Excellent Food, Local Experience
I was looking for something more local than Geno's or Pat's, so I took a recommendation from some locals and found a really authentic lunch experience. As I sat at the tiny bar inside eating, no less than 90% of the patrons that came up to the window obviously knew the guy taking orders by name and he knew them. This alone let me know that I was in the kind of place I was looking for.
Location: Excellent. Ishkabibbles is located at 337 South Street which appears to be a great area. There are tons of small, local, independent shops along this street. It is just a few blocks and an easy, very pleasant walk from the tourist area of the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall.
Food: The cheesesteak was outstanding. It had just the right mix of everything for excellent flavor. The bread was fresh, soft, and tasty and did not leak or break up. It ranks right up there with the best cheesesteak I've ever had. The fries were good, very similar to McDonald's fries except fresher and more substantive. The guy beside me got the chicken philly and it looked incredible as well.
Cost: Too high. My cheesesteak, small fries, and drink was about $14. The cheesesteak is huge, but they do not offer a smaller version. The small order of fries was huge also. Refills on drinks are $1, but the server gave me one at no charge. Coming from somebody that can eat, it was way more food than necessary.
Service: Good. The guy taking orders was nice enough, but hard to understand. The server was nice and friendly as well. I did enjoy watching the interaction between the patrons and the staff. It was easy to tell that this is a favorite.
Restaurant: This is a tiny, hole in the wall type of place. The bar in front of the grill has about 4 seats and the one along the wall has about 4 more. There is not much room in between. Most people order takeout at the window and take it with them. The bathroom is small, but clean and supplied. They have a lot of pictures on the wall signed by varying degrees of celebrities. The cook up each order as they come in so it is always fresh food.
Overall: The food and local experience are exactly what I would hope to find in any place. I did not rate Ishkabibbles as a 5 star only because of the cost and the too large one size portions.
All in all, I would most definitely eat at Ishkabibbles again and again. I think it would be hard to find a better cheesesteak anywhere.
Philly Cheesesteak, Fries, Gremlin