907 West Belmont
Okay look, Philly Cheesesteaks at Philly’s Best don’t deserve to be eaten. They’re sentient, they can reason and suffer just like us – and they know that you’re going to eat them.
So they do their best to look as unappealing as possible. If you’re thinking “Well, it’s a Chicago tradition that my food looks and tastes like marinated 1920’s newspaper shreds with cheese whiz, because if I were to eat something actually healthy, I might as well be a tourist!” then you’re in for a treat.
That is, until the greasy abomination goes down your esophagus. Once it reaches your stomach, how much you feel you weigh is inversely proportional to your actual weight. For example, if you weigh about 300 pounds, you think “oh, this is normal.” But if you weigh 210 pounds, you think “I need to get some exercise after this.” 150 pounds? “Oh god, where’s Jillian Michaels and Richard Simmons to play good cop/bad cop when you need them?!”
Thankfully, the squishy steaks with their little defense mechanisms against being food aren’t the only fare at Philly’s Best. They also serve Reubens that are going to kill you, Chicken Parmesans that are going to kill you, Chicago-style deep dish pizza that’s going to kill you (and their Chicago deep dish is about a 4/10 compared to genuine Giordano’s or something along those lines).
Philly’s Best lines the walls with pictures of their fear-inducing food, which somehow usually costs less than a Subway sandwich (before someone thought up five-dollar footlongs). They also have all sorts of fantastic reviews for their restaurant that you can look at while you eat, just in case you need additional verification that you’re eating something socially acceptable. This is a good idea because in all likelihood, you’ll have your doubts in that regard from minute one.
And if for some reason you like food that wants you dead, you’ll be disappointed as well – because when I ordered a small Reuben, it took in the area of 10-15 minutes for the guys in the back to complete my order.
Strangely enough, there is something I’ll give this location credit for, and it’s coming up, I swear.
Among their other decorations, some of the signs near-literally yell at you. The staff sometimes wears t-shirts that tell those asking for free food to “go scratch a cow’s ass,” the online ordering sign insists that “we never want to talk to you again,” and there are directions on the wall for how to properly order a cheesesteak. You are literally told to go over the order to yourself in line, because if you mess up, you’ll be turned away.
But here’s a conundrum wrapped in an enigma for you: at this location, the service is friendly. And that’s what I’ll give them credit for. As much as they’ve tried to stack up their reputation to be sociopathic food fascists, the order-takers will be patient with you if you aren’t a master of the art of being a customer. After all, who is?
So if you like tradition, meat, and attempting to cheat death, in that order, I say go nuts with this place.