In the past several decades, Philadelphians have repeatedly illustrated that they’re not the kind of people that you’d intentionally fuck with. In the late 1960s, Philadelphia Eagles fans famously booed a 19-year-old kid dressed as Santa Claus, right before they started pelting him with snowballs. The Philadelphia Flyers just introduced their new mascot, Gritty, a wild-eyed carpet remnant that would slash your Achilles tendons if you said “Go Rangers” within its earshot. And when an off-duty cop got a group of drunk fans ejected from a Phillies game, an otherwise uninvolved man took a seat behind the officer, stuck his fingers down his throat and vomited on the guy’s 11-year-old daughter.
So no, we wouldn’t try to incite anyone within the 215 or 267 area codes—but Burger King is apparently braver than we are. The chain is about to release the Philly Cheese King, a cheesesteak-style burger, which it said was a necessity because of the “fundamental flaw” in OG cheesesteaks. “Burger King is bringing their flame grilling expertise to the traditional Philly cheesesteak recipe,” it said in a press release. “The brand created this innovation based on the classic recipe, using more than half pound of flame-grilled 100% beef, caramelized onions and American Cheese.”
Burger King itself is asserting that cheesesteaks need to be flame-grilled and need to involve a burger patty, and it claims that some Philadelphians aren’t standing for it. Or at least one Philadelphian isn’t, kind of. The BK at 15 S. 8th Street in the city has refused to serve the sandwich, out of respect for the “traditional recipe,” a protest that probably would’ve had more teeth if it wasn’t announced in the third paragraph of that press release. “This restaurant is in the heart of Philly, and decided in order to honor their sacred Philadelphia Cheesesteak, they will not be selling the Philly Cheese King,” a Burger King spokesperson told MUNCHIES.
Philly.com reports that the franchisee who runs that location also owns at least three other Burger Kings—and all of them have the limited-edition sandwich on their menus. (“The other locations vary and are not located centrally in the city,” BK’s spokesperson told us, when asked why those spots weren’t also part of this pre-fab boycott.)
If, by some chance, you walk into the S. 8th Street Burger King and really want the Philly Cheese King, there’s a chance you might get one. “At Burger King, we honor our guests’ wishes so if the guests in Philadelphia want to order a Philly Cheese King we may make [it] available,” Burger King said.
So this entire “Philadelphia Burger King refuses to serve Burger King’s cheesesteak burger” thing seems to be a way for Burger King to get news outlets to remind everyone that it is releasing a new cheesesteak-inspired burger. (This is the 21st-century version of sending out secret decoder rings that spell “Be sure to drink your Ovaltine.”) We aren’t mad, but we also wouldn’t mind if Gritty threw a snowball or two in their direction. They did say that your beloved cheesesteaks were flawed.