John’s Roast Pork (14 Snyder Ave., 215.463.1951) carries a heavy burden: a few years ago, it was labeled the producer of the best cheesesteak in Philadelphia. It’s an appellation I won’t argue with, though the steak is different than the other prime contender (Tony Luke’s): a soft sesame seed roll, a different meat/bread ratio (in favor of the meat), and much less grease. The quality of the beef, however, can’t be denied; in its raw state, it looks like they’re throwing thinly-sliced prime strip on the grill, and the steaks from here remain the only ones I’ve ever eaten that leave not even the tiniest morsel of unchewable gristle. In any case, thumbs way up for the cheesesteaks, but one can legitimately disagree on whether or not they’re actually “the best.”
That said, no cow-derived hoagie can compete with what John’s really does well, which is the classic South Philly pork sandwich. It’s the most flavorful meat you can possibly imagine, and with sharp provolone (and other toppings as one desires) is a true work of the sandwich art. It’s an absolutely breathtaking way to take a few months off one’s life. Only a difficult location, between a dubious strip mall and a chemical plant, keeps this joint from being packed to the gills on a daily basis (and yet, it’s quite busy), but everyone should make the pilgrimage. This is heaven on a roll.