Is a hot dog a sandwich?
I’ll just that let that question hang out there for a bit.
Aramark, which operates the concessions at the Wells Fargo Center, rolled out a new sandwich last week during the Flyers and Sixers games, proclaiming on Twitter that the “new cheesesteak" is available behind Section 110.
It comes on a pretzel roll, with caramelized onions, lager cheese sauce, and “freshly ground pork.”
Twitter exploded. Everyone had an opinion of the sandwich, listed on the menu as the Fishtown Steak.
“So what you’re saying is.... not a cheesesteak? Just cause it’s got cheez wiz doesn’t make it a cheesesteak. That’s a pork sandwich,” @pappa_10 fired back.
“Sounds like a good sandwich. But that jawn ain’t no cheesesteak,” wrote @yopalfran, reflecting the popular sentiment.
“Don’t disrespect a cheesesteak calling this a cheesesteak,” wrote @Cigtopgun.
“Calling that a cheesesteak is like calling the ‘new’ Phanatic the Phanatic,” wrote @leonfriedrich.
“Just another example of them catering to the hipster,” opined @jeffmiller666, to which @heis27 replied: “Just don’t call it a cheesesteak.... call it a craft sandwich. The hipsters will line up for miles."
“Perfect timing — found something to give up for Lent... and forever,” said @SoupPhilly.
Other tweeters suggested a change in nomenclature, with @BillMeltzer dubbing it a “cheesestork” and @dgrove13 referring to it as “a good old-fashioned Philly porksteak.”
A few defenders chimed in, including @KyleMeager1: “Is it bad that I actually think this looks decent?"
Then came the acerbic comments.
To the front office: “How about a Stanley Cup Championship instead?" said @Sackadelphia.
To those expecting sound nutrition at a sports arena: “My left arm went numb just looking at this photo,” offered @wubarusrx.
To the accountants: “Is financing available?” wrote @domelights. (The tweet did not divulge the price, which at $11.50 is comparable to a regulation cheesesteak in the real world.)
Anthony Campagna, the center’s executive chef, noted that Aramark sells beef and chicken cheesesteaks all over the building.
Using Dietz & Watson’s mild pork sausage in a sandwich struck the menu-development people. “We wanted to have a fun twist,” said Campagna, who grew up at 13th and Oregon.
Then came the name.
“A cheesesteak can be whatever you want it to be," said Campagna. "It doesn’t live in this perfect little box. You have a great roll, you have some really good onions, you have a unique cheese sauce, and you have a protein. ... It’s up to the beholder, like a painting. That’s the way we look at it.”
Name aside, it’s actually not bad at all. While my plebeian palate didn’t pick up notes of beer in the cheese, the sauce was tasty and melted beautifully amid the ground sausage.
The caramelized onions, which Aramark told me require about an hour of slow cooking, were more of a relish — not the “fried onions” found on a usual steak sandwich.
The 6½-inch pretzel roll, whose bakery Aramark declined to identify, provided a decent chewiness and a salty balance to the overall sweetness of the fillings. It also was dense enough to keep my remaining half-sandwich from collapsing during my hour’s ride home.