Emily Gimpel is from Lafayette Hill, Pennsylvania, and is entering her fourth year on the Symetra Tour. She was a two-time Pennsylvania state champion at Mount Saint Joseph Academy and went on to play collegiately at the University of Maryland.
Emily Gimpel Player Blog:
There are many cities that are known for their unique culinary creations. Chicago has deep-dish pizza, Cincinnati has chili, but there is absolutely nothing like the true Philadelphia Cheesesteak experience. Grilled steak and melted cheese on a toasted roll, combined with the family-friendly restaurant atmosphere, embodies everything the City of Brotherly Love is all about!
Naturally, I was thrilled to embark on a cheesesteak tour with my boyfriend Sean, as well as Dean Schneider (Symetra Tour Senior Coordinator for Tournament Business Affairs) and Zach Sepanik (Symetra Tour Media and Public Relations Official). We started by taking the squad to Dalessandro’s, which is not too far from where I grew up. We practiced our ordering language (“Wit,” “Whiz,” etc.) and received some great topping advice from our new friend Carol before heading to South Philly. What was so neat about this experience for Sean and I was that even though we live so close to Philadelphia, we hadn’t ventured into the city—let alone to sample cheesesteaks—in ages!
On our way from Dalessandro’s to the heart of the city, we passed many of Philly’s great sites including the Philadelphia Museum of Art (home to the famous Rocky Steps), Love Park, the Liberty Bell and City Hall. The hustle and bustle in Philly is always motivating and energetic, which kept Sean and I excited to continue on the journey! We cranked the tunes, and even navigated the hectic Philly traffic and parking to find our next location.
Our second and third stops happened to be right across from one another at the intersection of 9th Street and Passyunk Avenue in South Philadelphia. The corner is home to the epicenter of Philadelphia Cheesesteak lure—Pat’s King of Steaks and Geno’s Steaks. We sampled a cheesesteak from each with different toppings, and also made time for a drink to cleanse the palate at South Philly Bar and Grill.
Pat’s claims to have invented the cheesesteak, and neighboring Geno’s is lined from ground to ceiling with pictures of celebrities diving in to their famous sandwich. Both look awesome all lit up at night, their bright lights illuminating the South Philly streets. With each open 24 hours, I recommend you head there and check them out whenever you feel a craving!
Our last stop on the tour was Jim’s Steaks on South Street. By the time we arrived at Jim’s our stomachs were pretty full, but we persevered, as all good tourists do. Jim’s served us the largest cheesesteak we encountered on the tour, and boy was it delicious! In addition to the first floor, they had a great second floor of indoor seating, allowing for a great view of always-busy South Street.
This was a very different tour than our typical one, but we were so glad for the experience and fellowship. The Philly Cheesesteak experience is unparalleled and I recommend you test them all out over Memorial Day weekend after cheering on your favorite Symetra Tour players in Pottstown for the Valley Forge Invitational. Until then, practice your lingo so you’ll be an expert when the time comes to order up.