Since 1930, the corner of Weccacoe and Snyder Avenues has been home to John’s Roast Pork, a South Philly institution if ever there was one. Their roast pork sandwiches — made with an old family recipe and house-roasted daily — are the stuff of legend. But their cheesesteak is every bit as good as the roast pork.
John’s cheesesteak toiled in relative obscurity until 2002, when the Philadelphia Inquirer’s restaurant critic Craig LaBan hailed it as the city’s best. And it is essentially a perfect cheesesteak. It starts with a soft and crusty seeded roll delivered fresh from nearby Carangi Baking Company every morning, which has some of its insides scooped out before being loaded with a full 12 ounces of thin-sliced loin tail (which has less gristle than the usual ribeye). Meat is grilled to order atop diced Spanish onions and allowed to brown on one side before being flipped and separated, but not chopped. Five slices of American cheese are then added (sharp and mild provolone are also available) and folded in as the cheesesteak continues to cook; this way, every bite of the sandwich is loaded with meat, onions, and cheese. Fried Italian long hot peppers and ketchup are optional, but certainly don’t detract from this cheesesteak’s perfection.