About a week ago my good friend Kent asked if I wanted to take a road trip to Philadelpia for a “cheesesteak that kicks ass on Pat’s and Geno’s.” I immediately said yes and asked him which place he had in mind. When he didn’t respond, I didn’t sweat it too much for Kent is trencherman to be reckoned with, i.e. one who knows.
We met up around 11 a.m. and got on the road, and Kent informed me we’d be hitting up a joint called Gooey Looie’s, a favorite of the late great Holly Eats. Kent had his order all planned out, a large cheesesteak and several more to go for friends and family. It had been more than five years since his last visit and he was jonesing.
When we arrived in South Philly at around 2 o’clock, we found the truly locals haunt, no tourist trap vibe at all. I was pretty ravenous, but still thought it would be a good idea to get just a small. “One wit wiz, peppers and mushrooms” Kent said to the counterman who quickly interjected, “we only use real cheese.” “I sure hope these guys don’t notice my Mets colored kicks,” I mused as I waited for my order.
Cheesesteaks in hand, Kent and I grabbed a table outside. After unwrapping my sangweech and shooting some photos I took my ring and watch off as one does when eating something this messy. At first I was a little disappointed. For a place called Gooey Looie’s I thought it could have used some more cheese. But gradually the sandwich grew on me. I could easily see putting it in my rotation if I lived closer.
Afterwards, thanks to a tip from my pal Jim, we hit up Stocks Bakery for iced marble poundcake. I thought they would sell by the slice, but they only sell it by the loaf. I scored a vanilla frosted marble poundcake which the gal proceeded to wrap in white paper like it was a kilo of cocaine. I have been eating it for breakfast for about a week.
I’m only just becoming familiar with the work of Holly Eats, but I can certainly get behind his credo: “There will always be another great joint just around the bend.”
Gooey Looies, 231 McClellan St., Philadelphia, 215-334-7668
Stocks Bakery, 2614 E. Lehigh Ave., Philadelphia, 215-634-7344