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The decline of the Italian Hoagie

Just came back from a few days in Philly, and I don't have too many good things to say about the hoagie scene! One would think the quality of hoagies in the vicinity of the Italian Market would be outstanding, but it seems that Philly hoagie makers dislike rain (or something) because when I went last week, Sarcone's was sold out, and the one I purchased from DiBruno's was substandard at best. I was also told that Primo's on Chestnut was outstanding, but I discovered otherwise. I must say that I was impressed by the quality of the mass-produced sandwich I got from WaWa in Horsham (I even got to play with their brand new Hoagie Computer!)

Maybe I'll have to try Ocean City next time I want a really good Italian hoagie?

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  1. What time did you go to Sarcone's? They sell out of rolls pretty early. I can't vouch for Primo's on Chestnut, but I love the original Primo's in South Philly on Ritner St. Chicken cutlet, broccoli rabe, roasted peppers, mozzarella. Yum.

    1. It's true, I was a bit late at Sarcone's (about 3pm), and it was raining hard that day. I also managed to get over to Salumeria in the RTM, and while their hoagie was good quality, it was hardly stuffed, and the roll was nothing special! I know good hoagies (my uncle used to have a place in Flourtown years ago), and when I lived in Ocean City, the hoagie there was so stuffed I had trouble eating the whole thing. DiBruno's managed to forget the hot peppers, and halfway through the sandwich I complained! I know I'm demanding, but come on, when you travel 3,000 miles for lunch!!!

      7 Replies
      1. re: daawgon

        You mentioned you went to Wawa in Horsham. Since you are in the vicinity, how about Silvio's in Hatboro? They make excellent hoagies and bake their own rolls on the premises.

        1. re: YoccosFan

          Silvio's offers the best hoagies in the area, bar-none! I've heard lots of praise for Primos, but I have not been impressed, at least with the Glenside location. And you know, you ruin your hoagie cred with your assessment of Wawa hoagies....blech... ;)

          Altomontes in Warminster has excellent hoagies and other Italian sandwiches.

          1. re: YoccosFan

            Actually, I was looking for Silvio's, but could not locate a phone book, and I was really rushed (only 2 days for the area!)

            According to the guy who owns Apizza Shoals in Portland, he's opening an Oregon location of a new upscale, sandwich/hoagie place soon. He's trying to develope a recipe for the right kind of bread/roll to use.

            As for my "assessment of Wawa hoagies", I was so frustrated at not being able to find Silvio's or anything else on short notice, that I went into Wawas out of desperation, G Goo!

            I must say that I find friendliness to be utterly lacking in Philly folk.

            1. re: daawgon

              FYI Silvio's is across the street from Wawa in Hatboro. The rolls made in house make for a mean hoagie. Nice and crusty, and on occasion you'll get a hoagie on a roll that's still warm from the oven!!

              And, um, this ;) means I was joking....get it, wink, wink......Funny thing, I find Philly folk to be quite friendly. Maybe its just you ;)

              1. re: G Goo

                I'm proud to say I used to eat Silvios hoagies when they were in the small store 20 years ago....then they were really good. But thanks for the nice memory.

                Sarcones--great bread--hoagies...I du no.

          2. re: daawgon

            Is being, 'stuffed' a requirement for a Philly-style Italian hoagie? I didn't think that was necessarily the case.

            That said, I'm lately pretty monogamous to the 'Crusher' at Primo, the peppered turkey w/sliced pepper shooters (w/provolone and prosciutto) and swiss cheese. Excellent bread.

            1. re: joypirate

              Ahh...the Crusher, very good indeed

          3. The original post must have been a joke. I know that most of the posters here are from the suburbs and rarely get into the city, but to suggest a WaWa hoagie from Lansdale or someplace in Ocean City as opposed to a Primo's hoagie is preposterous. For those of you are afraid to come into the city and prefer to eat in Ocean City, there really is little difference between a Primo's and a Sarcones. The rolls are the same and if you deconstruct the hoagies, the meats and cheeses are the same. This reminds me of all the suburbanites who love a Genos/Pats Cheesesteak. Sad.

            3 Replies
            1. re: OlderPhiladelphian

              I would go out of my way for a good hoagie, any other suggestions besides Primos and Sarcones? Ya know, when you need a hoagie and you are not familiar with the area, sometimes you gotta go to WaWa.

              1. re: Hammie

                I swear by the hoagie (and cheesesteak) at the Italian Villiage on rte 73 in Maple Shade, NJ. They use to be in the old Pennsauken mart and still have a loyal following.

              2. re: OlderPhiladelphian

                Well said on your observation, Older. Agreement here on all but your casting "all suburbanites" from the same mold. Absolutes when referring to large groups of people, as in "all", are usually not only a misrepresentation but most always incorrect.

              3. Hey now, lay off the wawa hoagies. I agree that compared to a legit Italian hoagie or any other gourmet hoagie, they are wanting. But for what they are, wawa hoagies do a fine job. More importantly, with a wawa hoagie you have unprecedented levels of control, so if the thing is no good you most likely have yourself to blame.

                As for finding a good hoagie (I’ll probably get flamed for this, too), why not drive just a bit farther and head to Princeton’s Hoagie Haven. Amazing bread, great fillings, fast, reliable service, and unbeatable tradition. Hell, the last time I was there I had them put a piece of pizza in my hoagie. You wouldn’t believe how good it was.

                1. If you want a great hoagie, go to Taste of Italy in Springhouse or Altemonte's in Warminster. If you want to try a zep, the only place to go is Eve's Lunch in Norristown.

                  8 Replies
                  1. re: Den

                    I would also suggest Lou's Steaks and Zeps in Norristown for a good zep.

                    1. re: Philly

                      Lou's Zeps are wonderful. Had one a couple years back. Would definitely return in a heartbeat.

                    2. re: Den

                      Can someone tell me exactly or roughly what a ZEP is? Never heard of them until I moved to the area.

                      1. re: modbetty

                        Growing up in Norristown and eating many zeps at Eve's Lunch on Main St (before the move to Sandy Hill), the ingredients for a standard Norristown zep are:
                        salami (preferably genoa), provolone cheese, onions, tomatoes, oregano, oil, peppers (optional) on a round or cheesesteak roll. No lettuce; no mayo.

                        1. re: Philly

                          Eve's uses mortadella I believe. It's definitely not Genoa salami.

                          1. re: Den

                            Genoa is my personal preference, although any hard salami will work in a zep.

                            1. re: Den

                              Pretty sure it's cooked salami at Eve's. Not a fan of Mortadella- I like my fat evenly distributed throughout so I can pretend it's not there. I didn't recall if they even had hard salami, my preference on a zep and what I grew up on.

                          2. re: modbetty

                            Zep is another name for a hoagie (named after the Zeppelin aircraft - Zeppelins and Submarines were the namesake for the long rolls.) Hoagie is VERY Philadelphian, and I expect the apocryphal story about Italian workers on Hog Island is probably true.

                            For some reason, Norristown "Zep" was popular.

                        2. The absolute best Italian hoaglie in the area is in Skippack at the Italian Village.

                          1. Try Rocco's Famous Italian Hoagies in Reading Terminal. I haven't eaten there in several years, but it used to be my favorite hoagie spot when they had a location in Downstairs at the Bellevue. I think that one is gone, but I know the Reading Terminal location is still around.

                            1. Lee's Imperial is the gold standard for me. Available on Cheltenham Ave (the original) on 17th near Chestnut, and now on Rock Hill in Bala Cynwyd (yay). Lot's of good meats, the right kind of hot peppers, flavored oil (on Ed's, not mine), good roll.

                              1. although not in Pennsylvania, I have to vote for Carmines in Bellmawr, huge hoagies, be prepared to wait during the lunch rush.

                                4 Replies
                                1. re: Hammie

                                  Is that Carmine's or Carmen's, in Bellmawr? Been looking for a good place nearby, haven't heard of that one. I used to really like Bartholomew's in Runnemede (closed now), and right now my favorite spot in the area is Rastelli's in Deptford.

                                  1. re: misterj

                                    misterj, you got it right!!

                                    Carmen's Cold Cuts
                                    42 E Browning Rd
                                    Bellmawr, NJ 08031View Map
                                    856 931 7203

                                    the roast beef is really good, the Italian is better.

                                    1. re: Hammie

                                      Hammie, Thanks for the tip, got an Italian and hot roast beef at Carmen's recently. Good stuff! My family has been going to Casapulla's (in Delaware) for steaks and hoagies as long as I can remember. One of those places where as soon as you open the door, the smell makes you go "I bet they make a damn good hoagie".

                                      Carmen's is like that. So now I have a new place to take the folks when they're in town! I still like Rastelli's though, especially for their daily specials!

                                      1. re: misterj

                                        Looks like this thread has returned yet again. Almost 5 years later, haven't found better than Carmen's. http://www.carmensdeli.com/

                                        They were on the Food Network for cheesesteaks. I think the steaks are pretty good but their Rose's Special hoagie is my personal definition of the ultimate hoagie, at least so far.

                                2. My 2 NJ favorites are White House Subs in AC and Sack O' Subs in Brigantine.

                                  1. Sack O's is a great sandwich. I never tried the Brigantine store, only Ventnor. Something about the mineral content in the water at the South Jersey shore makes the roll they use one of the best I have ever tried.

                                    1. White House subs in AC are REALLY good. I had forgotten about that place. It has some great history too, Rat Pack, etc.

                                      1. Lived in Philly for years - the hoagies at Voltaco's in Ocean City New Jersey are easily the best in the world. Nothing close in Philly. Di Vello's in Haddonfield NJ is pretty damn good too.

                                        1. I work across the street from Di Vello's, and find it average at best. comparable to Wawa. Lou and Ann's is significantly better, on a terrific dense, chewy roll, and $2 cheaper.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: brightman

                                            Well, I know DiVello's has changed ownership and I haven't lived in the area in awhile. I agree on Lou & Anne's - first rate. Where do you work, at the Liquor Store? I used to buy wine there occasionally. Overpriced - but they used to stock Ampeau burgundies...

                                            1. re: brightman

                                              I live in Haddonfield and had a hoagie at DiVello's only once. I said yes to oil/vinegar on the Italian hoagie (of course).
                                              When I got it home it had - get this - mustard AND mayonaisse. On an Italian hoagie!!!! Yikes.

                                            2. The Italian at Primo's is underwhelming. The Old Italian, OTOH, is an excellent hoagie.

                                              I only had a White House once, and I was severely unimpressed - any Italian hoagie containing cooked salami is automatically suspect. As they say, if it's called a sub, it's substandard.

                                              Campo's makes an excellent Italian hoagie too.

                                              3 Replies
                                              1. re: coolgeek

                                                I get the old Italian also. I think the Primo quality may vary from place to place. I was not too impressed by the one in Conshehocken but the Chadds Ford one tends to have more on it and fresher tasting rolls.

                                                1. re: coolgeek

                                                  I agree with your assessment of White House. I've been there twice: for both their cheesesteaks and their Italian hoagie. In both cases I was impressed by the quantity of meat on the sandwich but little else. I found both relatively tasteless. I kept adding salt and pepper and/or ketchup but haven't been back since. I don't see what the fuss is all about.

                                                  1. re: coolgeek

                                                    I agree with your assessment of White House. I've been there twice: for both their cheesesteaks and their Italian hoagie. In both cases I was impressed by the quantity of meat on the sandwich but little else. I found both relatively tasteless. I kept adding salt and pepper and/or ketchup but haven't been back since. I don't see what the fuss is all about.

                                                  2. Don't waste your time at WaWa. The bread is is crappy, the stores are dirty and the employees are surly. If you must do a chain, go to Planet Hoagie and get a real sandwich. There is one in media, frazier, citizens bank park and at 12th and Walnut. good luck

                                                    3 Replies
                                                      1. re: daisygirl

                                                        You really thought the bread at Wawa was crappy? Our Wawas in northern Maryland use Amoroso's rolls, so I assumed that the Philadelphia ones would, too. I think they are quite good and always fresh. From what I read in previous posts, Amoroso's is one of the leading area bakers, so your comment surprised me.

                                                        1. re: SuzyInChains

                                                          I agree with brightman. I also think the quality of Amoroso's is the result of a very good marketing campaign. I find their rolls to be soft and spongy and lacking the necessary crusty freshness that I think is important for a great roll. Makes for a lousy sandwich. Once you have a hoagie, cheesesteak or roast pork sandwich on a great roll (like Sarcone's) you'll never look at Amoroso's the same way.

                                                      2. Amoroso's is a soft and squishy roll - it doesn't compare to the crusty exteriors of Sarcone's or Liscio's or Villotti...

                                                        1. OK all you hoagie lovers, how about a cheesesteak? Somewhere along the White Horse Pike, Route 30, in Western NJ?
                                                          I notice there are lots of suburbs being mentioned here, so if any of you have suggestions, please reply here or on my "Best Cheesesteaks on the White Horse Pike" thread.

                                                          I know you all will come through for nine ladies (and save my sorry reputation as the Cheesesteak go-to person!) - Thanks!

                                                          1. how about chickie's deli? those folks couldn't possibly be nicer and the quality of their ingredients is superb. my husband and i make special trips to south philly [from nyc] just for their italian tuna and veggie subs. we call them the day before and they are ready for us the next morning, each half wrapped individually. they even use sarcone's bread.

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: ericalloyd

                                                              Chickie's will also deliver to center city. And they have the best meatball sandwich I've ever had

                                                            2. It could be that my hoagie standards are just too high for the likes of Philly? I'll bet that the overstuffed one I had in Ocean City was from Voltaco's (it would easily have fed a whole family), and since the one my uncle made in Flourtown was also of such high quality, that I've come to expect perfection on a roll!

                                                              5 Replies
                                                              1. re: daawgon

                                                                If you were impressed with the quality of a Wawa hoagie, I think it's safe to say that your standards aren't too high.

                                                                1. re: Buckethead

                                                                  I was impressed that WaWa could produce that quality product on such a massive scale. Perhaps I misled you to think I'm comparing it to a real deli hoagie? I'm not. When you compare WaWa to your normal convenience store sandwich (7-Eleven), they stand out as something really superior. How many convenience stores have a terminal there to order?

                                                                  1. re: daawgon

                                                                    The best I can say for Wawa hoagies is that they don't suck. They're not good but they don't suck. If you are far from a decent place and you want a hoagie-like product it will do. I can't say that about other convenience store chains.

                                                                2. re: daawgon

                                                                  overstuffed does not equal great tasting or high quality in the opinion of most here. Wawa uses pre-sliced meat and cheese on squishy rolls for their hoagies, so the quality suffers. the ordering terminals have been in play for about 3 years, so we are no longer impressed. what brand of meat did your uncle serve at his deli? who baked the bread? what was your favorite hoagie - old italian, traditional italian...

                                                                  1. re: daawgon

                                                                    In fact hoagies, like pretty much everything else in life, can benefit from a little balance. I've been steered towards "great" hoagies before, only to learn they were so stuffed full of deli meat that nothing else could be tasted. Greenman's in the Northeast comes to mind........not good, just huge. Go for the quality not quantity.

                                                                    I'd say your hoagie cred is now totally destroyed if Wawa and "overstuffed" is what you consider great.

                                                                  2. I agree 100% about Greenman's. not a good sandwich, but lots of it.

                                                                    1. Oh my gosh! Greenman's is still there?
                                                                      I am 49 years old, and used to go there as a kid to pick up boiled ham and american cheese for my mom. I can still remember that aroma! And the pickles!
                                                                      Hey, overstuffed and bland is still better than skimpy and bland, right? (No I'm not talking about me!)

                                                                      1. Still there on Robbins Ave........Athough I'm not a fan of their hoagies, I love that a neighborhood place like that has been there for such a long time. I hope they last another 50 years......if only they'd go lighter on the salami and provolone!

                                                                        1. Sarcone's deli has great hoagies. Chickie's also has great hoagies. Screw Planet Hoagie.

                                                                          But a better hoagie can be found in (gasp) Pennsauken NJ at Di Pascale's Meadowbrook Food Center on Union Ave. The deli is in the back of the grocery. Go before an Eagles game and prepare to wait :)

                                                                          They have Sarcone's bread - except on Monday when Sarcone's is closed. The last Turkey half hoagie I got there had at least a pound of Turkey on it. The Old World Italian has the good stuff: Sharp Provolone, Dry cured Hot Capocola, Prosciutto, Sorpressata, Roasted Peppers and a partridge in a pear tree. (just kidding on that last one...). One of the best I've ever had.

                                                                          1. When I feel the need for a great italian hoagie I go to Campo's and order the mamma mia hoagie.
                                                                            It is all that. They have the sharpest provolone and it is served with long hots and sweets. All the freshest italian meats. It is just all around a great hoagie.

                                                                            1. Wow...hang on people!! Can someone explain to this Antipodean chickie just WHAT is the definition of a Hoagie?? Like, what just has to be included to make it one. And its Italian connection comes from salami? Lived in Italy many years and cant think of anything quite like this I think.
                                                                              I get confused with American rolls/sandwiches and and have been a such chicken myself when Ive visited and stuck to things I really know. Like shrimp salad beef and cheese etc e al. :0


                                                                              1. Well, I've never been to Antipode, sure it's a nice place and all but am sorry to hear you don't have hoagies there.

                                                                                People, like most things involving regional food favorites, will come to blows over what goes in one and what makes a good one. An Italian roll- not squishy white bread, it has to have some structural integrity to carry the load- sprinkled with oil, layered with choice of hard, Genoa or cooked salami, some variety of ham, provolone, onions, tomatoes, lettuce, hot peppers, sprinkle with salt, pepper, vinegar, oregano. Philadelphia tends to call them hoagies, almost everywhere else calls them subs. Localized around Phila. called zeps (what I grew up with) and tend not to have lettuce.

                                                                                1. Getting into the discussion late, but I'd recommend the Italian hoagie at Ithan Market in Saint Davids for those nearby. It is on Conestoga near Radnor-Chester Road. I'm not an Italian hoagie aficionado, but a friend of mine that has spent most of his life in Philly says the Ithan Market version is one of the best around.

                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: jwbausch

                                                                                    The Ithan Market is in Ithan (a section of Villanova) not St. Davids and yes they do have a good Sarcone's based hoagie.

                                                                                    1. re: sixroute

                                                                                      Thanks for the geographic correction sixroute. Although I'm quite confident most people consider Ithan Market is in St. Davids as much as it is Villanova. And I've eaten there many times and I don't think they use Sarcone's bread.

                                                                                  2. If you're in the Pennsauken area, try Macauro's on Westfield Ave. They use Amoroso bread and charge around $5 for an excellent Italian hoagie.

                                                                                    1. The absolute best Italian hoagie I have found in the region is from Cacia's in Hammonton on Rt 54. It is made on their excellent housemade rolls of quality ingredients. I know they have other outlets, including one in Philly, but I can't attest to those. Don't miss their cannolis while you're at it. The place in Hammonton is better than anything I've had anywhere in the NJ/Philly circuit except for this one Italian takehout on the main drag in Bradley Beach, NJ, whose name escapes me. In that place you name your own combinations of meat, cheese, veggies and spreads and they put it together for you on some of the best sub rolls around. Their version of a "small" is nothing of the sort. Now that was truly one of the best sandwiches, call it hoagie or not, that I've ever had. The hoagies from Cacia's in Hammonton, however, are definitely worth a road trip for. A whole feeds four. A half feeds two. Try them.

                                                                                      1. So, what makes a good hoagie lady?

                                                                                        1. As far as Wawa goes, I worked for them back in 1990 (when the hoagie were good ) and over the years, they subtracted the meat contents. On day about 5 or 6 years ago, I walked in and saw a sign on the counter stating that they are rising their prices for hoagies for the first time in years... coporate BS as usual. Guess they couldn't save an extra quater by removing another ounce. Carmen's Hoagies in Bellmawr are the best I've ever had personally, huge for the money and a wide selection of meats to choose.

                                                                                          So saying a Wawa is better in one town or another is silly. Your counter-person has a set way to make the hoagie that applies to every Wawa. Either they accidently cut off too much meat or disregard the rules. The only thing you can hope for is if the ingredients are fresh. How many times have have you ben served with less than stellar tomatoes and lettuce?

                                                                                          Also back in the day, (1990) when you order a sandwich at Wawa, the deli person had the grab the lunchmeat out of the cooler and cut it.... now they "pre-cut" to be faster. The next time you order a Wawa hoagie, order by telling a counter person you want it freshcut and DON"T USE THE COMPUTER. They will put up some resistance but for two good reasons... (1) when you see your sandwich being made, compare the color of your cut lunchmeat to what they have laying around. I wouldn't want my cuts being expose to open air/grems/ warmer temps... and (2) the computer should be disenfected every half hour or more, they always look flithy.

                                                                                          And by the way, the air quality of the inside of a Wawa always chokes me. So for all that trouble, I'll never grab a sandwich there. Maybe a hot dog.

                                                                                          1. Wawa hoagie- okay in a severe pinch.

                                                                                            Silvio's and Primo's among many others - good

                                                                                            Sarcone's and Chickie's-top notch

                                                                                            White House- out of this world. Many different flavors that are perfectly balanced on a roll that is only an hour old. Made in an open kitchen that exudes a wonderful sense of pride and professionalism.

                                                                                            1. HOAGIES IN SOUTHERN DELCO! I know what the Board thinks about restaurants in Southern Delco, and i agree, but we have two great hoagie shops -- Mike & Emmas on MacDade Blvd. in Folsom and the other -- Trio's -- on MacDade in Woodlyn. They are about one mile from each other.

                                                                                              Mike & Emmas does an amazing Italian Hoagie and does cheesesteaks, etc. and is run by a transplanted Italian family. Trios has a great menu also, has a deli counter and uses Sarcone bread for their hoagies.

                                                                                              You won't be disappointed by either and if you are going south on the Blue Route, get off on MacDade, go East on MacDade and you will see Trios on the right after you go thru the first light (Fairview Road). Now that I think if Fairview Road, I have to tell you that there's a breakfast/lunch restaurant on Fairview Road (turn left when you get to Fairview from 476). You will see Java Joe's on your right (next to the WaWa.) Fantastic breakfast and hugh menu.

                                                                                              You won't be disappointed with Mike & Emma's, Trio's or Java Joes.

                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: lxs

                                                                                                Well, as long as we're heading into Delaware County, I have to give the nod to A Cut Above on West Chester Pike in Newtown Square. They use Sarcone's rolls and are every bit as good as Sarcone's in the Italian Market. I personally prefer the Sicilian, but their "Cut Above Italian" is also wonderful. About a mile east on WC Pike is Angelos. The special italian there is also done on a Sarcone-type roll and is terrific.

                                                                                                1. re: lxs

                                                                                                  In Folsom, while growing up in the '50s, we would go to Anna's. I know it stayed in business a long time, but anyone know if it's gone? Great hoagies. Also, another great hoagie place used to be Sue's in Eddystone. And finally, great hoagies also came from Stackey's in Chester and I think that place still exists, although in a different loction. As I recall, the best hoagie rolls came from Buono's Bakery in Delco. All probably gone by now (sigh...).

                                                                                                2. Sarcone's is great, Planet Hoagie is comparable. If you like the soft roll, try Kotchs deli in West Philly. That is the best hoagie you'll ever have.

                                                                                                  1. Is Kotchs the same since the owners passed away? Used to be an awesome deli back in the day. Never had a hoagie there but their corned beef special was out of this world.
                                                                                                    lxs: I will definitely have to try Trios or Mike & Emma's next time I'm going to/coming from Philly.

                                                                                                    1. Cacia's in Hammonton makes a really good stuffed Italian hoagie with meats sliced to order on their own fresh baked rolls. They also have locations in Philly and maybe someone has tried one of those and could comment on it? I've never seen it mentioned. I just had a Sarcones Italian the other week and it was less stuffed than Cacia's but the bread was so much better to it edged out the Cacia's for me. I'm surprised to hear that DiBruno's doesn't deliver a great hoagie since they have access to all the right high quality ingredients. Aside from the lack of hot peppers (also a must in my book), what was wrong with the DB hoagie. I for one really don't understand the hype about White House in AC. I've been there twice and aside from the fact that they do pile it on, I didn't find much flavor in either their hoagies or their cheese steaks. The hoagie was just a huge pile of meat on a roll. It just didn't taste like anything. In Bradley Beach there is a place called Piancone's on Main Street that allows you to custom-build your own hoagies from an amazing list of top quality ingredients on their outstanding rolls and breads. Literally anything you can think of they have to put on a hoagie. Did you try Lee's Hoagie House? They used to be pretty good but it's been a long time since I ate at one. Sorry, but I can't imagine ordering anything from Wawa.

                                                                                                      1. This sounds crazy-- But if you want a wicked Italian hoagie and want to go on a road trip-- There is a rather-famed place where I live (well a town or two over) called, "Farlow's" The owners are from Philly, and make these PACKED hoagies with about 4 inches of meat, PLUS tons of great, fresh veggies, quality cheese, good oils and quality (beleive me there is when it comes down to it) salts/pepper/vinegar. Kick ass in all, but their Italian is a classic. They are AWESOME! But, you best call to get one, or you might not get one, they run out of rolls often!

                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: neilvisrogue

                                                                                                          where is this hoagie mecca called Farlow's?

                                                                                                          1. re: neilvisrogue

                                                                                                            I have not read this entire string but I don't believe anyone has mentioned South Square Market at 23 rd & South. At the deli counter you pick your own roll(Carangi's rolls are available) and let them know what you want. Dietz and Watson meats are available and sharp provolone. Everything fresh sliced.
                                                                                                            The measure of a good hoagie is not the amount of meat but the balance of meat, bread, cheese, greens, onions etc.

                                                                                                          2. It might seem crazy, but the one Italian Hoagie I every so often have a major craving for and have to get is from the Italian sandwhich/food place in 30th Street Station...the one that's near Dunkin Donuts & across the main aisle from McDonalds, I have no idea what it's called.

                                                                                                            It's their house dressing that makes it so addictive and awesome. Plus super-finely sliced onions, chopped lettuce, crisp roll and whatever possible extras you could want. I can't explain exactly why but it's my favorite hoagie in the city, and if I have a long train trip ahead of me it's hard to resist the urge to at least grab a small, if not a large if it's going to be a long day and I need extra to keep me going.

                                                                                                            1. Yellow Sub in Maple shade on Forklanding Rd..... Low class ambience, world class taste!

                                                                                                              33 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: ben2266ev2

                                                                                                                COSMI'S, 8th & Dickinson will restore your faith in philadelphia hoagies!
                                                                                                                Chickie's is also FANTASTIC. These are REAL ITALIAN HOAGIES not some wawa / subway / blimpie garbage.

                                                                                                                Primo, yeah it's OK but not as consistently good as Cosmi's. South Square Market? Are you kidding me?

                                                                                                                1. re: silverbullet69

                                                                                                                  Upon your recommendation, I tried Cosmi's on Thursday. Can't see it. The roll was chewy and it was only mediocre overall. I got a regular Italian. Still looking..................

                                                                                                                  1. re: BBCaprice

                                                                                                                    Cosmi's is really good for cheesesteaks, but I haven't tried their hoagies. My fave is Lombardi's on Ritner St. between 12th and 13th Sts.

                                                                                                                    1. re: BBCaprice

                                                                                                                      I far prefer the South Philly italian from Cosmi's

                                                                                                                      1. re: BBCaprice

                                                                                                                        "The roll was chewy and it was only mediocre overall."
                                                                                                                        really?? thats too bad- I get a sandwich from there at least once a month and they are always great, and always fresh bread, I mean It's sarcone's so it's going to have more tooth to it than your soft wawa style roll...

                                                                                                                        1. re: silverbullet69

                                                                                                                          I am not a fan of Wawa for sure. We are talking real hoagies here. My first clue at Cosmi's that I may be on the wrong track is when the girl asked me if I wanted salt, pepper and oregano. Is that Wawa speak or what? Doesn't a real hoagie come with that stuff? Anyway, thanks for the recommendation but I was looking for something to really blow me away. Sarcones rolls are great but in my opinion they are too bready for a hoagie. A hoagie should have the perfect combination of all ingredients. Using a Sarcones roll overwhelms the sandwich unless you get it scooped. Thanks- any other recommedations would be appreciated..

                                                                                                                          1. re: BBCaprice

                                                                                                                            Not trying to give you a hard time, but I'm really shocked that you found a Wawa italian hoagie better than Primo's. Guess it's all a matter of taste.

                                                                                                                            Try Cellini's in South Philly. I think their Italian is very good.

                                                                                                                            1. re: lawgirl3278

                                                                                                                              lawgirl, where did I say I liked Wawa? To me Wawa is one step above Subway. Cellini's is good? Where is it?

                                                                                                                              1. re: BBCaprice

                                                                                                                                Three reasons why wawa is a step above subway or Quiznos and (in our area at least)equivalent to an average neighborhood hoagie shop.
                                                                                                                                1. Its quicker- sometimes an important consideration.
                                                                                                                                2. The bread is actually not bad (In the Lehigh Valley where I live the bread is usually the weak point of any hoagie or cheesesteak).
                                                                                                                                3.For sides you have a comprhensive choice of Herrs or tastykake products- far more than you would ever get at Subway, Quiznos or a neighborhood place.

                                                                                                                                All in all not bad for a quick lunch.

                                                                                                                                1. re: brookquarry

                                                                                                                                  bought a tuna hoagie there once, sad to say. Their food creeps me out. Once I saw them pouring beef stew from a giant plastc bag into their heating pots. That was it, later, gater!

                                                                                                                                2. re: BBCaprice

                                                                                                                                  Sorry about that, I was referring to the original poster.

                                                                                                                                  Cellini's is on Passyunk Ave b/t Moore & Mifflin (one block north of Marra's). It's a specialty food store & market. Their hoagies aren't as massive as Primo's, but they are cheaper and I think they are very good. My only complaint is that they don't offer sides of sweet peppers (I use those for turkey hoagies). I figure if you're in the neighborhood it's worth a try!

                                                                                                                                  1. re: lawgirl3278

                                                                                                                                    lawgirl, you've got me trapsing throughout the city looking for food. I need a users manual. Love your picks.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: lawgirl3278

                                                                                                                                      Cellini's is between Morris and Moore.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Philly Ray

                                                                                                                                        Oops sorry about the directions. I always juxtapose Morris & Mifflin. Either way, it's a nice couple of blocks to wander for good eats.

                                                                                                                                      2. re: lawgirl3278

                                                                                                                                        Thanks for the reprieve. I think of myself as a hoagie connoisseur. Always looking though.........

                                                                                                                                3. re: silverbullet69

                                                                                                                                  I wanted to report that i stumbled upon a great hoagie in So. Phila. called Joey Joes. The address is 1950 S 15th St. I loved the chicken cutlet sandwich too...

                                                                                                                                  1. re: silverbullet69

                                                                                                                                    Keep in mind that the OP was from almost 3 years ago.

                                                                                                                                    I like a Primo's Old Italian every once in a while, but "the hoagie against which all others shall be judged" came from a place in Cheltenham called Lee's. It has since been franchised, and their hoagies now are not even close to what they were then.

                                                                                                                                    The "uber hoagie" was called The Cheltenham. Huge. Tons of real Italian meats and cheeses, enough onion to drive people away, and lottsa oil.vinegar/spices. That sucker was awesome. We'd stop at Lee's on the way down to the the Vet & pick up a couple to eat at the Phillies game. We'd get on the subway at Fernrock, and have to endure the jealous stares of the other fans who could smell those babies all the way through the subway car. I would pack old dish towels in my purse to lay across our laps when we finally got to the park & sat down in our seats to eat them -- abundant and aromatic leakage! Joyous mess! Of course we positively reeked on the way home as well (like I cared!).

                                                                                                                                    Over the years, the size of The Cheltenham gradually diminished in size & quality. I can't even order one any more because the memory of the old Cheltenham is just too vivid & the comparison too painful. And I have yet to find a hoagie that can come close.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: PattiCakes

                                                                                                                                      I grew up with Lee's hoagies, which I remember being good years ago, but last time I had one was just OK...But for me, the American/ Wawa style of hoagie is sort of a different category (more of a submarine sandwich) than a serious south philly italian, sharp provolone primo/sarcones/chickies/etc hoagie. It's pretty much a different food. Discovering "real" italian hoagies in the city was sort of a revelation, hence my preference.

                                                                                                                                      I also think the Wawa issue depends on where you live. Wawas in center city in the last few years have gone way downhill. (actually most of them are closed now) and the last few wawa hoagies I had were really bad. Lots of stale rolls, questionable ingredients, almost inedible.

                                                                                                                                      But the Wawas of the burbs and jersey seem to have a much higher standard.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: silverbullet69

                                                                                                                                        You are correct about Wawa. Their "hoagie" offerings in the burbs are much better than those in CC, but they still are not what I would call a real hoagie. I have gotten them to take to an all-day class where I need to bring a lunch but have been too lazy to make one; they have been adequate as a sandwich, but they ain't a hoagie.

                                                                                                                                        Many people claim that the bread is the key element, and once you get away from Philly, the bread can't be duplicated. There is a place in Atlantic City called the White House that has a huge following, and one of their "secrets" is the bread.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: PattiCakes

                                                                                                                                          White house is a must any time I am in AC. their Italian with hot peppers in not only huge, but addictive. I'm salivating

                                                                                                                                          1. re: PattiCakes

                                                                                                                                            Wawa used to use Amaroso rolls, which if fresh are good though they are no Sarcone's. A few years ago they "insourced" the bread, and I think the quality of the hoagie overall has gone down hill substantially as a result.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: cwdonald

                                                                                                                                              I just can not wrap my brain around Wawa and hoagie in the same sentence.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: crazyspice

                                                                                                                                                  like I said, as long as I don't think of it as a "hoagie", I can tolerate it in a pinch. And since you can order it using one of those touch screen thingies, you don't acually have to utter the word "hoagie".

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: PattiCakes

                                                                                                                                                    That's like the few times I've been trapped at a Subway and had to order something. They actually have the nerve to call their bread "Italian". I think I just pointed at the picture and said, "Give me that one"

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Philly Ray

                                                                                                                                                      it's insulting calling it a Sub in Philly. Maybe Hoagieway doesn't sound so good.

                                                                                                                                                    2. re: PattiCakes

                                                                                                                                                      HA HA HA!! That's a good one PattiCakes.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: crazyspice

                                                                                                                                                        Twobellies on that funny one, not me! It WAS funny.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: PattiCakes

                                                                                                                                                          I was laughing at "you don't actually have to utter the word hoagie"! The first 2 words I heard that boggled my mind when we first moved here from Maine were: Hoagie and Mall.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: PattiCakes

                                                                                                                                                              Now I am DROOLING! I still have 3 months to go before I get up there. This is so unfair!!!!

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: crazyspice

                                                                                                                                                                Lou's II in Trappe has an excellent Italian Hoagie. I believe they use Conshohocken Bakery rolls, which a lot of places out here do. They aren't the hard Primo rolls (which I think are too hard and you have to really pull to bite) but give just the right resistence to the tooth.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: shellbellc

                                                                                                                                                                  FINALLY! Someone finally agrees with me. No one else seems to be on the same page. The Primo rolls are too bready. When I am eating a hoagie I don't want to have to wrestle the roll to eat it. The Conshy rolls are perfect hoagie rolls because they make it easy to eat. THANKS!

                                                                                                                                  2. Read this entire board and wanted to add my .02.

                                                                                                                                    #1. White House in AC is not worth your time, the "subs" just aren't that great. I mean.. they are decent but not worthy of their reputation.

                                                                                                                                    #2. The place at 30th St. Station stinks.

                                                                                                                                    #3. Wawa is good for certain things - 4am breakfast sandwiches after a hard night of drinking, maybe. But not hoagies.

                                                                                                                                    I would really like to try Sarcone's, next time I'm in the city I'll have to check it out. I live around Harrisburg and man... its impossible to get a good hoagie here, I'd even settle for a decent one at this point...there is nothing even close. Ugh.

                                                                                                                                    1. People, try the Italian at Paesano's on Girard. Not a hoagie in the strictest sense, but my word, it's unbelievable. And they offer it cold or hot. There's also a great suckling pig and rabe sandwich, and a few others that will knock the pants off any girl you take there...

                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                      1. never had a "hoagie" till i moved to the east coast.
                                                                                                                                        a hoagie here in lanc pa. is any sandwich with lettice, onion, tomato and mayo. even cheese steaks, yum! what you call a hoagie we call a italian, and there gross. greasy lunch meat with oil on top. the best i get at subs & six packs, real salami, dry, capacoli, pepproni, and any toppings you want.

                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                        1. re: OLDFATBOY

                                                                                                                                          A hoagie is a category of sandwich, not "a Italian" (sic).

                                                                                                                                          Want to see what a Philadelphia hoagie is? Check out the menu at Sarcone's: http://sarconesdeli.com/?page_id=28

                                                                                                                                        2. I'm disappointed to learn that Ronnies @ 40th and Spruce is no longer. During my Penn years, Ronnies italian hoagies with roasted peppers, and Koch's deli @43 &Locust, were my sustenance in the early 70's.

                                                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                                                          1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                                                            I don't think Ronnie's has been around for at least 20 years. Actually, I've never even heard of it, but certainly would love to have it in the 'hood. Billy Bob's was there when I first moved to W. Philly in the '90's, then a short-lived venture that sold Genji sushi and Metropolitan breads amonst other products, and now finally Cocobanana's.

                                                                                                                                            I'm assuming Ronnie's was on the south-western corner of the block? Or was it where Allegro's Pizza now stands?

                                                                                                                                            1. re: Boognish

                                                                                                                                              Ronnie's was exactly on the SW corner. It certainly didn't lack for business because it was so good, and was open late for bookworms and potheads. Ronnies and Koch's were the best around campus, by far. Do Louis and Bobby run Koch's now? I have not been back for many years.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                                                                Alas, most of the Koch brothers have passed on. The family passed the reigns to a gentleman who catered the latest funeral...sorry I can't remember which at the moment. The sandwiches are still good, but it's obviously just not the same.

                                                                                                                                                hmmmmm...might have to get myself a sandwich there tomorrow!

                                                                                                                                          2. New but related question: Where's the best place within 2 miles either side of the Blue Route to get a hoagie after 6 PM?

                                                                                                                                            I live up in Allentown, but fly out of Philly Airport every couple of months.

                                                                                                                                            I flew back into Philly last night, and wanted to get a decent Italian hoagie at roughly 7 PM or so as I was headed up the Blue Route on my way to the Northeast Extension.

                                                                                                                                            I had my eyes on Primo's in Conshohocken -- never had a Primo's before so wanted to try -- but most Primo's close at 7 PM. That's just wrong for a suburban hoagie shop in my opinion.

                                                                                                                                            I see Trio's in Woodlyn has some fans...and Ithan Market up in Villanova...what others are worth trying?

                                                                                                                                            Thanks - Richard

                                                                                                                                            1. Next time you're in town, look up a hoagie shop in the Northeast called Fink's. Their Italian Hoagie is magnificent. Salumeria in Reading Terminal is also pretty awesome, but nothing compares to Fink's in a teensy-weensy storefront on Princeton Avenue between Frankford & Torresdale. They use Sarcone's rolls (seeded, of course! referring other thread), top notch meats and cheeses, flavorful produce and they make these roasted hot peppers in house that are wonderful.

                                                                                                                                              Are you looking for something a tad more old-school, where the bread and meat textures are a tad softer? Greenman's Hoagies (also in the Northeast, of course) makes great old-school hoagies.

                                                                                                                                              Sarah M.

                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                              1. re: StrandedYankee

                                                                                                                                                Another small shop in the Mayfair/Tacony northeast neighborhood is a place called Jack’s Place @ 7167 Hegerman Street. My golfing buddy brings their haogies to the course and they are indeed the best I've ever had.

                                                                                                                                              2. I had much the same impression of the Reading Terminal Market. It was like common people made the product and then "chefs" took over to make it "right". Too many places now ask you how to make it. Do you want oil? Imported or domestic meats? What kind of cheese's?
                                                                                                                                                I never paid attention to what spices or meats for years. I just go in and say "small Italian please". In the past that was all you needed to say. Then "oil or Mayo" came into vogue. Now you play 20 questions and it still does not taste right. Mainly because I don't know the correct answers.
                                                                                                                                                But to the others who commented. I now live in Hatboro so I will have to try out Silvio's. And to daawgon-- As a kid I remember my father used to bring home hoagies from a place in Flourtown. I forget the name but it was a tavern on Bethlehem Pike. Also Cisco's which is also on Bethlehem Pike. But I am talking about my teens and I am now 64.

                                                                                                                                                Reading Terminal Market
                                                                                                                                                51 N 12th St # 2, Philadelphia, PA

                                                                                                                                                1. Just go to Danny's Parkview

                                                                                                                                                  1. Sorry to be late, but first time l saw this thread. l also feel the hoagies around really have gone downhill. My explanation is the meats. What used to be capicola, a boneless portion from the neck meat of the pig then cured is now usually ham seasoned with the capicola blend, very few people use the dry cured one. Similar problems with the soprasotta and salamis used. The bread, at least at the 1th St Primo's is Liscio's and has the texture of chewing gum. Very few places use the old style meat, Thank God for Cosmi's. Even the sandwich l had last week from White house had a ton of meat, but fatty tasteless crappy meat. Got it home, took a bite and trashed the whole thing.

                                                                                                                                                    14 Replies
                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                                                                                                                                      +1 for Cosmi's! I love that place. But a bad hoagie from WhiteHouse? Please say it isn't so! When was the last time you had one? Do you think it is because they opened the second outlet at the casino?

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Bigley9

                                                                                                                                                        Had it last week. Did not get tuna as usual, someone else bought and brought. Bread was fine, which is my major consideration, but meat was boring and just not good.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                                                                                                                                          That does not bode well for my annual post-labor day trip to A.C. just for my Whitehouse hoagie.

                                                                                                                                                      2. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                                                                                                                                        Deluca, Although not at the same sandwich shop you have noted; I have deconstructed recent Hoagies at shops which were past favorites and/or noted as among "Best of Montco". In these cases I can ditto your comments regarding the quality, or lack thereof, of the meats. A few shops I know offer an upgrade to the "good" stuff. Which is ok with me as the option is there for me to upgrade and for those who don't care to to not. One past favorite and Best of winner was the Skippack Italian Deli. It changed ownership and the sandwich which won the accolades is no where to be found, however the "best of" price is still there plus some. Cosmi's is a must try along with some mentioned as best in the Great Hoagie standoff. Did, do authentic Philadelphia Hoagies have fresh green, ie. lettuce??

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Bacchus101

                                                                                                                                                          For me, lettuce is a must along with automatic tomatoes and onions. One of my problems with WhiteHouse was there was so much meat, no veggies other than their great hot pepper spread was on the sandwich

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Bacchus101

                                                                                                                                                            Damn when did the Skippack Italian Deli change hands? That was, hands down, one of the best places to get a hoagie in or outside of the city. If that place was on 9th Street we'd be talking about it like it was a classic place.

                                                                                                                                                            Also, there's a great hoagie place called Brother's in East Falls in Philly. It never gets any love but their sandwiches are LEGIT.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Cheesesteak

                                                                                                                                                              Not sure when. I do know the last Hoagie from there (weeks ago) was awful! Just not good and when deconstructed the meat was poor quality the sharp provolone of the past was there but poorly assembled and not in the same proportion. I also chucked most of the sandwich. The only possible reason for the lousy sandwich, other than they now make lousy sandwiches , was that a kid made it, who also forgot other components which I needed to remind him to include. Damn shame! Don't get in there often but had always looked forward to their Hoagies, something is not right. Hope on your next visit things are
                                                                                                                                                              better and we can blame it on the kid!

                                                                                                                                                              Deluca, had some one tell me that lettuce was not part of a Original Hoagie, I like you , want the lettuce, onions and tomatoes and fried long hots. Don't know what was original but I know what I like.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Bacchus101

                                                                                                                                                                Isn't a hoagie without lettuce a Zep?

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: cwdonald

                                                                                                                                                                  A Zep, really don't know. I did find the following on regarding lettuce on the original Hoagie. "One legend of the origin of the Hoagie sandwich is tied to Hog Island. Domenic Vitiello, professor of Urban Studies at the University of Pennsylvania asserts that Italians working on Hog Island introduced the sandwich, by putting various meat, cheese, and lettuce between two slices of bread. This became known as the "Hog Island" sandwich; hence, the "hoagie"

                                                                                                                                                            2. re: Bacchus101

                                                                                                                                                              I had a hoagie at Italian deli in Skippack today. I was a little chowhound spy & asked about ownership, & they've had same ownership for 6 years with a previous owner who had it for 6 years. Price was $8.25 for a moderately sized hoagie, but the roll was excellent & the ingredients were top notch. The soppresata (sp?) was great quality. I made the mistake of ordering the godfather, because I am a sucker for roasted red peppers, but did not realize that it had fresh mozz instead of sharp prov. Anyway, I need to return to give a true review, but I thought the hoagie had potential. My all time fav hoagie place was Lee's cheltenham back in the 80's, but haven't been back there in 20+ years. Btw, we live very close to taste of italy & we gave up on them for hoagies & paninis after many attempts at liking them. Had a few good items there, no great ones, and a few truly inferior sandwiches like their eggplant which tasted like it was sitting around for weeks.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: knappy123

                                                                                                                                                                Nice to hear that a previously 'Best of Montco' has potential and that in your opinion the ingredients were top notch. Different sandwich, different day and most likely a different
                                                                                                                                                                deli person constructing the sandwich. Ownership change, 6 years, the word of mouth in the village is a bit behind as apparently are my comments. If the ownership is the same then the problem, to me is a more serious one. Maybe one more try in a pinch when in the area then depending there will be no need to waste my time and money again or
                                                                                                                                                                Wow, was I wrong! Thanks knappy for your spy work!

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Bacchus101

                                                                                                                                                                  Not ready to vouch for them yet. Need to give it a second try. I had just finished up a 25 mile ride on perkiomen trail, so I was a bit delirious. I can tell you the chicken cutlets I brought home from the kids were not very good.

                                                                                                                                                              2. re: Bacchus101

                                                                                                                                                                Bacchus - have you tried Talutto's on Foundry Rd,, just off Germantown Pike or Trooper Road (depending on where you're driving from). Good roll, good ingredients and the meat doesn't overwhelm the veggies.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: bucksguy14

                                                                                                                                                                  Bucks....sounds great thanks for the rec. Will stop by for sure in the near future. thanks

                                                                                                                                                            3. all of these places and NOBODY has mentioned Sam's Italian Market in WIllow Grove??


                                                                                                                                                              Their "standard" Italian is REALLY REALLY GOOD, if you want awesomeness, you can order the higher end meats... don't tell them I told you so... they will custom make your hoagie for you. They make great ravioli and sausages too, and the bread is very good

                                                                                                                                                              Altomonte's bread is maybe a little better, but if so by a small margin.

                                                                                                                                                              (don't order a pre-made Italian at either place... though still better than a Wawa hoagie, just not half as good as getting one freshly made)

                                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                              1. re: cgarner

                                                                                                                                                                OK folks - what's the best Italian along the Schuylkill Expwy or the Blue Route? I live up in Allentown (Wegmans does really good hoagies) but have to head to 30th Street at odd hours later both today and tomorrow. I don't want the hassle of wandering around Center City; I'm looking for something within 5 minutes of that route.

                                                                                                                                                                I know of Fat Daddy's in Plymouth Meeting, and Primo's in Conshohocken. Primo's closes by 7 pm (how stupid) so that won't be an option. Thanks!

                                                                                                                                                              2. Some other opitons you might try for hoagies if you happen to be around southwest Delco, DiCostanza's and Car-Mira's in Boothwyn, and Ro Lynn's in Brookhaven. By some accounts DiCostanza's is the original hoagie shop, and has been making hoagies since 1925 when they were in Chester. They have since moved, but are still run by the same family and make a great, old fashioned hoagie. Car-Mira's also makes a great modern Italian hoagie. Ro Lyyn though has to be my favorite deli so far. They are a little expensive, but worth every penny and I've never been disappointed. My personal favorite is their Godfather hoagie, which gives you a generous helping of spiced, imported meats topped with extra sharp provolone. My mouth is watering thinking about it.

                                                                                                                                                                1. Maybe if the original post stated the decline of the Wawa Italian Hoagie I could get behind it… I’m an old fogey and I remember when they’d slice your lunchmeat to order at Wawa and they’d use good quality meats from brands you could identify.

                                                                                                                                                                  A wawa hoagie now is (in my humble opinion) a hair’s breadth away from something pre-made, wrapped in cellophane that you’d pick up anywhere.

                                                                                                                                                                  I’m sure that ANY of the hoagies that have been mentioned here are still better than the hoagie Wawa makes today.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. Anyone try Pastaficio's Italian hoagie recently? It made Macnow's top 10 a couple years ago, and I was thinking of picking one up before a Phillies game sometime, but would love to get an opinion or two first.

                                                                                                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: tzanghi

                                                                                                                                                                      Tried the Classic Italian at Pastaficio last night before the 'Nova game and wasn't very impressed. Bread was good, but not quite hard enough and a little too light. Really lacking on the meats and cheese was very thin and not very sharp. It's decent, but I wouldn't ever suggest it to someone.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: tzanghi

                                                                                                                                                                        Believe it or not, the Campo's stands inside the Wells Fargo Center turn out a more than respectable hoagie. I've stopped worrying about dinner when I'm rushing from work to a Flyers/Sixers/Nova game and just grab a hoagie from Campo's once I get there. No joke, they're really good.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Cheesesteak

                                                                                                                                                                          Planet Hoagie at Citizens Bank Park is pretty good too. Not fantastic but very good for a ballpark. And the line is always way shorter than Tony Luke's.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Cheesesteak

                                                                                                                                                                            I definitely agree with this. Like Campo's much better and will be sticking to their stuff if at the WFC.

                                                                                                                                                                      2. Want a really really good Italian Hoagie? Go to Goomba's on Rte 309 in Colmar (near Lansdale). They are the best! And their cheesesteaks are great we well!

                                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Schpsychman

                                                                                                                                                                          "Danny's Favorite" at Wegmans supermarkets is very tasty. Bread is unusually good as well - made on site, I believe.

                                                                                                                                                                        2. It's funny this thread has come up again. Today l tried three local hoagies for comparisons sake and found the following.
                                                                                                                                                                          The three were from Primo's, Sarcone's and Cosmi's. Their weight in order was 1.20 lbs, 1.15 lbs, and 1.65 lbs. The bread n Primos was the least successful. The meat in Primo's was the least successful with Sarcone's far closer to Primo's than Cosmi's. Seasoning, and cheeses also best on Cosmi's with Sarcone's second, and Primo's last. It may be a schlep for me, but from now on only cosmi's. It has never disappointed.

                                                                                                                                                                          17 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                                                                                                                                                            Dcm, I enjoy your copious note-taking complete with scale weights as you journey from Paris to Florida via Philly. I think Bobby or Louis' hoagie at Koch's Take Out, 43rd & Locust, would have won best of show in the unlimited weight class in their day. We'll collaborate on an oyster report from Sarasota in two weeks.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                                                                                                                                                              I thought Primo's used Sarcone's bread, maybe not anymore or not as fresh. Cosmi's is great. Have you had Chickie's? Might be better than Cosmi's and in the same neighborhood. Now I want a hoagie for dinner.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: barryg

                                                                                                                                                                                I believe Primo's uses DeLiscio's bread now. I heard that they were on Sarcone's bread a while ago, but Sarcone's stopped selling to them when they(Sarcone's) began making hoagies. Please keep us updated on your hoagie adventures; this is probably my favorite type of sandwich in the city.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: tzanghi

                                                                                                                                                                                  Liscio's it is at Primo's. Chickie's is great for their veggie hoagie. l wear their t-shirt proudly. Enjoy your hoagie

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                                                                                                                                                                    That's right. Don't know where I got the "De" from. Chickie's and Cosmi's are definitely on the short list; will report the results when I try 'em.

                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: barryg

                                                                                                                                                                                  I didn't get a hoagie for dinner that night but I did have one for lunch today. Went to Ricci's on 11th St and got the Old Fashioned Italian. I should have go to Chickie's. Ricci was wasn't bad, meat is sliced to order in front of your eyes and they used fresh Liscio's rolls, but the sharp prov was bland and in general not level of of the other places mentioned here.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: barryg

                                                                                                                                                                                    Sorry to hear it wasn't that good. I've recently come to appreciate what the cheese can do for the hoagie, so I feel your pain on a bland sharp provolone. To me that's what separates the Philadelphia hoagie from the rest(and the bread of course).

                                                                                                                                                                                    On another note, I tried Cosmi's today. Wanted to get to Sarcone's, but wasn't going to make it before 4, so I decided to save it for another time. Got the Sicilian, and it was very good. Only complaint is that it could have used a slightly thicker cut of cheese. I get the feeling that the less-renown deli's are probably the better route when it comes to the hoagie as I wasn't thrilled about Paesano's, but Cosmi's was very good. Chickie's is definitely soon to come.

                                                                                                                                                                                3. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                                                                                                                                                                  I've been to a few Primo's outposts and found them to vary from excellent to mediocre in terms of freshness of bread and construction of the innards. As a chain now, I guess that has to be expected. Loved Sarcone's but haven't been to Cosmi's yet.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: RC51Mike

                                                                                                                                                                                    I would agree with your statement regarding the variances of the hoagies you get at the different Primo outposts, Mike
                                                                                                                                                                                    The one in North Wildwood was great, the one in Lansdale... not so much!
                                                                                                                                                                                    I miss Montella's Italian Market in Lansdale, across the street from Guiseppe's pizza (corner of Cowpath and Broad)...owned by the same family, but at Montella's you'd get an Italian hoagie on their own home made bread with REAL Italian meats and cheese, real cappicola, real genoa salami, and a nicely tangy provolone (sharp enough that you know it's there, but no so sharp to the point that you can't taste anything else) they'd drizzle it with olive oil and it was HEAVEN
                                                                                                                                                                                    Honestly, I've had Sarcone's which I like VERY much, and prefer above pretty much any other hoagie (haven't tried Cosmi's yet though) and Montella's was better
                                                                                                                                                                                    (too bad they can't replicate it at Guiseppe's)

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                                                                                                                                                                    Coincedentally I had a hoagie from Primo's for lunch yesterday. Not from the original, but from one of the surburban franchise locations that are sprouting up like Gremlins. I thought it was very good, borderline great. I'm a fan of Primo's. If nothing else it definitely raises the average of how a sandwich should be made and is great for anyone who doesn't want to venture into South Philly.

                                                                                                                                                                                    I also had a hoagie from the new-ish Sarcone's location in West Chester a few weeks ago. Bread was as good as advertised, but I was really disappointed with the meat. Watery turkey. Bleh.

                                                                                                                                                                                    I'll say it again. The best hoagie that nobody talks about is from Brother's Deli in East Falls. There are some damn good places in this city to get a hoagie!

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Cheesesteak

                                                                                                                                                                                      It's true, contrary to the name of this thread I think this could be a golden era of hoagies. The Sarcone's/Primo's style using of crusty bread, good cheeses and higher quality meats (sorry to hear about your turkey hoagie, but I know Sarcone's doesn't mess around with the Italian cold cuts) seems to be rubbing off, the spread of Primo's franchises far out into the 'burbs and beyond is a testament to this. I mean I can even get a better-than-decent Italian hoagie with Boar's Head meats and sharp prov 24 hours a day at the Old Nelson convenience stores, it's much better than the soft rolls and crappy meats that most hoagies, even the good ones, had when I was growing up. At the same time, as noted above Wawa has gone way, way downhill.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: barryg

                                                                                                                                                                                        Totally agree. Anyone who thinks that Wawa is still a good place to get a sandwich just hasn't been paying attention.

                                                                                                                                                                                        It's totally possible that I caught the WC Sarcone's on an off day since I have never had anything but greatness from the S. Philly location. However, based off of DCM's suggestion, maybe I should be going to Cosmi's instead.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Cheesesteak

                                                                                                                                                                                          They might just use crappy turkey. I only get Italian and vegetarian sandwiches from these kind of places as I think they have the best flavors. In general, I put Sarcone's, Cosmi's, and Chickie's all in the same league. Cosmi's usually wins for being open the latest (by far) and having delivery. Sometimes I find Sarcone's sandwiches to be overly salty however.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: barryg

                                                                                                                                                                                            Don't ever get their garlic one in that case.

                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: Cheesesteak

                                                                                                                                                                                        I have to agree with the Primo's love. The location by me is consistently good with the Italian Diablo. They also throw on pepper shooters and roasted peppers complimentary if you ask for them, which I love. I'd love to try different sandwiches because they have some delicious looking alternatives, but I can't seem to get away from the Italian Diablo.

                                                                                                                                                                                      3. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                                                                                                                                                                        I love that you did this! I've recently moved out of the city, so my spots have changed. We used to get delivery from Cosmi's a lot - unfortunately a lot of the food was very inconsistent but the hoagies were always excellent.

                                                                                                                                                                                        Sarcone's was closer for us, but the hours always left a lot to be desired and honestly, they were sometimes great and sometimes not. We also liked Chickie's, but only had their occasionally.

                                                                                                                                                                                        Now, in the suburbs, Goomba's in Colmar is my go-to place for hoagies and steaks. I recently tried Costa Deli in Ambler and was very happy with the italian hoagie and the steak we got - but that's an Amoroso-style place. Goomba's uses the crustier sesame-seeded rolls.

                                                                                                                                                                                        In fact, I know many city-dwellers will scoff - but, as an ex-Italian Market resident who has always lived in large cities and always found urban offerings generally superior... I prefer Goomba's to any of our favorite spots in the city.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                                                                                                                                                                          Thanks for the heads up DCM.

                                                                                                                                                                                          Headed down to 8th and Dickinson and had one of the best Hoagies ever. Cosmi's is legit.

                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Goomba's has been inconsistent too. My favorites there are the Ole Italiano or Da Underboos, but sometimes they put entirely too much red onion and aged provolone on their sandwiches, which completely overpower everything else on the roll. (they have some tongue tingling sharp provolone at Goombas!)
                                                                                                                                                                                          That being said, without fail, I have always loved their chicken cutlet ala rabe! That's a REAL chicken cutlet they're using, not some frozen deep fried piece of cardboard!

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. We split some discussion of out-of-town Hoagies over to the Pennsylvania board so more out-of-town hounds would see it, but if you've got a great suggestion, please head over here and check out the new thread: http://www.chow.com/topics/835447

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. Primos in Wildwood Crest is well worth the extrra few miles drive and close to scenic Cape May too . . Other wise your gonna have to visit the Red White and Bluemule Deli in Edgewater Florida ( near Daytona ) We have a hard time getting the real tastey Northern line of cold cuts down here ,, but still manage to put out a very reasonable facsimile in spite of this . Old World Italian Hoagies ( Philadelphia style )

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. I know this is an older post, however there is a place in Delaware County, Ridley Park call trio's.
                                                                                                                                                                                                The Old Fashioned Italian is superb!
                                                                                                                                                                                                Sarcone roll, hollowed out to catch all the meat, cheese and lettuce, tomato and onions, peppers...
                                                                                                                                                                                                Don't ask for mayo... take it with oil!

                                                                                                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Well let me tell you my history.
                                                                                                                                                                                                    Born and raise blocks from the store.
                                                                                                                                                                                                    We ordered and enjoyed the food for quite some time.
                                                                                                                                                                                                    Now I live in Bear, DE, but I drive up 2X/month to keep myself grounded with a real hoagie and honest cheesesteaks!
                                                                                                                                                                                                    Almost 50, but still looking to get back to the home area!
                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ridley Park is the place.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. Lenny's Home Plate on Ridge Avenue in Roxborough. End of story... GREAT Italian hoagies (and other sammies.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. The "DECLINE OF THE ITALIAN HOAGIE?" That is the title of this thread, but BS!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Now, I have been tasting these superb items for years (as my waist will attest). There is NOTHING to compare with a White House Sub (Atlantic City, NJ. Formica Bakery rolls.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Perfect balance, and that classic Italian attitude ----DO IT OUR WAY OR THE HIGHWAY!

                                                                                                                                                                                                    WHITE HOUSE SUBS!

                                                                                                                                                                                                    5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Guido999

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Funny was at Whitehouse about three weeks ago and it was PERFECT. Whatever was wrong a few years ago has been corrected.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                                                                                                                                                                                        When I got an Italian sub at White House, I thought it was very odd that they charge extra for hot peppers. Is this common in Philly/Jersey Shore? Not used to it in Delaware.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Red Oakley

                                                                                                                                                                                                          No, they charge extra for SWEET peppers, hot always free and as much as you want.
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Last time in they skipped the charge as l know the waitress, but this is new and the explanation left me puzzled, do not even remember it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Ah, OK, sorry. I always order both; obviously got confused about which was the extra. Either way, strange.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: Guido999

                                                                                                                                                                                                        White House slices their meat too thick for my liking, but.... those FORMICA Bakery ROLLS! OMG!

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I am a HUGE fan of their bread

                                                                                                                                                                                                      3. I thought this thread was going to be about gluten-free and anti-processed food mania!