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The Location: Philadelphia Water Ice Factory, 2620 Georgia Ave. NW, (202) 483-1429
The Price: $8.50 for a whole sandwich; $5 for half.
The Skinny: A second D.C. outlet of the small Philadelphia Water Ice Factory chain recently opened on an elevated porch on Georgia Ave. NW, just across the street from Howard University. It’s a great perch for people watching—and for a Philly cheesesteak. For my money, the Factory’s version is every bit as good as the wiz wit (a cheese-whiz steak with onions, for those novices in the audience) that I recently had at Pat’s King of Steaks in South Philly. And I didn’t even have to stand in line for this one. The Factory actually buys its rolls from the famed Amoroso Baking Co. in Philly; it also chops its rib-eye steak finely, as is the tradition in South Philly (if not the tourist traps Geno’s and Pat’s). Sitting on a stool and jaw-jacking with Russell Price Jr., publisher of the Washington Business Guide, I feel happy to be alive. I’m listening to Price’s tales of growing up in Philly while snarfing down my wiz wit, enjoying the soft, gooey, peppery decadence of every bite. I’m doing this almost in defiance of my new friend. I ask him how the Factory’s version rates. He says it’s good all right, but not the real deal. Everyone’s a critic.