1205 S. 9th Street
So, you have been drinking, it's late, and your friends from out of town want to hit the two most overrated cheesesteak shops. You can make a bad decision or a good one. Though I am no stranger to bad decisions, I would recommend walking a bit further north up 9th street and hitting Underdogs. (Also applicable if you are in Center City, if you are near their 17th street location.)
I went with the Chicago dog, chili cheese dog, and some fries.
One thing I really like is that they don't use a giant hoagie roll that completely dwarfs the encased meat, but rather a hybrid hoagie/hotdog roll that allows the fillings to really shine.
The Chicago Style was not quite authentic, but it was more of an interpretation. No neon green relish, no poppy seed bun, no Chicago dog. Nevertheless, it was a delicious substution. The thick dog with its snappy casing did wonders for this offering.
The Michigan style dog came with beef chili, cheddar, chopped onions, and spicy mustard. Again, this was a nice frankfurter, with tried and true toppings.
The fries were the surprise hit of the meal. These fresh cut, crispy fried spuds had just the right amount of salt and grease. A wide variety of dipping sauces were available, the fry sauce being my personal favorite.
If you don't feel like supporting the pretension for a cheesesteak around the corner, some fries and a dog is a safe bet at Underdogs. And they are open till 3am on the weekend. Perfect.