Cheeseateak #4 Shank's Original

12:30 PM

On a Friday

Philadelphia, PA

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Shank's Original is described on Google Maps as "counter-service sandwich joint." I think that is a perfectly apt description. 

This stand-alone structure along the Delaware river is a pleasant find in an unexpected location. Outdoor seating is available, but limited. However, with three inches of snow on the ground, I was not fighting anyone for a spot. 

 

Without much else around it creating foot traffic, patrons of Shank's don't seem to just wander in for a quick bite. They're there because they know what they want.

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And I can see why.

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I always believe that food just tastes better when you eat it outdoors. 

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- Rating -

So how does it rate?

The categories are:

  • Roll
  • Meat
  • Cheese
  • Onions
  • Team Effort (how it all works together)
  • Service (at the establishment)
  • Overall Value

A maximum of 5 points can be assigned to each category.

  • Roll - 4.5
    • This bread was incredible. I had read on their website that they pride themselves on it, so my bar had actually been very high for this location. In fact, I was 100% certain that I would be disappointed, especially considering my vast carb consumption experience. I was not disappointed. I was elated
  • Meat - 3.5
    • The meat would just be considered standard if not for 2 important distinctions: the quantity of meat provided would not illicit any complaints from any patron, and the seasoning had an excellent peppery note
  • Cheese - 2
    • I was a little disappointed here. The cheese was only lightly painted on the inside of the bread. It was the amount that you hope for when you ask for "light mayo" on a sandwich. I'm sure the cheese itself was fine, but I couldn't really get much on its own to tell
  • Onions - 3.5
    • The onions were small, but crunchy. They were fine, but really not much more could be said about them
  • Team Effort - 3.5
    • The bread was really holding the team together on this one. While the peppery beef helped make up for the lack of cheese, I think they did the best with what they had
  • Service - 4
    • Service was extremely quick. I think one of the employees had made a cheesesteak for themselves but once I ordered they gave it to me instead so I didn't have to wait
  • Value - 3.5
    • A perfectly fine $10 cheesesteak 

TOTAL:  24.5

Other Elements of Note:

Another CASH ONLY joint.

There's an odd looking ATM available outside if you were not prepared.

More information about Shank's Original can be found on their website, such as menu, hours, and catering information.

The ambiance might've been my favorite part. Sitting by the water makes every meal feel a little bit more special... maybe next time I'll go when there's not snow under the tables.

**Full Disclosure: This is the first time I have been yelled at while taking pictures of my cheesesteak. A (seemingly) regular customer of Shank's pulled up in his truck, parked diagonally outside the door to the building, sauntered past me before taking time out of his busy day to comment on the personal choice of the enjoyment of my lunch. He scoffed, "you should eat your cheesesteak, not take pictures of it!"

Why not both, good sir? Why not both?

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- Recap -

Shank's Original is an interesting find. Their location might not be terribly convenient, but being nestled by the river certainly has its own draw. The cheesesteak is solid, and customers seem to be regulars, not just there because they want to take a picture of themselves eating at a cheesesteak place in Philly.

I may go back someday soon and just ask to buy a couple loaves of their fantastic bread.

Cheesesteak #2 Campo's Deli

6:00 PM

On a Sunday

Philadelphia, PA

Onward to cheesesteaks!

Onward to cheesesteaks!

About a block south of Betsy Ross's house and a block west of the Delaware River, you'll find Campo's Deli nestled in a lovely brick building in Old City Philadelphia on the well-trodden Market Street.

 

At least twice as long as it is wide, Campo's interior is dotted with small, round tables and aluminum chairs arranged in sets of two. There are even two small sets along the wall across from the counter where orders are taken, though I'd assume no one over 100lbs would be able to fit there. 

While their menu has an extensive range of sandwich options, I was there for just one.

This time I was able to walk to the counter with confidence, make my order, and watch the magic happen.

It took about 10 minutes for my cheesesteak to be prepared but, honestly, I'm rarely ever going to complain about fresh meat being cooked to order.

I sat at a small, round table by the windows to watch the world go by as devoured my beautifully crafted masterpiece.

- Rating -

So how does it rate?

The categories are:

  • Roll
  • Meat
  • Cheese
  • Onions
  • Team Effort (how it all works together)
  • Service (at the establishment)
  • Overall Value

A maximum of 5 points can be assigned to each category.

  • Roll - 4.5
    • This roll was a thing of absolute beauty. In full disclosure, I love carbs more than anything in the world, and consider myself an expert, so when I say this is good bread....This. Is. Good. Bread. I had to take off half a point for it being cold. Like, so cold that it almost immediately chilled my meat
  • Meat - 3
    • Volume. This cheesesteak was filled to the brim with meat. It was fresh, but was a little chewy and could've benefited greatly from some extra seasoning. All in all, fine
  • Cheese - 3
    • No major praises or complaints. I'd say the roll could've used a little more all over, but really was just okay in that regard
  • Onions - 3
    • So, here's the thing: There was a pretty good onion flavor to be had, but honestly, that effect could've been completely synthesized through onion powder. The onions in the sandwich had almost no texture, which made it difficult to rate higher than average
  • Team Effort - 4
  • Service - 3
    • Perfectly adequate
  • Value - 4
    • Fairly quick service and a $9.72 charge isn't too bad. Hell, I'd almost pay that just for their bread

TOTAL: 24.5

Other Elements of Note:

THIS IS A CASH ONLY ESTABLISHMENT. I REPEAT, THIS IS A CASH ONLY ESTABLISHMENT. If you don't know that ahead of time I can only imagine that you will be supremely displeased by the time you get to the counter and order. All hope is not lost though, there is an ATM available near the entrance.

A surprise greeted me when I reached the cash register and saw the cooler behind the counter was filled with various gleaming bottles of beer. This could be a game changer. While a cheesesteak itself can be a wonderful meal, it's pretty universally agreed that a cold beer improves almost any dining experience.

Campo's cheesesteaks are also the official cheesesteak of the sports complexes that house the Philadelphia Flyers, Phillies, and 76ers. This comes at no surprise after I almost scarfed down the paper that my cheesesteak was wrapped in.

More information can be found on their website, such as menu, hours, and even shipping information. That's right, Campo's delicious cheesesteaks can actually be delivered to anywhere in the country.

- Recap -

Campo's Deli provides a great Philly cheesesteak experience. Again, I can't stress enough about how much I enjoyed their bread. The location is fairly central, and lends itself to a nighttime stroll along the river or late-night partying in Old City's many bars and clubs. I will definitely be back, or, maybe the next time will be at some sort of Philadelphia sporting event. We'll see.