Cheesesteak Inventor Dead At 90

A customer opens his cheese steak at Geno's Steaks on June 13, 2006 in Philadelphia, Penn.
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Harry Olivieri, who with his brother Pat was credited with inventing the Philly cheesesteak in 1933, has died. He was 90.

Olivieri died Thursday of heart failure, his daughter said. Despite his heart condition, Olivieri showed up at Pat's King of Steaks almost every day until about three years ago. He and his older brother opened a corner hot dog stand near south Philadelphia's Italian Market in 1930.

Three years later, they made the first version of the sandwich that helped put the city on the street food map. Tired of hot dogs, Pat suggested that Harry go to a store and buy some beef. Harry brought it back, sliced it up and grilled it with some onions.

The brothers piled the meat on rolls and were about to dig in when a cab driver arrived for lunch, smelled the meat and onions and demanded one of the sandwiches. Harry sold the cabbie his own sandwich in a transaction the brothers counted as the birth of Pat's King of Steaks.

Cheez Whiz was added to the steak and onions starting in the 1960s, and provolone, American cheese and pizza sauce later became options in the concoction along with various condiments and side dishes. Pat Olivieri died in 1970. Harry's son, Frank, now runs the restaurant.