1530 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell, PA
In New York, short of discussing sports or politics, perhaps the easiest way to start a spirited if not a heated argument is to posit which pizza place has the best pies. In the Philly metro area, its all about the cheesesteaks.
This week I was down in the King of Prussia/Valley Forge area and I really, really wanted to get down to South Philly after hours and head over to some of the more legendary places, like Pat’s and Geno’s, and have my first real cheesesteak experience. But the reality of working in the burbs is that driving into Philly after work can be brutal, and I didn’t feel like braving two hours of traffic or going into Philly late at night during the work week. I still wanted my cheesesteak though, and it had to be a good one. What to do?
Well, I knew one site which would definitely tell me where to go, and that would be HollyEats.com. If anyone could be considered the font of cheesesteak knowledge, it’s Holly Moore. On his site I found a review of Pudge’s, a old-school cheesesteak place in Blue Bell, only about a half an hour away from where I was working. It’s been at its current location for over 30 years, and the Carbone family has been doing cheesesteaks for well over 50 years, starting out originally in Germantown. That puts it well within striking territory of the more well-known establishments.
Pudge’s is located in a small shopping center on Dekalb Ave. The main sign itself isn’t lighted, although the place has a brightly lit Coca Cola ad. Unless you were in the know, you probably would just pass this place by.
Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below for some serious cheesesteak porn.
Pudge’s is named after Betty Boop’s dog, Pudge, and it’s also the nickname of the founder, Frank Carbone, who also founded Frank’s in Germantown in the late 1950’s.
A happy customer
The counter area.
Pudge’s only uses high quality sliced ribeye for its steaks.
Lucille Seutter, who has been working at Pudge’s for 45 years. She still makes sure that the steaks come out perfect.
Manager Tom who has been with Pudge’s for 25 years. Tom is very adamant that his product is as good or not better than the fellows in South Philly, and I think I agree with him. He’s got a couple of tattoos and is a pretty tough guy, so I wouldn’t argue with him.
The Pudge’s large cheesesteak with onions, ordered South Philly style with Cheez Wiz. I was told after that I had ordered it that the preferred way to get it at Pudge’s is with white American Cheese, or with melted Provolone. The fresh baked torpedo roll that Pudge’s uses for their large cheesesteaks are 18 inches long. Your average human being is going to have difficulty finishing it in a single sitting — I had to bring half of mine home.
Pudge’s Beer Batter onion rings.
Side of hot peppers
The complete menu and choices of toppings
A whole nine inches of steak left.
Lunch for tomorrow. Or a midnight snack, which ever comes first.