. That made him just as bewildered as I was, so he just asked what I want specifically, to end this pointless back and forth. “Steak, fried onions, Philly cheese (what the website calls whiz), on a 12 inch roll.”

“No problem” he says. After a couple of minutes I receive my sandwich and there is a problem. No whiz. I inquire as to why and he tells me it’s the provolone on the bottom. He realizes I wanted “cheese sauce” and topped it off with a heavy portion. “You don’t call that Philly cheese?” I ask.

“What’s Philly cheese?” he responds.

The girl then tells me the cheese sauce is only for potatoes.

I slap my forehead, and go take a seat to check out this mystery sandwich that for reasons I don’t understand, was almost impossible to order.  Surprisingly enough, this was the best and most accurate cheesesteak I have had outside of Philly or Jersey. The roll was about as dead on to an Amoroso roll as you can get. If you’ve never had one, think of a dense yet soft hoagie roll, with a slightly crisp exterior. The perfect bread to stand up to a mound of delicious beef. The onions were flat-out perfect. Not caramelized, but cooked just enough so that you still get a sweet intense onion flavor, and it still has a slight crunchy texture to it. Whiz is whiz or in this case “cheese sauce”, and you either love it or hate it. I love it. It couldn’t be better. I wouldn’t have known the provolone was their if you hadn’t told me. Considering I didn’t want it anyway, no points will be subtracted. The beef was the only component that could have been better. The website says they use sirloin, but at this point, who knows? It was good, but a far cry from the big beefy flavor of thin sliced, ultra-fatty marbled ribeye.

in all though, this was a quality cheesesteak, which for some reason, is hard to find, unless you go to… a mall. Yes, the earth has flipped its axis. If you are near a Great Steak, be sure to check it out. Good luck getting what you expect with any kind of ease though.

***I’m delaying the “month of healthy reviews”. Why? The fall video game season has overtaken what little free time I have. That or you could make up your own reason. How about me building a rocket to Mars? Yeah, let’s go with that one.

Pros: The first great cheesesteak I have ever had with the word "Philly" in the name. I would bathe in whiz if I could. Run-on sentences.

Cons: Worst ordering experience/website coordination ever. The steak kept this from a near perfect rating. Malls.

Taste: 8.50/10
Value: 7.00/10
Price: $7.39

Overall GrubGrade: 8.50/10

More Info:
Nutrition Facts:
not available

15 comments on “Review: The Original Philly from Great Steak

  1. Sherm says:

    That actually looks pretty good for a chain-produced “cheesesteak.” As a Philly native, I’d say from the looks alone to go ahead and order that if you happen to be in the unfortunate predicament of not living where you can get an authentic one. Sorry for that convoluted, run-on sentence.

  2. Lindsay says:

    An authentic philly cheesesteak really contains cheez-whiz? CHEEZ-WHIZ???

    • Chefprotoss says:

      Yup, and it is awesome. Every food has its place and whiz belongs on a cheesesteak. Not being able to get whiz at 99% of places that sell a “steak and cheese” is probably the greatest diss to such a legendary sandwich.

      • ChefRobert says:

        And ChefProtoss knows that because hes a real Chef darnit!!!Sorry kiddo working at the Taco Bell doesn’t count

        • Mitchery says:

          I disagree with you Bob, I have seen plenty of employees at Taco Bell that wear that funny looking hat and an apron. I’m pretty sure you get those only after you complete your doctrine in culinary arts. Are you a chef?

          • President Doctor Professor Nick says:

            Of course he’s a chef… duh, ChefRobert means he’s an actual certified amazing chef. If it’s in your internet handle, it makes it true. And yes, I am a President Doctor Professor… just like my internet name says I am. I’m working hard so one day I will be known as President Doctor Professor Zoo Keeper Nick.

    • Arsenio Billingham says:

      Yes, they do. They are delicious. Welcome to the real world.

  3. TehBuLL says:

    That looks surprisingly like real food! I’ve generally avoided anything in a mall food court. (not you my dearest friend Panda Express, you will never lose me) There are a couple around downtown Chicago…if I ever get lost and somehow forget all of the excellent food around me, I’ll stop in and try this piece of sandwitchery.

  4. Roger C. says:

    Great Steak is great, I have no idea why it closed in my mall. I think Charley’s bought them out. That place is vastly inferior. I’m still angry to this day.

  5. Carrie says:

    i don’t care what anyone says. I love Great Steak. Unfortunately, they also closed the one at my mall. They had the best fries– very seasoned. I am sure the fact that i went to the mall about once every two years could have had nothing to do with them closing.

  6. Kat says:

    Hey Chef, it’s totally been bugging me, I feel as if I’ve seen you! What city are you in? I live in Chicago. Great review BTW.

  7. Sherm says:

    As far as whiz goes, it’s not the go-to steak condiment that you might think. The two main Philly spots (Pat’s and Geno’s) are definitely best known for their whiz steaks, it’s true. But for the average Philadelphian out to get a cheesesteak, whiz is only one of several options. The other two are American and provolone, and I’d venture to say that of all the ‘steaks ordered in Philly, most are either of these two. A steak wit (Philly speak) whiz is more of a late-night, drunken thing to get to add grease to the alcohol after a hard night of partying. If someone from around here is getting a cheesesteak for lunch, they’re most likely going to order it with either American or provolone ( and fried onions).

    But I’ll still take whiz “melted” over my cheese fries every day of the week.

  8. Scrape says:

    Cheese sauce is NOT CheeseWhiz. Whiz has many other flavor-giving ingredients in it other than flat out melty-”cheese”, which may or may not be Velveeta. This may have been slathery and good, but nt accurate to the true Philly. Personally, I never get Whiz when I’m in Philly, ’cause I go to Tony Lukes which has gourmet cheesesteaks. Depite the huge menu, I always get the Cheesesteak Hoagie wit provolone and LTM. Genos and Pats are okay, but Lukes is fantastic, and sooo much easier to get to.

  9. [...] to a harmonious chord becoming one with the ingredients. The steak is decent. I would say it is on par with Great Steak. It lacks the big beefy flavor I desire, but it’s still clean and doesn’t taste super [...]