the spot: John’s Roast Pork 14 E. Snyder Ave Philadelphia PA 19148
the eats: cheesesteak, roast pork
the bucks: $9.25, $8.75 respectively
the full nelson: after you have tried the greatness of the Roast Pork, it’s time to take on the Cheesesteak
If you caught the Philadelphia episode of Cheap Eats then no doubt you know about the greatness of John’s Roast Pork and their Roast Pork sandwich, THE sandwich of Philadelphia. Yeah, cheesesteaks get all the credit, but the Roast Pork sandwich is as Philly as the original Rocky. That being said, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get your fill of a good cheesesteak and at John’s Roast Pork, you certainly will find one of the best cheesesteaks in Philadelphia.
Making a killer cheesesteak isn’t rocket science but that’s not to say putting out a quality cheesesteak worth your dime is easy nor cheap. One of the reasons why Philadelphia is such a great food city is that much like Chicago, this town likes generous portions. So if you serve up a cheesesteak in the 215, you best not be stingy. At John’s Roast Pork, a cheesesteak will run you $9.25 and once you lift the bag, you instantly know you are getting some serious Bang for your Cheesesteak Buck. Just how much Bang for your Cheesesteak Buck? John’s Roast Pork loads up their cheesesteaks with 12 ounces of meat: that’s 3/4 lb of beef people. Now typically a cheesesteak in Philly is made with Ribeye steak, a quality cut in it’s own right. John uses the tail of a beef tenderloin, which is an amazing cut if you can find it(most butchers grind it or keep it for themselves). Now do the math for a second, each sandwich has 3/4lbs of beef tenderloin tail . . . at $9.25 that is a steal. The meat is cooked to order so expect a wait and when you ask for it “wit”, you aren’t just getting onions, as the local nomenclature implies but Spanish onions. Like any great hoagie in Philly should, this sandwich is easily shareable but is so damn good, you might as well just eat the whole the thing and start the diet next week. All told a simple affair but one built on quality and quantity.
The sheer amount of beef, plus the fact that the you are staring at beef tenderloin tail, locks in John’s Roast Pork as a must visit when searching for some Bang for your Cheesesteak Buck. But I would be remiss to preach on any sandwich and not give props to the bread. Just like it’s porky cousin, John’s Roast Pork scores their bread from Carangi Bakery company. Now most likely when you go to a cheesesteak joint that advertises themselves as “authentic” they are touting the renowned Amoroso. The famous bakery in Philly has become enmeshed with all things Cheesesteak, Roast Pork and Hoagie and for good reason: the ever so crisp exterior that protects a soft yet firm bite is indeed a fine bread. But Amoroso ain’t the only baker in town plus John Bucci, the third generation owner of John’s Roast Pork made a connection with Carangi some 28 years ago and has never looked back. The loaves are indeed big and perhaps for one final measure of Bang for your Cheesesteak Buck, John removes some of the middle of the loaf so you get a heavier meat to bread ratio. Lastly take a look at the perfectly melted white American cheese. John’s Roast Pork don’t do whiz but you definitely get that ooey gooey goodness when you go with white American cheese. Mild and sharp provolone are other cheesy options but trust me and save them for the roast pork sammies. The salt and emulsifiers from processed cheese are what makes a cheesesteak a cheesesteak.
Still there are more than a few shops spitting out quality cheesesteaks in the city of Brotherly Love. So what makes John’s Roast Pork the destination to go for your Bang for your Cheesesteak Buck amongst a sea of competitors? That man right up there: John Bucci and his whole team at John’s Roast Pork. I said earlier that making great cheesesteaks aint rocket science(though making Roast Pork’s like they do kinda is) but if you want to make a cheesesteak to the standards of John’s Roast Pork, you best roll up your sleeves, man that grill day in and day out, and serve up cheesesteaks with a free side of love because that’s what John and his squad does 10 hours a day, five days a week. One common thread in finding places like John’s Roast Pork; celebrated local culinary institutions who have been decorated with awards from the James Beard Foundation, been featured multiple times on television and showered with praise from local critics and bloggers alike, is that someone there is working their ass off to make the food as good if not better than the day before. I’d pay $20 for a hoagie of that. At John’s you’re only dropping $9 and a quarter. And that is Bang for your Cheesesteak Buck right there my friends.