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Jul 25, 2010 08:36 AM

Philly sandwich tour: What are the must eats?

A month or two ago I posted about Rick's Steaks being closed on a Sunday and the board directed us to Paesano's, which we haven't stopped talking about since. Next weekend we're coming up again but we're staying over night Sat-Sun and we're going to try to do a tour of awesome sandwiches. Since we'll probably share sandwiches at many places we'll be able to pack in a lot of stops! On our agenda so far are Rick's (for the vegetarian steak that I had years ago when I was a full-on vegetarian), probably Beck's Cajun in Reading Terminal Market, and the 10 Arts Lounge for some of their mini sanwiches, to try to see what an upscale sandwich looks like. We aren't big meat eaters but do eat seafood (and might eat a little meat if it's a can't miss) so fire away some suggestions!

We're intrigued by Sarcone's and Tony Luke's and are also really attracted to the whole food cart thing. What's the food cart scene like on the weekend? The philly food cart site seemed to have incomplete info. Mikey's looks like it has an awesome breakfast sandwich but I can't figure out if we'll be able to go there or not. What about the best Vietnamese banh mi sandwich?

Also, is there a killer sunday morning farmer's market with local appeal that we can hit on the way out of town? Or is Reading it? How's the farmer's market there?


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  1. I'd go back to Paesano's and try a couple sandwiches you didn't try the first time, they really make the best sandwiches in the city in my opinion. Their Arista is a better roast pork sandwich than Tony Luke's or DiNics.

    The best banh mi I've had came from Cafe Nhu Y at 8th and Christian, but I'm not a banh mi expert. O Sandwiches (just north of Geno's at 9th and Passyunk) makes good ones too.

    The best Sunday morning farmer's market is at Headhouse Square (2nd and South Sts.). It starts around 10 AM and goes till about 2 PM.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Buckethead

      I just got back from the Headhouse Square Farmers' Market. Despite the heat, there was a great crowd and there a great selection. As for lunch, there are two great sandwich options: Los Taquitos de Pueblo and Renaisance Sausage. You could also stop at Stephen Starr's Stella Pizza, which is across the street from the Headhouse Square.

      Stella Pizza
      2431 Church Rd Ste 1, Cherry Hill, NJ 08002

      1. re: Cruz

        I concur with the Renaissance Sausage rec, it's worth it to grab sausage sandwiches to go. Lunch service starts there at 11am, before that they do a breakfast sausage sandwich.

        As much as I love Paesano's, I'd say go to Sarcone's this time around. But I cannot vouch for anything beyond the Old Fashioned Italian. And, you must at least get a medium (no small) to get their sesame, crusty bread. So, if you get a small chicken cutlet sandwich, do not come back here and whine that it wasn't that good. Stick with Paesano's for everything else, but hit Sarcone's for the Old Fashioned Italian.

        As far as food carts on the weekend, there aren't that many great choices. I've read about and seen the Dapper Dog cart at 2nd and Poplar in the No Libs, but haven't tried it. If you're looking for a late night dog:

    2. a local sports-radio guy just did a philly sandwich competition (cheesesteaks and hoagies excluded, as he'd done each in previous years).
      some related links:

      5 Replies
      1. re: Bob Loblaw

        Nick's Roast Beef is a great place to go. Make sure you hit the one at 20th & Wolf, not the old franchise locations in Old City and the Northeast. The guess the location that Macnow reviewed is ok, too.

        1. re: barryg

          I'd have to agree with Sarcone's and Nick's Roast Beef... I don't know if I hit them on a 'bad day' but the last roast pork italian I had at Tony Luke's on Oregon wan't that great, the roll is always fantastic but the broccoli rabe was tough and stringy and the meat was 'meh'

          Personally, the fact that Macnow has the Schmitter as second place on his ranking is very disappointing to me...

          1. re: cgarner

            Dissapointing because it's too high, or too low?
            I had one once and didn't like it, but I'm a picky eater, and it did have a lot of flavor.

            I just feel like I tuned out of this whole season of food quest on wip... probably because (until this week) hearing about the phils was too depressing.

          2. re: barryg

            20th and jackson for nick's. :)

            1. re: barryg

              20th and Jackson, not Wolf. Still wonderful and birch beer is 'Standard' brand and great. Been going there so long , and this is the truth, was there when Kennedy got shot..

          3. I'm not sure where you're staying, but how about KOCH'S? It's on 43rd and Pine(no matter where you're staying it's worth the drive), in my opinion they make some of the best sandwiches in the city. Their selection and quality of meats is second to none. I personally love their corn beef special, it's quality, quantity, and a great atmosphere it's the best place to start or finish your sandwich tour.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Hungrierthanever

              Koch's is a unique experience, and they make pretty good (and huge) sandwiches, but I have to dispute the description of the corned beef as quality. Is it cold-cut style corned beef, like you might get at a supermarket deli. The bread they use is mediocre, as well (I think it's Amaroso's for the hoagies). The real delis, like Famous 4th St, Kibbitz Room, and Herschel's, serve much higher quality corned beef that is kept in a steam table and has superior texture and flavor. Koch's is worth a visit, maybe, but not for corned beef. Of course we all have our own preferences and tastes.

              1. re: Hungrierthanever

                I wonder how much Koch's Deli rides the past reputation of its late owner(s). I believe Bob Koch passed away in '05, and now the place is outside of the family's hands. Personally I didn't care much for either of the sandwiches I had there in recent years, but again, as barry mentioned, we all have our different tastes.

              2. If you like Paesano "style" sandwiches, I'd try Jake's Sandwich Board which just opened up in center city. Chickie's deli in South Philly does an amazing vegetarian hoagie, while Q.T. Sandwiches in Chinatown and O Sandwiches in South Philly do great Banh Mi's.

                Sandwich Board
                319 E Jimmie Leeds Rd, Galloway, NJ 08205

                4 Replies
                1. re: AgentRed

                  AgentRed, have you been to Jake's? I haven't heard any reports.

                  1. re: barryg

                    I'd pass on Jake's. The people there are nice, the pig head is right in front of you, and then you are presented with a sandwich that's mostly roll, some flavorless hunks of pork, and some shredded (?) provolone. Even trying to drown the thing in extra jus did not help.

                    1. re: bluehensfan

                      I've been to Jake's twice. I sort of agree with bluehensfan - I had to drown my roast pork with siracha hot sauce - but their turkey sandwich was pretty good and not just your typical Boar's head meats.

                      Some people have complained that Paesano's puts too many contrasting flavors in each sandwich so for them Jake's will be perfect, it focuses more on simple ingredients presented in comfortable surroundings.

                      As always, my recc is: try it out, it's a convenient location and reasonably priced. If it was in the middle of Conshohocken I'd skip it, but it's above average fare for center city. Sort of like what Slice is to Pizza, Jake's is to sandwiches.

                      1. re: bluehensfan

                        Agree on the flavorless roast pork at Jake's.

                  2. Wow, thanks for all the great suggestions! We're going to go over them in the next couple of days while we plan our tour.

                    I'm not sure that anyone addressed this yet but does anyone have any info on the whole food cart/ food truck thing? Mikey's breakfast sandwich sounds so good: but I don't know how to find out if/when he'll be open...