Unbreaded Exclusive: Benjamin Franklin Talks Cheesesteaks

By: Jeff Vogel, posted Apr 1, 2009 at 8:00 am

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Ralph Archbold is Philadelphia’s most famous Benjamin Franklin impersonator whose wedding last summer to Betsy Ross impersonator Linda Wilde electrified the city’s July 4th celebration.  (Get it?  Electricity?)

We caught up with Mr. Archbold who dropped character for just a moment to talk to us about that other Philadelphia icon: the cheesesteak.  When asked where he likes to get steaks, he rattled off a list of great sandwiches including Campo’s, Cheesesteak Corner, Jim’s, Dalessandro’s and more, admitting that he likes to share his patronage among many of the city’s great vendors.  “But the truth is,” he said, “as long as you get it in Philadelphia, the closest cheesesteak is the best.”

Mr. Archbold then retold a story that PA Governor Ed Rendell famously tells when asked about “Philly cheesesteaks” available in other cities.  The story goes:

They start with good meat, but it’s not fatty enough.  Then they use real cheese.  But the problem is, it doesn’t seep down into the bread.  And they get the onions right, but then they drain the grease!

So, there you have it.  From our favorite Founding Father (kind of) to our favorite real-life Governor, the secret to a great cheesesteak is that it must be in Philadelphia.

It also got us wondering what the real Benjamin Franklin might think about cheesesteaks.  Surely he would appreciate a great value, but consider these quotes: “Cheese and salty meat should be sparingly eat” and “Hunger never saw bad bread.” (source)  Eh, what did that guy know?

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    [...] Unbreaded talks cheesesteak with Benjamin Franklin-channeler Ralph Archbold, who tells one of the greatest Ed-Rendell-loves-to -eat anecdotes, [...]

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