Cheesesteak Warriors Team Up to Fight Burdensome Regulations

By Thomas Rossomando, National Advocate for Manufacturing and Technology

Pound for pound the best fight in Philly is not Frazier vs. Ali, nor is it Balboa vs. Creed, it is Geno’s vs. Pat’s and who makes the best cheesesteak. They don’t go at it in the ring but settle their disputes in typical South Philly style, in the street. In this case, customers meet at the popular triangle known as 9th and Passyunk Avenue bordering the fences of Capitola playground. All day both small businesses fight for the title of favorite cheesesteak.

Advocacy staff eating a Cheesesteak
Advocacy staff enjoy a cheesesteak at Geno’s.

Pat’s is credited with inventing the Cheesesteak in the 1930’s when founder Pat Olivieri had a modest hot dog stand and decided to send for chopped beef at a local butcher shop. Pat put the steak on an Italian Roll and history began for the Philly Steak. In 1966 Joe Vento believed he could make a better cheesesteak and planted his flag directly across the street from Pat’s. Presidents and White House contenders alike have traditionally eaten here, as well as celebrities; some have even begged to work the grill. Rumor has it that one of our own Advocates had the honor of flipping steaks. People will famously order a cheesesteak with Cheez Whiz and onions as “Whiz Wit” (or without onions as “Whiz Wit Out”).

Speaking with both owners, they had similar complaints each strongly expressing concerns about the increases in healthcare premiums. “Healthcare costs have been increasing annually at a rate greater than 20 percent, which is unstable for businesses in the long run.” Another all too familiar cry that Advocates are hearing around the country from businesses is the lack of a qualified work force. “While there is no shortage of people to fill the jobs available, there is a major shortage of people who want to work. This is a major culture issue that must be addressed in this country.”

While the Cheesesteak wars will still go on, both owners agreed that regulations are needed; However, they prefer their regulations “wit out” unnecessary and onerous regulations.


Advocacy was in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and New York for Regional Regulatory Reform Roundtables September 11-13.

Can’t get to a roundtable near you? Fill out this form and tell us about your federal regulatory burdens. We will pass this information on to the appropriate agency and use it in the planning of upcoming Regional Regulatory Reform Roundtables. 

Thomas Rossomando is the National Advocate for Manufacturing and Technology. Our Regional Advocates in the 10 SBA regions stand ready to hear from you about small business concerns and to help you level the playing field for small businesses in your state.

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