John's Roast Pork

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11/06 2 Inexpensive 14 Snyder Ave
Roast Pork, Cheesesteaks small sandwiches (on boring rolls)

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John's Roast Pork has been in this odd industrial neighborhood just off of Columbus Boulevard in South Philly for years, well before the recent influx of big box stores like Ikea made it a little less desolate. But what probably put it on most people's radar was its ranking as the site for the best cheesesteak by Philadelphia Inquirer food reviewer Craig LaBan's "Cheesesteak Project."

Johns Steak
And indeed, they make a heck of a cheesesteak, certainly worthy of consideration as one of the best in the city. It features good-quality meat, and plenty of it, excellent cheese, and an awesomely good roll. The meat is thin-sliced, and chopped on the grill (a style I prefer) and loaded into a seeded roll from Carangi's. For better or worse, they do not have Cheese-Whiz, an ingredient I've come to like on a cheesesteak, but they do have sharp provolone, which makes an excellent accent for a sandwich such as this.

Johns Roast PorkOf course John's Roast Pork does make a pork sandwich too, and it's a good one. The one pictured here is a small, served on an acceptable, but undistinguished kaiser roll, the large sandwiches are served on the better, seeded long rolls. They don't offer broccoli rabe, but the garlicky spinach that gets piled on the roast pork Italian, along with sharp provolone, meshes nicely with the flavors of the meat.

You don't need to wait in line with the cheesesteak customers if you want a pork sandwich, you can go around them, and just tell the counter guy small or large (get the large) mild or sharp (if you want cheese-get the sharp) or just order a "large Pork Italian Sharp" and you'll get a huge juicy sandwich with sharp provolone and spinach, on that seeded roll.

Some have complained that the sandwiches are actually TOO loaded, that there's too much meat, and indeed my samples have teetered close to that line. Of course many people like that, but I personally prefer more of a balance than an overwhelming meat bomb.

But the biggest problem is that they're just not open very much. They open early, and close by 2:30-3:00-ish in the afternoon. There does not seem to be much of a system to whether they're open on saturdays, it's probably worth a call if you're thinking of heading down on a saturday. They're never open on Sunday. So weekday breakfast or lunch is pretty much it.

But if you can squeeze in their time window, it's worth a visit for some of the best examples of these signature Philly sandwiches.



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