Philly celeb judges name best cheesesteak

Posted: April 21, 2008

Georges Perrier gave low mark after low mark. One place got only 16 out of 50 points from Le Bec-Fin's famed chef.

No doubt, out of the 10 celebrities judging Philly cheesesteaks live Saturday afternoon on WIP (610-AM), Perrier was "the toughest critic on the panel," as host Glen Macnow said.

Then Perrier tried Chink's.

"This eez zee best sandwich I have today!" he proclaimed in his unmistakable accent. His score? A 48!

"Wow! Unbelievable!" exclaimed Macnow.

And yet Chink's of the Northeast didn't win.

When the greasy smoke cleared, the victor - by a slim margin - was John's Roast Pork of South Philadelphia.

John's Roast Pork was also voted No. 1 by those watching the judging at Paddy Whack's Irish Pub on South Street.

The results confirmed Macnow's own opinion, arrived at after trying 45 cheesesteaks in 45 days.

Macnow, however, ranked Steve's Prince of Steaks second, with Chink's third. (To see his list, click this link: http://www.610wip.com/pages/351421.php.)

The makers of Macnow's top six - including Talk of the Town, Grey Lodge Pub, and Slack's Hoagie Shack - were invited to bring enough steaks for everybody in the pub to judge.

Pub patrons also got to try some cheesesteaks Macnow never did - and three made the "Listeners' Choice" list. Fresh Works and Not Just Pizza finished third and fourth (behind John's and Chink's), with Steak Em Up just behind Slack's.

Among the celebrity judges, the vote was very close.

Chink's was also favored by chef Matthew Levin of Lacroix at the Rittenhouse, WIP's Rhea Hughes, CBS3 meteorologist Kathy Orr, and former Eagle Vince Papale.

But John's won big with ex-Phils slugger Greg Luzinski ("Wow. To me that was outstanding! ... I gave them a 50!"), ex-Eagle Ike Reese ("Fantastic sandwich!"), and NFL Films' Ray Didinger ("Best sandwich of the day"), while edging Chink's by a single point with Eagles offensive tackle Jon Runyan.

Perrier gave John's a 44, saying he liked the roasted pepper, but "the other was better."

Anthony Gargano, who cohosts WIP's midday show with Macnow, loved them both, awarding perfect 50s.

The final score: Out of 50, Chink's averaged 43, John's 45.


Contact staff writer Peter Mucha at 215-854-4342 or pmucha@phillynews.com.

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