How to Order a Philly Cheesesteak

Instructions for Ordering Cheesesteaks in Philadelphia

Learning how to order a Philly cheesesteak correctly and efficiently can make your experience at some Philly establishments more pleasant for everyone involved. While not everyone is hard-core about doing it right, if you’re at a food truck, in deep South Philly, or anywhere there is a long line, it’s best to know what you’re doing. Follow these simple instructions for a smooth cheesesteak experience.

While you're at it, you should also learn about what makes a great Philly cheesesteak so you can be sure you're eating only the best when you head out to try some of the best cheesesteak spots in town.


  • 01 of 06

    Don't say Philly.

    B. Krist for GPTMC

    Don't order a "Philly" cheesesteak. You're in Philly, so that part goes without saying, and it makes you sound like a tourist.

  • 02 of 06

    Less is More

    The rule of thumb is to minimize the words you need to convey what you want. So don't bother saying the word "cheesesteak" if that is really the only thing the establishment serves other than fries. It is implied, so you can just focus on the specifics: Example: "Whiz wit" means Cheez Whiz with fried onions, and "prov without" means (yes, you guessed it), provolone cheese without fried onions.


  • 03 of 06


    No chatting on your cell phone or to your friends in line. When it’s your turn, be ready.

  • 04 of 06

    Don't ask for Swiss cheese.

    You have three cheese choices: Cheez Whiz, American, and Provolone cheese. That’s it. I recommend American.

    Continue to 5 of 6 below.
  • 05 of 06

    Don't ask questions.

    If you really need to know more than what we’ve covered, ask someone else in line, but don’t bother the busy guys behind the counter. Just wing it. Even if you mess up, you’ll end up with something delicious.

  • 06 of 06

    Wit or Witout