After numerous late afternoon drive by's of 2 of Philly's most popular sandwich shops, only to be met with a Closed sign on the door, I finally had a chance today to visit John's Roast Pork and Sarcone's Deli at lunchtime.
Arrived at John's around 11:30 AM and joined the line that was already backed up to the door. The line is for the grill. No waiting for the already prepared roast pork. And as much as I wanted to give the pork a try, I opted to wait for the cheesesteak that had been touted as one of the best in town. The Phillies had a 1 PM game today, so that contributed to the crowd which eventually spilled out the door and down to the corner. And based on my experience, meant a wait of at least a half hour or more. There's a sign stating that the grill closes at 2:30, a half hour before the whole place shuts down.
And here's why ordering a grilled item, (at least today) takes so long. Unlike Pat's or Geno's or Jim's who have a large grill loaded with meat and onions, the grill at John's is small, and the cook takes orders for about 8 sandwiches at a time and then begins cooking the steak or chicken. That's all he has room for on the grill, and when the guy 2 spots in front of you places an order for half a dozen sandwiches, that means you keep waiting for the next go round. Although I prefer grilled slices of steak, John's does chop up their meat as it cooks, but into much bigger pieces than you will find at D'Alessandro's, Gaetano's, Jim's or at any place here in Baltimore. And that made a very satisfying mild provolone steak, albeit with very few onions, for lunch today. Put it into a Sarcone's roll and yes indeed this is one of the best cheesesteaks I have had, maybe the 2nd best ever after White House.
This was a big sandwich for 7 bucks and there was Black Cherry Wishniak in the soda case too. Just about as good as it gets.
Then it was off to Sarcone's for an Italian hoagie or two for the cold pack, to be consumed for dinner and tomorrow's lunch. The bread was incredibly fresh even hours later, and the meats first rate. Better than Primo, but still in 2nd place to White House, but that is saying something. Although this sandwich travels better than a WH regular. They close around 3:30 or so, because that's when the bread runs out. And forget about just getting some rolls at Sarcone's Bakery down the street. Sold out of all bread at 12:45.