I Got Yelled At In South Philly

Misteak. Get it?

While Mr. Darcy and I were visiting East, his family insisted on taking me for my first Philly Cheesesteak experience. Now it needs to be stated that Mr. Darcy’s family is from South Jersey. His sister’s family is about a 15 minute drive over a bridge to South Philly. And they take their cheesesteaks very seriously.

On the car ride over I was given the history of the battle between Geno’s and Pat’s- two establishments that serve cheesesteaks and are directly across the street from one another. Pat’s is more understated while Geno’s is a neon monstrosity. Like a girl wearing way too much make up and sausage-casing tight close, Gino’s definitely looks like it’s trying too hard to be noticed. I suppose the Darcy family’s opinions have been ingrained in me as they are tried and true Pat’s fans. I’m pretty sure Mr. Darcy’s dad would  promptly remove me from the genealogy tree if I were to venture over to Geno’s.

Side Note: The Food Network awarded Pat’s Best Cheesesteak over Geno’s.

There is a particular way to order at Pat’s and if you mess it up, they can and will send you to the back of the line. Mind you, this line is often wrapped around the block and then some. I started to panic. I freak out in line at Starbucks about ordering in a timely and correct fashion and I go there enough that I get ample practice and yet I STILL INTERNALLY WIG OUT.  I hate holding up a line or inconveniencing people. And here I am venturing into South Philly with very strict instructions on how to order a cheesesteak.

Hold me.

Pat’s has a sign that informs you how to order:

Don't Fuck This Up

So we pile out of the car and make our way to the line. I’m trying to decide between cheese whiz and American. I’m considering mushrooms. I’m asking Mr. Darcy and his sister where I say “mushrooms” because the instructions don’t tell you. OHGODIAMGOINGTOMESSUP! His sister does the ordering for most of the family and then turns to me.

I say, “I’ll have a mushroom cheesesteak wit. . . “

The counter guy interrupts, “LADY!” and gives me quite a look of disdain.

Apparently you never utter the word “cheesesteak” while ordering. Well fuck me for trying to be clear. His sister takes over ordering for me saying to the guy, “She’s not from here.” I sheepishly stepped out of line.

Later, after we ordered fries and drinks, I was looking for ketchup and as I stood by the condiment table the same guy from behind the counter called out to me, “LADY!” then shoved a small plastic cup out the window towards me while rolling his eyes. I was so flustered I squirted mustard in the cup and walked away. I didn’t even really want mustard.

Eating a sandwich shouldn’t be so stressful.

His family proceeded to rib me for my flummoxed order. I finally let out, “I CHOKED, OK!? The pressure got to me!”

The Verdict? It was a good sandwich but I should have got the whiz with no mushrooms.

Next time I’ll order like this: “Wit. Whiz.”


28 thoughts on “I Got Yelled At In South Philly

  1. I doubt I’d have done any better than you, but…

    …they sound kinda rude. If I were you, I’d probably have written a similar post about this, then emailed the link to the owner with the subject line: “Does Pat’s really want to piss off the out-of-towners who have blogs?”

    I hope it was at least tasty. I loved visiting Philly, but I never got a cheesesteak [had the knockoff a few times in NYC though].

  2. It’s not that they want to abuse you, it’s that they are busy and it is the East coast.
    I am a witout whiz, myself. And having been to both Gino’s and Pat’s, I prefer Pat’s.

  3. ha! i love this. i went through the same experience back when i went to manfriend’s hometown of PA a couple years ago. he’s a big pat’s fan himself. i’ve now tried both and agree, pat’s is the way to go!

  4. Seems pretty straightforward. The cheesesteak chain in the East Bay adds the stress of deciding size and peppers. And they come with American.

  5. This would seriously stress me out. I often make my husband order for me at starbucks because of one time about 15 years ago when I got yelled at by one person because I said “large” instead of whatever the word is that they use for it. See? I still don’t know. I would totally get sent to the back of the line because I would feel so much pressure not to mess it up that I would definitely mess it up.

  6. Oh my, THANK YOU for saying you freak out when having to order things too! I thought it was just me! Just like you: even in places I’ve been to a million times I still get a little stressed about messing up the order and upsetting/confusing everyone. It’s insane, I know, but at least I’m not the only insane one now 😉 Did you blush when they said “Lady!” to you like that? I’d have gone bright red from embarrassment (something I also hate happening!).

  7. This kind of pretentious bullshit masquerading as “local charm” always makes me want to punch somebody in the face. At first when I ran across this crap I just took my lumps and endured the screaming. But, given the amount of travel I do, you eventually just get tired of it. The last time I had to go through this was while ordering a slice of pizza (YES, PIZZA!). I didn’t understand the sausage menu options and was confused as to what I say to have NO sausage on my slice (being a vegetarian and all). Suffice to say that after getting berated for no good reason, I ended up screaming “YOU CAN STUFF THE SAUSAGE UP YOUR ASS!” and stormed out. Life is too short for this kind of bullshit, and NO food is worth being yelled at over. I find myself saying “fuck it” more and more as I get older, and am far happier because of it! 🙂

  8. I’m with Dave. Nice to have a local item that the locals have a special way of ordering, but to take it to that extreme and not make allowances for, or worse, to point out the “mistakes” of others, is ridiculous. At that first LADY, I would have told him to shove his steak where the sun don;t shine (well, actually, i would have teared up, turned red and walked away, let’s be real. But I would have wanted to tell him to shove it)

  9. OMG. I would have gone off on that rude counter person. Treating paying customers like that… just not right. Then again, I’m Canadian, and we’re known for politeness generally.

    I live in a city with two universities and a community college, and there are many students from other countries who come here to get degrees. There are also a lot of Asian restaurants around here as well, and one of the better-known Chinese restaurants has a bad rep among the Chinese students because they *won’t serve them* and are rude. I don’t understand treating customers like that, frankly, in any city, no matter how good the food may be.

  10. My dad is from Philly… and first of all, that is just the way they are there. People from Philly don’t realize how rude they come accross…. it is just the way they grew up. Second of all, he was probably just playing around with you… think of it as part of the charm… kind of like the Soup Nazi from Seinfeld.

    I have been to Pats and it was soooo yummy.

  11. When you said you went East for Thanksgiving, I didn’t realize it was THAT far East! (I’m sure you mentioned this somewhere before and I should have paid attention)
    There is a reason I prefer working with our West coast team over our East coast team. That’s all I’m saying. 😉
    (oh yeah, and don’t ever order a hot dog with ketchup in Chicago!)

  12. Ha! Man, it is an experience, isn’t it? Good to try once, but I am not an East coaster and I’ll admit it. Someone else can do the ordering! 🙂

  13. wow! thats not very cool!

    cheesesteak is good! itd be awesome to be known for cheesesteak and not fried chicken! my town was on the challenge for their chicken!

    Look for our burgers soon!

  14. This is kind of like the French dip sandwich battle between Philippe’s and Cole’s in L.A. I want two restaurants to develop a rivalry over a vegetarian sandwich so I can weigh in!

  15. Wow. I think a certain Cheesesteak establishment is taking themselves WAY too seriously. There is no way I would take verbal abuse just for the “honor” of being a paying customer. I’d have told him to shove his cheesesteak up his ass.

  16. Awww… it’s all part of the Philly experience 🙂 I’m a Geno’s fan… American wit, all the way! Did you get a chance to do any sight-seeing in Philly?

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