Monday, September 21, 2009

John’s Roast Pork Shop Review

John’s Roast Pork Shop Review

John’s Roast Pork is one of the oldest sandwich shops actively running in Philadelphia. Established in 1930, John’s Roast Pork also known as: John’s Lunch, The Snyder Avenue Lunch Bar, and the Shack has been in the same spot since its inception. John’s is located at 14 East Snyder Avenue, South Philadelphia, PA 19148, which is across the street from the Snyder Plaza (on the corner of Weccacoe and Snyder). John’s has been successful for three generations and the same family (Bucci’s) is still running the place.

Don’t let the name fool you. John’s Roast Pork is actually a place where you can get all kinds of sandwiches, both hot and cold. They have won many awards from various places too. For example, in 2006 John’s won the James Beard Award for culinary excellence. John’s was also voted number one for best pork sandwich in 2000 and best Philly cheese steak in 2002 by the Philadelphia Inquirer.

I like John’s Roast Pork Sandwich Shop. I recently ate both a roast pork and a Philly cheese steak there. The roast pork was very good. I had it with spinach on top, hot peppers, hot sauce, and Americn cheese. Since this blog is about Philly cheese steaks, I will focus my review on that.

John’s Roast Pork Philly cheese steak is a very solid sandwich. A large cost me $6.50 and was close to a foot long. The steak was chopped and not cut thin like Geno’s or Pat’s Steak. The American cheese was melted nice on top of the steak. The onions were lightly grilled with minimal sightings of dark coloration.

The bread would be one of the downfalls of this cheese steak. John’s uses Italian roils but the rolls are much harder than Pat’s and Geno’s. The ideal best Philly cheese steak would have a soft Italian roll with a lightly glazed golden color. The key is soft. This is a phenomenon as like why is the sky blue. I don’t know but a soft roll makes a cheese steak tastes better (in most expert’s opinion including famed Joey Vento).

Overall, this sandwich is very good but I vote John’s Roast Pork Philly cheese steak a yellow light. Why? The reason I think that you should proceed to eat from John’s with caution is because of a few observations that I made. First, this sandwich shop is located on a small little section all by its lonesome next to giant shopping centers and only a few stone’s throw from the Delaware river. The building that it is located in looks like it has not been fixed up since the original owner opened for business. Inside the shop, the grill appears very dirty compared to many other famous cheese steak joints. Joey Vento from Geno’s Steaks has high priced steaks and doesn’t give you your money’s worth but his place is as clean as he proclaims it to be. Cleanliness is a huge issue that needs to be incorporated into food’s price. How much would you pay to know that you are eating clean food (forget healthy – we are talking about cheese steaks)?

John’s Roast Pork’s employees were not wearing gloves and were handling the sandwich, meat, and the money. That is a no no for me.

The other thing that I didn’t like about this place is that their hours are funny. They open at 6:30 and close the grill at 2:30. From that point you can only order cold sandwiches until the doors shut at 3:00. This is not the way to run a business. Why limit yourself to a certain schedule when the demand is constant and all day?

My final recommendation is to think about what was discussed today before you try John’s Roast Pork. If cleanliness is a big issue to you that a greasy hole in the wall like this may not be your bag of tea. If on the other hand, you are willing to look the other way when it comes to the food preparation then you may want to consider this place to visit. John’s does have an excellent roast pork and Philly cheese steak but I am voting them a yellow light (proceed with caution) because I am a little leery about their overall cleanliness.

Below I have included some of John’s Roast Pork recent menu items for your convenience:

Roast Pork Sandwich
Roast Beef Sandwich
Meatball Sandwich
Italian Sausage Sandwich
Chicken Cutlet Sandwich
Chicken Cutlet Parmesan Sandwich
American Hoagie
Italian Hoagies
Ham & Cheese Hoagie
Cheese Hoagie
Tuna Hoagie
Turkey Hoagie
Chicken Salad Hoagie
Roast Beef Hoagie
Plain Steak Sandwich
Cheese Steak
Pizza Steak
Cheese Steak Hoagie
Bacon Cheese Steak
Mushroom Cheese Steak
Sweet Pepper Cheese Steak
Steak Milano (w/Grilled Tomato & Provolone)
Chicken Steak
Chicken Steak (w/Cheese)
Chicken Steak Italiano (w/Provolone & Spinach)
Chicken Steak Hoagie
Bruschetta Cheese Steak
Hot Dog
Cheese Burger
Hot Ham & Cheese
Grilled Cheese
Fish Cake
Deviled Crab Cake
Bacon Lettuce & Tomato
Texas Tommy
French Fries
Onion Rings
Chicken Wings (8 pc.)
Mozzarella Sticks

John's Roast Pork on Urbanspoon


  1. You are not a real fan. First of all, the question is not with or without cheese, it's with or without onions. Hence the most poluar Pat's/Geno's order "Whizz with". Back to this post. John's has the best roll in philadelphia. you can get a good soft roll anywhere, a great hard roll is really unique to the east coast, particularly philly/jersey. go write about something you know about.

  2. Thanks Anonymous.

    You are entitled to your opinion. I happen to not like John's Roast Pork for the reasons stated above.

    I do like many other cheese steak places though. If you would take the time to read my other Philly chese steak reviews you would see that I have spent much time building this site. In the past 2 months I ate over 40 cheese steaks from over 40 different places. If that is not a cheese steak fan then I don't know what is.

    Also, I think that I am aware that with or without is referring to onions. I am not sure what you are referring to though. Come again.

  3. Not sure when you ate at John's but I was there back in October (2009) and the workers had gloves on (Maybe they read your blog and took the hint.). The woman at the cash register only handled money. One drawback is that there isn't much room for eating outside. I like the roll and the fact that they take out much of it's interior. I thought that their sandwich was a shade better than Pat's, Geno's or Tony Like's.

    Keep up the good work.

  4. Thanks Anonymous for the compliments. Maybe you are right that they read the review and changed their way of thinking and serving their food. Hopefully, this blog can serve to make positive changes for the sanitary issues of many Philly cheese steak and fast food places.

    What is your favorite Philly cheese steak place?

  5. I agree with above comment. i really enjoy it.