The $20 Diner’s Guide to the Best Sandwiches in Philadelphia


  • Sarcone’s Deli
  • Ba Le Bakery
  • Cosmi’s Deli

Roast Pork:

  • John’s Roast Pork
  • Tommy DiNic’s
  • Tony Luke’s
  • Paesano’s Philly Style


  • Pat’s King of Steaks
  • Jim’s Steaks
  • Shank’s Original

Everything else:

  • High Street on Market
  • McNally’s Tavern
  • American Sardine Bar
  • Meltkraft
  • Stogie Joe’s Tavern


The Fresh Mozz sandwich at MeltKraft inside Reading Terminal Market. (Neal Santos For The Washington Post)

The Fresh Mozz sandwich at MeltKraft inside Reading Terminal Market. (Neal Santos For The Washington Post)



To paraphrase one J. Alfred Prufrock, Philadelphians measure out their lives in Italian-style sandwiches.
Casey Patten, co-founder of Taylor Gourmet, the Washington hoagie chain with a Philly soul, remembers a sandwich accompanying every important or mundane moment of his childhood in the City of Brotherly Love. Heading to the beach? Grab a roast pork. Celebrating first communion? Grab a hoagie. Trying to forget a crushing Eagles loss? Grab a cheesesteak.

“Every great experience always had a sandwich tied to it,” says Patten, who grew up in nearby Chester, Pa. A great experience, to Patten’s way of thinking, could include everything from a Phillies walk-off homer to that last lazy day in class before summer break.

“The last day of school, what did you do?” he asks rhetorically. “Your mom or dad picked you up and you went to get a sandwich.”

Depending on your political persuasion, the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia (July 25-28) could qualify as a great experience. But even if you view it as a giant blue donkey defiling the city, visitors and Philadelphians alike will need multiple sandwiches to get through the week: Some to celebrate Hillary Clinton’s nomination and her historic chase for the Oval Office. Some to mourn what might have been for Berniacs. And some to calm your nerves as all those invading Democrats clog the streets, the airport and, yes, the hoagie shops.

As background for the uninitiated, Philadelphia’s famous sandwich culture can be divided into four general categories: roast pork, hoagies, cheesesteaks and everything else. (Hold those D-cell batteries, Philly natives; I know you also love chicken cutlets, roast beef sandwiches, pizza steaks and many others, but I’m working in broad strokes, okay?) The first three sandwiches have their roots, one way or another, in the city’s Italian American community, which long ago leaned on its Old World knowledge to create this New World breadbasket.

All who love golden rolls stuffed fat with meat, cheese and other good things will inevitably, inexorably, make their way to Philadelphia, this paradise on earth for the sandwich-obsessed. Some of those people may be in town for a convention.

Read the full article here.

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