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CREDIT: Photo by Emily Teel

CREDIT: Photo by Emily Teel

Jake's Sandwich Board

CREDIT: Photo Courtesy Jake's Sandwich Board

CREDIT: Photo by Visit Philadelpjhia

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Where To Find The Best Roast Pork Sandwiches In Philadelphia

A guide to one of Philly’s vastly underrated signature sandwiches

Philadelphia loves great sandwiches. We know them. We love them. We eat them. It’s what we do.

From the world-famous Philly cheesesteak to its less famous (but equally delicious) brother, the hoagie, to the third juggernaut in Philly’s sandwich triumvirate, the roast pork sandwich, Philadelphia is a sandwich-lover’s dream.

So it’s no surprise that SAVEUR Magazine declared Philadelphia “America’s Best Sandwich City.”

There are a lot of great sandwiches in the City of Brotherly Love, but if you want a truly authentic taste of Philly, you have to seek out a roast pork sandwich.

The lesser known of Philly’s long-roll lunches, the roast pork sandwich was born from Italian-American cookery. It typically contains tender slow-roasted pork, usually shaved or chopped, and layered with melting sharp provolone cheese and garlicky sautéed broccoli rabe or spinach. All of this is assembled in long Italian roll that comes seeded and unseeded.

It’s a regional delicacy that, like the hoagie and the cheesesteak, has become one of Philadelphia’s signature sandwiches.

Here’s where to find a few of the best in town.

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DiNic's Roast Pork

One of the most essential things to eat at Reading Terminal Market, the roast pork sandwich from DiNic’s Roast Pork was voted “Best Sandwich in America” by the Travel Channel. The fourth-generation shop builds its sandwich with thinly sliced, juicy roast pork, lining the long roll with sliced sharp provolone and topping it with bright green chopped broccoli rabe. If you like spice, opt for grilled longhots — long green chili peppers — as well. The spot's popularity can mean long lines, but it’s well worth the wait.
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John's Roast Pork

It’s easy to miss John’s Roast Pork. The little stand with its four-table outdoor seating area sits on a triangle intersection in South Philadelphia amidst big box stores, but when you see a marquee of a pig, you’ll know you’ve found a hidden gem. Sure, you could get a cheesesteak, but it was the roast pork that put John’s on the map in 1930. A fluffy, sesame seed-crusted bun wraps around juicy pork (watch the cook ladle some of the roasting juices over the meat as he builds the sandwich) with either sharp or mild provolone. Want a vegetable? You’ll find no broccoli rabe at John’s. They add deep green spinach instead.
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Tony Luke's

A Philadelphia institution with numerous locations in the region, Tony Luke’s offers both great cheesesteaks and great pork sandwiches. The original location is a casual red-and-white checkered spot with indoor picnic table seating at Front and Oregon, just under the overpass for I-95. There, you’ve got four roast pork sandwiches to choose from. Opt for just cheese, either spinach or broccoli rabe, or the roast pork Italian which includes both cheese and the greens of your choice.
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High Street on Market

A new interpretation of a classic flavor combination, the heritage pork at High Street on Market is slow-cooked, the semolina roll baked on site, and, as ever, the provolone melted into it. Besides the elegant setting, one distinctive element of High Street on Market’s version is that the whole affair is topped with fermented broccoli rabe. Spiked with garlic and chili, it’s bracing and tart and it provides both a temperature and flavor contrast to the sandwich that makes the meat and cheese seem all the richer.
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Paesano's Philly Style

What makes a Philly-style sandwich? If the answer is a long roll loaded with juicy, flavorful toppings, then Paesano’s Philly Style Chef Peter McAndrews delivers. McAndrews also owns Monsu and Modo Mio, and his chef status comes through in the combinations on Paesano’s menu. Called The Arista, Paesano's roast pork sandwich come with shredded whole suckling pig that's roasted until juicy and tender. Rabe, long hots, and a crusty sesame roll? You can’t go wrong.
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Cosmi's Deli

Independently owned for decades, Cosmi’s has earned accolades for its cheesesteaks but its roast pork should not be overlooked. The pork is slow roasted in house for hours before being thinly sliced and placed on a fresh hoagie roll. Options for toppers? Choose from sharp or mild provolone, broccoli rabe or spinach. All are good, but the classic sharp provolone and broccoli rabe combo always wins.
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Little Nonna's

Though Little Nonna’s resides in Center City’s trendy Midtown Village neighborhood, menu items such as “Sunday Gravy” transport patrons to the heart of South Philly, an historically Italian-American district. The Roast Pork Sandwich, made with herb crusted pork shoulder, sharp provolone, horseradish aioli and broccoli rabe on a seeded roll from Sarcone’s is another must-eat dish with a heavy South Philly influence.
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Jake's Sandwich Board

Offering a robust lunch for a Midtown Village crowd, Jake’s Sandwich Board delivers. In-house roasted pork is pulled and chopped into a juicy sandwich with broccoli rabe and provolone to build what they call the Classic Pork sandwich. Leave room for the rotating seasonal sandwiches on the menu, some of which include locally sourced roasted vegetables.
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Nick's Old Original Roast Beef

Flanking the entrance of Nick’s on West Passyunk Avenue are two red and green neon signs glowing with two inviting words. On the left side: ROAST. On the right: BEEF. While beef is king at Nick’s, this old-school joint has a handle on the classic roast pork sandwich, too. It’s a dark, divey spot, but their juicy sandwiches — not to mention the gravy fries — have kept fans coming back since 1938.
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Sarcone's Deli

In Philadelphia, the name Sarcone’s is synonymous with good bread. For generations, the family has produced the long rolls that give famous Philly sandwiches — cheesesteaks, roast pork, hoagies - a place to land. Stop by their deli in the Italian Market to try a roast pork sandwich at the source.
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Woodrow's Sandwich Shop

A relative newcomer on the Philly sandwich scene, Woodrow’s Sandwich Shop tackles classic sandwiches with a 21st-century zeal, paying close attention to dishing up high-quality ingredients like aged provolone and long-hot aioli on its rendition of the traditional roast pork sandwich. Order it up — and don’t skip a side of hand-cut fries with truffle whiz.
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The Foodery Rittenhouse

The Porchetta is The Foodery’s take on the classic roast pork sandwich. It comes on a long hoagie roll (either seeded or unseeded) with a generous helping of succulent roast pork, aged provolone cheese, broccoli rabe and long hots for a little extra kick. Plus, since The Foodery is also an amazing bottle shop, you can sip on a beer with that sammie.
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Matt & Marie's

While many on this list have generations of sandwich-makers behind them, Matt & Marie’s are sandwich upstarts. The idea behind their three shops? A modern take on Italian classics. They call their classic roast pork sandwich the Testarossa, and while the sesame seeded bun is the same, you’ll find an array of punchy flavors — pancetta, roasted long hots, and a pepperoncini aioli — in addition to the thinly sliced pork and provolone.
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Johnny's Hots

This slim little take-out window on the edge of Fishtown is best known for its early morning hours, its breakfast sandwiches, its hot sausages, and its hot dogs, but it holds its own with a cheesesteak and a roast pork as well. Best of all? They don’t play favorites with toppings. There’s mild or sharp provolone, long hots, roasted peppers, cherry peppers, sweet peppers and either broccoli rabe or spinach. Add as many or as few as you prefer, and take your custom sandwich for the road.
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Shank's Original

Shank & Evelyn’s opened in the Italian Market in 1962, and decades later, the family still serves beloved sandwiches of all kinds. Though they have moved operations to Columbus Boulevard, they still serve their classic roast pork combo with either provolone or American cheese. Another option: Go for the roast pork Italiano with sharp provolone and broccoli rabe or spinach.
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George's Sandwich Shop

The restaurant motto is “Once you try them, you’ll always buy them,” and that’s served true at George’s for more than 75 years. A South Philly stalwart and Italian Market staple, George’s Sandwich Shop passes its traditional roast pork sandwiches — and other classics like tripe, cheesesteaks and meatballs — through an order window to hungry shoppers. (Read: no seating)
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