Late Addition to My Steak List – with Pizza to Boot

There are probably hundreds of cheesesteaks available in Philadelphia and its surrounding suburbs. I have never had any intention of attempting to try anywhere near all of them. After casting a wider net during the early months of this project, in the interest of saving time and calories, I’ve limited myself to visiting shops that have a reputation for serving elite steaks. I really don’t know how much longer I could go on eating cheesesteaks at the rate I have during the past year.

With that in mind, I thought my list of which steaks to sample was set. I hadn’t made any additions to it for a while. But within the past couple weeks, I’ve seen two different people compliment the steaks at Joseph’s Pizza Parlor in the Fox Chase section of Northeast Philadelphia. They weren’t exactly rave reviews, but positive enough to peak my curiosity, at least in part because I have a history with the place, and you know how nostalgic I am. 

I’ve eaten at Joseph’s a few times, but probably not for around 30 years. And I thought I had recalled reading relatively recently that they were going out of business after many years as a neighborhood institution. But one of the guys who commented on their cheesesteaks mentioned that they have instead been sold to a group – or perhaps an individual – that owns another restaurant in that area. 

What I saw on Joseph’s website was encouraging. The new owners appeared to have put a lot of effort into upgrading their food. I decided to go back to Joseph’s for the first time since the dawn of the new millennium to see how successful they were. 

As I wanted to try both their cheesesteak and pizza, I needed a dining partner and was glad my friend, Robert, could join me. 

Oxford Avenue in Northeast Philly

Although the sign in the window indicates Joseph’s has been in business since the turn of the 20th century, their website claims they’ve been around for “over 50 years.” I’m not sure where the discrepancy comes in. I would guess that it was either something other than a pizza restaurant in its early years or that it started out at another location, then moved to this spot a little over a half-century ago. In any case, it’s been at its current address for as long as I can remember.

I recall the interior being fairly nice, but I don’t remember it well enough to say how much work was done on it before the restaurant reopened. It’s not exactly the décor of a typical pizza parlor.

Joseph’s is nicer than the average pizza parlor.

Our cheesesteak with American cheese – Cooper Sharp wasn’t an option – and fried onions arrived first. We were offered a choice of a seeded or seedless roll. Given my track-record, you know I picked the one with seeds. I read in one of the online reviews that they use Liscio’s rolls. I’ve gone into the fact that Liscio’s bakes their seeded rolls differently for each sandwich shop and restaurant that they service. A few of them I’ve tried have been great, but this one was a little softer than I prefer. It was still fresh and held up well though. 

Cheesesteak with American cheese and fried onions.

I’ve had plenty of steaks with more meat, but there was enough on there to satisfy me, and it was juicy with just enough seasoning. It felt like it could have used a little more cheese mixed in with that meat while I was eating the sandwich. But now that I look at these photos, it doesn’t appear that way, does it? Perhaps I’m used to the added flavor jolt and creaminess that Cooper Sharp packs.

The sandwich had a nice overall flavor though – mostly on the strength of the meat. It’s not a contender for my final list, but I wouldn’t hesitate to order it again if I’m in that neck of the woods and hungry. 

While they’ve made an effort to upgrade the steaks at Joseph’s, pizza is their main claim to fame and probably the reason most of their customers go there. According to their website, they spent a lot of time working on the dough to get it just right before opening for business. Their efforts were largely successful

I didn’t remember to photograph the pizza until we had each removed a slice.

If memory serves me, they have indeed improved Joseph’s pizza. The crust was crispy and a happy medium between thick and thin. It also had some char in a couple spots – which I consider to be a good thing. The sauce was slightly sweet, but again, not exceedingly so, and there was just the right amount of Mozzarella on top. 

While I wouldn’t quite put this pie up there with the best I’ve had in the Philly region, it’s very good, and might well be my go-to pizza if I lived nearby. 

If things go according to plan, I’ll be back in a few days with another cheesesteak report. I’m driving myself to finish this up on time. That would mean putting out the final list by the end of summer. 

Published by BZ Maestro

I live outside of Philadelphia and fairly food-obsessed. Thank you for taking the time to share in that obsession. If you enjoyed this post or the blog generally, please consider clicking the "like" button and signing up as a follower.

2 thoughts on “Late Addition to My Steak List – with Pizza to Boot

  1. That’s a nicely-baked pizza! I’m also a fan of a pie with spotty bits of char; was there also some “leoparding” on the underside?

    The Joseph’s statue would be handy when you need someone to hold your beer.

    Liked by 1 person

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