The Unexpected Connection Between Hot Dogs And Philly Cheesesteak

There are few foods in this world that get people excited like a classic sub or sandwich. Though a hot dog is technically neither of those, it is a piece of meat stuffed into some bread, so it somewhat fits the bill, no?

Hot dogs have earned their reputation as both a timeless backyard grill favorite and a boiled roadside snack. They're mostly eaten on their own, but variations such as pigs in a blanket, macaroni and franks, and corndogs also exist. Regardless, they're one of America's most popular foods: According to a YouGov poll, hot dogs are the 18th most popular food in the United States.

Philly cheesesteaks, on the other hand, have also made their way onto America's top foods list. Believe it or not, they actually beat the hot dog by one spot to come in at number 17. But what if we told you there was a surprising connection between these two meals — and that the Philly cheesesteak wouldn't exist if it weren't for the other meat dish?

Philly cheesesteaks were derived from hot dogs

It turns out the hot dog is the reason the Philly cheesesteak exists. According to Britannica, the sandwich was the brainchild of Pat and Harry Olivieri, who first invented the dish in Philadelphia nearly 100 years ago. Lovefood reports that Pat and Harry, who previously owned a hot dog stand, decided to experiment by putting a different type of meat on the bun. They opted for steak, and once they realized it had major flavor potential, it started to grow in popularity.

The two brothers established Pat's King of Steaks, which was the first food shop of its kind in the city. Per Lovefood, Pat's King of Steaks manager Joe Lorenzo allegedly started adding cheese to the sandwich, completing the cheesesteak recipe. Philly cheesesteaks typically contain Cheez Whiz, though other variations include provolone or American cheese, per Britannica.

The cheesesteak might be more popular than the hot dog today, but some might say the hot dog walked so this Philly sandwich could run.