Craving an authentic Philly cheese steak? Philadelphia’s offers an alternative to hopping on a plane

Ever wonder where you can get a damn fine Philly cheese steak in this rainy city? Well, the answer is Philadelphia’s Steaks & Hoagies in Sellwood.

Philadelphia’s has a simple ambiance, reflecting a sports bar theme with a few televisions affixed to the ceiling, large front windows and dark green walls. Their menu is simple and authentic.

Philadelphia’s specializes in sandwiches though they’ve adapted since that crazy Atkins diet got everyone all worked up over carbs. Now they offer any of their sandwiches “lo-carb” by replacing the roll with a bed of lettuce, tomato, and mayonnaise. Voila.

If that’s what you’re into, more power to you, but if you ask me, it would be a crying shame to enjoy Philadelphia’s cheese steak sandwich with melted American cheese, thin slices of steak and grilled onions on anything other than one of the best hoagie rolls in town. In fact, you should know that the roll is actually half of the experience and is what makes Philadelphia’s so great.

In traditional terms, what makes a cheese steak sandwich is the simplicity and quality of its parts. Philadelphia’s offers five different, simple steak sandwiches that are all delicious.

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The traditional steak offers thin slices of steak and grilled onions, the pizza steak yields a rich tomato sauce, grilled onions, provolone cheese and steak, the mushroom cheese steak adds freshly grilled mushrooms and the pepper steak throws in fresh bell peppers.

All of these options stand up to Philadelphia’s reputation for having the best cheese steak in town and, ranging from $5.45 for the original steak to $6.75 for the mushroom or pepper, you can get your fill for a reasonable price.

On the hoagie side of things, Philadelphia’s offers more elaborate offerings, including a really good Italian Special with ham, Genoa salami, Capocolla ham, provolone cheese, lettuce, onions, pickles, tomato, sweet or hot pickled peppers, oil and spices. Also offered as a hoagie is one of the best ham and cheese sandwiches with boiled ham, American cheese, lettuce, onions, pickles, tomatoes, sweet or hot pickled peppers, oil and spices.

But Philadelphia’s doesn’t stop there. They also have an all-chicken menu including a chicken cheese steak (this is a good way to avoid that pesky mad cow) made with sliced chicken. It’s grilled with onions and served with melted American cheese, sliced tomato, lettuce and mayo all served on a hoagie roll.

Also under the chicken menu is the clever buffalo-style chicken steak with buffalo wing hot sauce, melted American cheese with a bleu cheese dripping sauce. Sound weird? It’s actually not half bad.

The Italian sandwiches include an excellent meatball sandwich and a pretty good veggie parmesan with grilled mushrooms, bell peppers and onions, melted provolone cheese and tomato sauce.

If you’re out early, Philadelphia’s also has a few breakfast options that might suit your morning time munchies. These are the steak and egg, the Italian Fritata with three eggs, grilled Italian sausage and onions, melted provolone cheese and pizza sauce on a hoagie bun. That’s a little too much for me in the morning. I’d rather stick to the ham and egg or the pepper and egg.


When all is said and done, Philadelphia’s stands as one of Portland’s best sandwich shops. If ever anyone should say, “I need a good sandwich,” your reply should be, “Put a Philadelphia’s cheese steak in your mouth, friend.”