Philly's Best Vegan Cheesesteak

Who makes the best vegan cheesesteak in the Philadelphia region in 2016? Help us find out!

Vote for and/or nominate your fave animal-free version of Philly’s signature sandwich through March 18, 2016. The three most popular will be blind-taste-tested in mid-March by our panel of experts, who will declare the 2016 winner!

Any food retailer in the Philadelphia metropolitan area is eligible to be nominated, but the vegan cheesesteak must be a regular menu item as of March 11, 2016.

BALLOTING UPDATE 3/16:

Folks: Technical difficulties in philly.com voting require us to close the balloting today. Thanks to the hundreds of people who’ve cast their votes for in the 3rd annual Philly.com/V for Veg Best Vegan Cheesesteak in Philly contest.

Three venues have been the clear frontrunners: Blackbird Pizzeria, Frankie’s on Fairview and Triangle Tavern. They are the official finalists, to participate in final judging at Union Transfer March 20. The event starts at 3 p.m.; judging is at 4 p.m.

The remaining top 10 vote getters, listed below, had been invited to showcase their vegan cheesesteaks at the March 20 event. Because of the technical issues with voting, however, we've decided that ALL nominees are welcome to bring their vegan cheesesteaks to the event.

Official Rules ›

ELIGIBILITY

Any food retailer in the Philadelphia metropolitan area that serves a meatless, cheeseless sandwich in a "cheesesteak" format (see below) is eligible to be nominated. The sandwich must be regularly available on the menu as of March 11, 2016. "Meat" and "cheese" in the preceding sentence refer to the standard animal-product versions.

New nominations can be entered on the contest page by members of the public, and will be added to voting ballot on upon confirmation with the venue of the standard menu item.

All nominees are eligible to win "People's Choice Sandwich" by garnering the highest number of votes.

Venues new to the contest this year are also eligible for the "Best Newcomer" prize.

VOTING

Ballot voting will take place on a philly.com page available via the address philly.com/vegancontest. Voting opens at 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday, March 1, 2016, and closes at noon on Friday, March 18, 2016. Each voter who registers may vote once per calendar day. Ballot voting is for those who have eaten at one or more nominated venues.

Also, Twitter users can vote for a favorite vegan cheesesteak venue with a tweet containing the venue's name and the hashtag #vegancheesesteak. Twitter votes are open to all twitter users.

Twitter votes (one per account per day) will be added to the ballot votes and an ongoing ranked total will be updated on the V for Vegan blog once per day during the noon hour.

To qualify for the final judging event, the sandwich in question must be 1) in a cheesesteak format - that is, on a "long" roll (at least twice as long as it is wide), and 2) entirely plant-based, which means the filling and the roll must be 100% devoid of animal products. The presence, or absence, or appropriateness, of "cheese"-like topping will not affect nomination, but will factor strongly into the finalist judging.

The top three vote-getters among those who qualify for the finals will move on to the final judging event. Each of these finalists will agree to submit two vegan sandwiches for the judging event. In case of non-agreement, the nominee with the next-highest number of votes will take that finalist’s spot.

The remaining 7 venues out of the top ten vote-getters will be invited to showcase their vegan sandwiches in the cheesesteak tasting event surrounding the final judging (see below). A venue can choose to opt out of this promotional opportunity, in which case all contestants move up one until all slots are filled. These ten venues - the three finalists and 7 semi-finalists - will be showcased in the Daily News on March 24.

One voter will be chosen at random on March 18 to win the sweepstakes prize - a dinner for two at Miss Rachel's Pantry, 1938 S. Chadwick St. This winner will also be invited to attend the final judging event as a VIP. Employees of Philadelphia Media Network and their family members are ineligible for this prize.

FINAL JUDGING

The winner will be chosen from among the three finalists via blind taste test by a panel of judges to be named no later than March 10, 2016. This event, emceed by Frank Olivieri, Jr., will occur on Sunday, March 20 at 4:00 p.m. at Union Transfer, 1026 Spring Garden St.

Each judge will pick a first, 2nd and 3rd place winner; all these votes will be tallied to pick the final winner. In the case of a tie, the winner will be determined by the Finals Judging Event emcee and his decision will be final.

Winners will be announced on philly.com by 12:01 a.m on March 21, and will be spotlighted in the Daily News on Monday, March 24.

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