You voted: See which Utah restaurant has the best cheesesteak this side of Philly
Readers say their favorites are Moochie’s, The Philadelphian and DP Cheesesteaks.
(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) Moochie's is a top contender in The Salt Lake Tribune's Best Philly Cheesesteak poll. "This has been my lifelong dream," said Moochie's co-owner and Philidelphia native Joanna Rendi with partner Don MacDonald in front of their storefront at 2121 S. State St., Feb. 11, 2021. Rendi also created the eatery's Jumpin' Jalapeno Sauce.
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People will always debate how to make the perfect Philly cheesesteak.
Should it have American, provolone or Cheez Whiz? Roast beef or rib-eye? Green peppers or mushrooms?
At least readers of The Salt Lake Tribune can agree on one thing: who makes their favorite steak and cheese sandwich.
Moochie’s Meatballs and More,
with three locations in the Salt Lake Valley, triumphed in our recent online poll. It received 96 of the 322 votes cast in our unscientific election.
in Sandy was the runner-up with 35 votes, followed closely by DP Cheesesteaks
, which captured 34 votes.
Here are snapshots of each winning business and why our readers say they are the best:
(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) Moochie's is a winner of The Salt Lake Tribune's Best Philly Cheesesteak poll, Feb. 11, 2021.
Moochie’s Meatballs and More
Joanna Rendi and Don MacDonald opened the original Moochie’s in 2003 in a transformed pottery studio near downtown Salt Lake City.
As the business name suggests, the initial menu featured meatball subs. But soon Rendi, who grew up in Philadelphia, started serving cheesesteak sandwiches.
“That’s my heritage,” she said. “Where I come from, there is a cheesesteak shop — sometimes two — on every block.”
At the time, she said, no one in Salt Lake City was doing cheesesteak the way she remembered.
Moochie’s, which now has additional locations in South Salt Lake and Midvale, makes its 6- and 12-inch cheesesteak sandwich with thinly sliced rib-eye — from a producer in Philadelphia — grilled onions and American cheese. Customers can switch to provolone or Swiss or add mushrooms, green peppers or even lettuce and tomatoes.
Rendi said she doesn’t debate about what’s “authentic” because it all depends on your neighborhood and your age.
Originally, the steak sandwiches in Philadelphia did not have cheese, she said. Then some shops started adding American cheese. Others added provolone to be different. And then, in the 1960s, Cheez Whiz — which was cheaper and shelf-stable — came along.
“It’s just what you grew up with and what you like,” she said. “We don’t like to tell you what to have.”
Moochie’s Meatballs and More • 232 E. 800 South, Salt Lake City, 801-596-1350; 2121 S. State St., South Salt Lake, 801-487-2121; and 7725 S State St., Midvale, 801-562-1500.
Diners in the southern part of Salt Lake County have been enjoying cheesesteak sandwiches at this no-frills shop for more than three decades.
Ivan Pearson, who was born and raised in Utah, opened The Philadelphian back in 1988, said his son, Nate Pearson, who now owns and operates the shop.
“We’re not the fanciest place,” he said. “We just try to feed everyone a good sandwich.”
The formula works. Pearson rarely advertises, but — even during the coronavirus pandemic — gets so busy there’s often a line to order and pick up.
The eatery, which is open seven days week, actually has 21 sandwiches on the menu and also is known for its fresh-cut fries and its battered and deep-fried mushrooms.
But it’s the cheesesteaks that customers crave. There are three options: the plain steak and provolone; the pepper steak with sauteed green peppers and the “Philadelphian” — the favorite — with sauteed mushrooms, onions and provolone.
During the pandemic, the tiny shop is not allowing indoor seating. Pearson said customers can come inside to order but must wait outside for their orders. Customers also can call ahead for pickup.
But there’s no online ordering at The Philadelphian. “It’s all done by hand,” Pearson said. “We’re pretty old school.”
The Philadelphian • 9860 S. 700 East, Sandy, 801-572-3663.
Matt Hassler and Nick Rhodes quit their desk jobs and opened their first Downtown Philly — or DP — Cheesesteaks in 2008.
The store, in South Jordan, combined Rhodes’ Philadelphia heritage and Hassler’s business experience. But the two entrepreneurs acknowledge they still had a lot to learn at the time.
Initially, they were the only two employees, doing everything from cooking and wrapping sandwiches to cashiering and cleaning.
“For the first six months,” the company website
explains, “the store had no sign, no window decals, completely picture-less bare walls, no TV, and two tired, ragged-looking guys behind the counter.”
Since then, the company has expanded and now includes three additional locations, in Salt Lake City, Lehi and Provo. (A fifth store, in American Fork, closed recently.)
The menu has nearly a dozen cheesesteak options — from traditional with onions and cheese to cream cheese and red peppers and tomatoes with garlic sauce.
DP Cheesesteaks • 83 E. 300 South, Salt Lake City, 801-883-8966; 10610 S. Redwood Road, South Jordan, 801-878-8450; 1626 E. Timpanogos Highway, Lehi, 385-352-7901; and 1774 N. University Parkway, Provo, 801-709-2996.