Seven Philadelphia shops compete in the inaugural cheesesteak competition at the South 9th Street Italian Market Festival on Saturday. When the smoke cleared and the judges voted, the winner was Lorenzo’s, whose shop is about two blocks from the competition.
In second place was Elkins Park’s Foodchasers Kitchen, represented by sisters Maya and Kala Johnstone, and in third place was South Street’s Woodrow’s Sandwich Shop, represented by Kevin Kramer. Other competitors were Old City’s Campo Deli, Korean Taqueria and Rocco’s, both of South Philadelphia, and Reading Terminal Market’s By George.
Competition sponsor Deer Park selected the contestants from online nominations. The bottled water company agreed to donate $5,000 in Lorenzo’s name to its designated charity, the Eagles Autism Challenge.
Former Eagles linebacker Judge Jeremiah Trotter said he became involved in the Cheesesteaks in 1998 when the team took him to Tony Luke’s on Oregon Avenue near the sports complex. “I’ve never had anything like them before,” said Trotter, a Texan from birth to college. “I love them.”
He estimated that seven bites of the sandwich on a Saturday were equivalent to one full-size sandwich.
Also present were Chance Annies, owner of the Tabachoy restaurant, and Michael Bennett, morning show host on radio station The New 96.5.