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The Surprising Link: Hot Dogs and Philly Cheesesteak Unveiled

The Unexpected Connection Between Hot Dogs And Philly Cheesesteak

When it comes to beloved American foods, hot dogs and Philly cheesesteaks are often at the top of the list. But did you know that these two iconic dishes have an unexpected connection? In this article, we’ll explore the fascinating history behind hot dogs and Philly cheesesteaks and uncover the surprising link between them.

The allure of hot dogs

Hot dogs have long held a special place in American cuisine. Whether enjoyed at a backyard barbecue or as a quick snack from a roadside stand, hot dogs are a true classic. These meaty delights on a bun have captured the hearts and taste buds of many.
While hot dogs are typically eaten on their own, over the years several delicious variations have emerged. From Pigs in a Blanket to Macaroni and Franks, hot dogs have proven their versatility in the culinary world. In fact, a YouGov poll found that hot dogs are the 18th most popular food in the United States.

The birth of the Philly cheesesteak

Now let’s turn our attention to the famous Philly cheesesteak. This delicious sandwich has also earned its place among America’s favorite foods, surpassing the hot dog in popularity to claim the 17th spot on the list. But what many people don’t know is that the Philly cheesesteak owes its existence to none other than the hot dog.
According to Britannica, the Philly cheesesteak was the brainchild of Pat and Harry Olivieri, who introduced it to the world nearly a century ago in Philadelphia. The Olivieri brothers, who had previously operated a hot dog stand, decided to experiment by substituting steak for the hot dog. They quickly discovered that this new combination had incredible flavor potential, and the cheesesteak began to take off.
To capitalize on their creation, the Olivieri brothers opened Pat’s King of Steaks, the first food establishment of its kind in the city. It was here that the cheesesteak recipe really took shape. Joe Lorenzo, a manager at Pat’s King of Steaks, is said to have added cheese to the sandwich, completing the iconic Philly cheesesteak. While Cheez Whiz is the traditional choice, provolone or American cheese are also commonly used.

A Legacy of Flavor

Today, the Philly cheesesteak has surpassed the hot dog in popularity to become a culinary icon in its own right. However, it’s important to acknowledge the hot dog’s role in paving the way for this beloved sandwich. The hot dog walked so that the Philly sandwich could run, and we are all the beneficiaries of this unexpected connection.
So the next time you bite into a juicy hot dog or enjoy a delicious Philly cheesesteak, remember the intertwined history and surprising connection between these two classic American dishes. They may be different in form, but they share a delicious connection that has left an indelible mark on the culinary landscape.
As food lovers, it’s fascinating to discover the unexpected stories behind our favorite foods. The hot dog and the Philly cheesesteak have given us not only a satisfying culinary experience, but also a lesson in the interconnectedness of food traditions. Let’s celebrate these tasty connections and continue to explore the rich tapestry of flavors that make up our diverse gastronomic heritage.


The connection between hot dogs and Philly cheesesteaks lies in the origins of the Philly cheesesteak sandwich. It was born out of the experimentation of Pat and Harry Olivieri, who used to run a hot dog stand. They replaced the hot dog with steak, leading to the creation of the iconic Philly cheesesteak.

Why did the Olivieri brothers replace hot dogs with steak?

The Olivieri brothers wanted to try something different and explore new flavors. They saw the potential of using steak as a filling instead of hot dogs and discovered that it brought a unique and delicious flavor to the sandwich.

What type of cheese is typically used in a Philly cheesesteak?

The traditional cheese choice for a Philly cheesesteak is Cheez Whiz. However, other popular options include provolone or American cheese. The choice of cheese can vary depending on personal preference and regional variations.

Are hot dogs and Philly cheesesteaks equally popular in the United States?

According to a YouGov poll, hot dogs rank as the 18th most popular food in the United States, while Philly cheesesteaks come in at number 17. Although both are popular American foods, the Philly cheesesteak has a slight edge in popularity over the hot dog.

What is the significance of the hot dog in the history of the Philly cheesesteak?

The hot dog played a pivotal role in the creation of the Philly cheesesteak. The Olivieri brothers’ experience with their hot dog stand sparked the idea of experimenting with different meats, leading them to substitute steak and eventually develop the iconic Philly cheesesteak sandwich.

Can you find variations of the Philly cheesesteak other than the traditional recipe?

Yes, there are variations of the Philly cheesesteak that offer different twists on the classic recipe. Some variations may include additional ingredients such as onions, peppers, mushrooms, or different types of cheese. These variations add unique flavors and textures to the traditional Philly cheesesteak experience.

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