Philly’s Best Sandwiches

It’s National Sandwich Month. Big deal, huh? It’s National Sandwich Day everyday in Philadelphia. Our “flagship” sandwiches are legendary throughout the world. No need to mention them here. Besides, this article isn’t about them.

Philly is the “Sandwich Capitol of the World.” It just is. We’ve often been called The Best Sandwich City in America by countless influential publications. There are a bazillion articles out there that hold our plentiful breaded treasures on a pedestal.

One such article and publication that recently tried to tackle Philadelphia’s Best Sandwiches is Thrillist Philadelphia. While the list is respectable, and the establishments are worthy, it’s missing some obvious and not so obvious contenders. No offense to Marielle Mondon, I’m sure there was a rush to put together a shortlist of credible entries. Perhaps they wanted to bring attention to some of the lesser known options? It just seemed incomplete.

We weren’t the only ones who took “issue” with this list. Well-known Yelp Elitist, Bill McThrill, took his disappointment over this “best” list to Facebook. With his permission, I’m expanding on some of the sandwiches and sandwich places he feels belong on the “best” list as we agree they got left out on this recent list.

The Bolognese Sandwich at Paesano's. Credit: Zagat.

The Bolognese Sandwich at Paesano’s. Photo Credit: Zagat.

As Bill put it, “Any list without a single reference to Paesano’s is a COMPLETE and TOTAL FAIL.” We couldn’t agree more. In fact, in a short amount of time, Paesano’s has risen to sandwich greatness in Philadelphia. With good reason, sandwiches like the Bolognese (Crispy Fried Lasagna Bolognese, Smoked Mozzarella & Fried Egg) and Arista (Whole Roasted Suckling Pig, Broccoli Rabe, Italian Long Hots & Sharp Provolone) put it on the sandwich map and keep it there. They’re all good, trust us. They have two locations – in Northern Liberties and Italian Market.

Meltkraft in the Reading Terminal Market is not your ordinary grilled cheese sandwich joint. They specialize in artisan-crafted sandwiches made with cheese from local farm Valley Shepherd Creamery. Talk about a true farm-to-mouth experience. If the Valley Thunder (12 Month Cheddar, Bubbe’s Brisket And Baked Macaroni & Cheese) and Melter Skelter (3 Month Raclette Style Cheese, Pickled Green Tomatoes, Jalapeno, Bbq Potato Chips, And Watercress) don’t throw you over the edge, we don’t know what will.

American Sardine Bar
American Sardine Bar is an establishment putting the Point Breeze neighborhood on the visit list. They’re doing new and fun things with sandwiches with Chef Scott Shroeder at the helm. The menu rotates and changes frequently, but one item you can always count on is their signature $2 sardine sandwich. We’ve heard they make even the most sardine-averse person a fan.

Fu Wah Mini Market
The Lai family (also of the Vietnam Restaurants) opened Fu Wah Mini Market in University City (47th & Baltimore Avenue) in the 70s as a Vietnamese convenience store. The secret to their success has been the banh mi hoagies; Vietnamese sandwiches served on French baguette. You are not a true Philadelphian unless you’ve had the Tofu Banh Mi. They truly are one of Philadelphia’s best bahn mi sandwiches.

Sarcone’s Deli
Sarcone’s is an icon in South Philadelphia’s Italian Market area. If you’re looking for a real Italian hoagie experience, you need not look anywhere else. There are multiple types of Italian hoagies on the menu. But really sets these hoagies apart from all of the others is the bread. The rolls are legendary and used at “sub shops” all over the Delaware Valley. It doesn’t get any better than a hoagie on a Sarcone’s roll.

Speaking of iconic Italian Market eats, George’s will also immediately come to mind. George’s claims to have the “best sandwiches on 9th Street.” Their tripe sandwich certainly has fans all over the world, including the host of Bizarre Foods Andrew Zimmern.

Cosmi’s Deli
Sure, Cosmi’s is revered for their steaks and hoagies, but you haven’t lived until you’ve had one of their chicken sandwiches. They have 10+ different specialty grilled chicken sandwiches plus 7 different chicken cutlet sandwiches. We highlight suggest the Chicken Cutlet Lagasse (prosciutto, long hots, sharp provolone, & your choice of greens). But we guarantee whatever you get at Cosmi’s, you’re going to LOVE!

We could go on and on, but you get the idea. Philly truly is a sandwich lovers town. We know sandwiches; it’s in our DNA. It’s impossible to get them all on a “best” list, because they’re all worthy. But we wanted to make sure the ones listed above got another mention because they are part of what makes Philadelphia an iconic sandwich town.

What are you favorite Philadelphia sandwiches? What other sandwiches would you add to Bill’s list and the Thrillist list?

Again, special thanks to Bill for inspiring this article.

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