Few people outside of South Philly locals knew of it.
Then, four years ago, Craig Laban grabbed four Lower Merion High School seniors and tried to find the best cheesesteak in Philadelphia. What they found was John's Roast Pork.
What we discovered was a rarity in second-generation owner John Bucci Jr.: a cook who knows what to do with a griddle, who plays the searing hot spots and cooler regions of his flat-top like a virtuoso. Frying each batch of meat and onions to order, deftly seasoning his steaks, strategically crumbling and folding his cheese into the middle, Bucci packed the marvelous seeded rolls from Carangi Baking Co. with nearly a pound of explosive flavors.Since then, a lot more people have been making the trek to the odd-shaped lot amidst South Philadelphia’s burgeoning borough of big box stores.
Philadelphia Magazine heaped on the praise.
Details Magazine called the Roast Pork one of the 22 best sandwiches in the country.
Earlier this year, the estimable James Beard Foundation gave John's one of its distinguished “America’s Classics” awards.
And now the New York Times has repped John’s in their Sunday Travel Section, in another piece on Philadelphia.
O.K., O.K., two in the afternoon is a bit early to arrive in any city on a Friday, but the cheesesteaks at John's Roast Pork (14 East Snyder Avenue, 215-463-1951), which closes at 3 o’clock sharp, are worth it. […] The 76-year-old luncheonette makes each cheesesteak to order, folding in the cheese and onions as the rib eye spits and sizzles on the grill ($6.25).Well done. And we agree. John's is indeed money. The sandwiches are fricking huge. And the taste aint no joke, either.
Just do yourself a favor: if you’re heading down there anytime after 12 p.m., call and make sure they still have some bread. They run out of it like their sandwiches are, um, going out of style?
36 Hours in Philadelphia: Steve Wynn, eat your heart out [New York Times]
The Cheesesteak Project [Philadelphia Inquirer]
John's Roast Pork [Official Site]