Food & Drink

The Most Mouth-Watering Philly Sandwiches You Can Order Right Now

Perfect for a park picnic.

Who knew when this year started that an outdoor picnic would be the most exciting event of your social calendar? As the pandemic rages on in Philly, an essential summer activity is that of the take-out-and-picnic. If you’re in the mood for a mouth-watering sandwich outside the realm of, you know, cheesesteaks, there are so many options across the city as restaurants continue serving takeout and delivery to keep you nourished. From fried wonders to veggie-friendly fixes to things smothered in cheese, check out our picks for the best (non-cheesesteak) sandwiches in Philadelphia.

Fried chicken sandwich from Federal Donuts

Multiple locations
Not to worry, you don’t have to face this pandemic without the much-needed combination of fried chicken and doughnuts. The Federal Donuts fried chicken sandwich (with or without pickles) keeps the formula simple and superb: twice-fried chicken breast, American cheese, buttermilk ranch seasoning, and spicy rooster sauce on a soft and squishy bun. It runs for $8, so maybe you can also spare a few extra bucks for the fancy doughnut of your choice. 
How to order: Online for takeout

Falafel sandwich from Goldie

Rittenhouse
This cute little bundle of falafel and veggies has been a sought-after commodity during the pandemic in Philly, with daily orders selling out on the regular. The popular item from Goldie’s minimal menu features deep-fried chickpea balls topped with cabbage, tahini, and your choice of sauce that can take your spice level from mild to night sweats. Go for the sandwich combo to get fries and a shake, too. 
How to order: Online for takeout

Sausage roll from Bad Brother Bar

Fairmount
The neighborhood taproom in place of Fairmount’s storied Brigid’s, Bad Brother Bar is open with fresh no-nonsense pub fare. For a sandwich that gives you a little bit of everything (plus fries), try the sausage roll equipped with chorizo, queso, pickled peppers, and onions -- all on a seeded roll. The shop also has four- and six-packs of beer to go if you want a full meal. 
How to order: Call 215-235-2460 or DM on Instagram for takeout or outdoor dining reservations

Roasted portabella from LeBus

East Falls 
Have some of that delicious Le Bus Bakery focaccia bread as it holds a roasted portabella mushroom dressed with pesto, roasted peppers, arugula, and melted fontina. Anything involving bread is the way to go at LeBus, which is open for outside seating, as well.
How to order:Online for delivery and takeout

Catfish Po’boy from South Jazz Kitchen

Spring Garden
This essential Philly destination for Southern cuisine (and live music when it’s open) is home to so much good stuff: skillet cornbread, bubbly mac n’ cheese, and even a veggie burger that is worth a craving. The catfish po’boy is South’s take on a Louisiana classic, served with cornmeal-crusted fried catfish, remoulade sauce, shredded lettuce, and tomato on a crusty roll. Plus fries, of course. While you’re at it, maybe try washing it down with the house watermelon margarita?
How to order:Online for takeout or Doordash, Uber Eats, and Caviar for delivery

The Surfer from Middle Child

Washington Square West
When the world is running like the Before Times, you can expect a long wait at Middle Child, but it’s always worth it once your order is ready. For a one-shot lunch pick that will keep you satisfied for hours, the Surfer has a surprising kick with turkey, blueberry-masala jam, swiss, arugula, and mayo on a Philly Bread ciabatta.
How to order:Online for delivery and takeout

The Schmitter from McNally’s Tavern

Chestnut Hill
The pandemic hasn’t stopped this historic Philly bar and restaurant. After opening in 1921 as McNally’s Quick Lunch, the spot has been operating for nearly 100 years thanks in part to the Schmitter. The infamous item was created as a quasi-solution to someone’s request for a pizza on their cheesesteak because, you know, Philly. Instead, the owner crafted a “secret sauce” still used today and fixed somewhere between the three layers of cheese, grilled salami, tomatoes, fried onions, and steak. All those ingredients come served in a fluffy kaiser roll. 
How to order: Walk-up for call ahead at 215-247-9736

Roast pork sandwich from DiNic’s Roast Pork

Market East
Another contender for the best roast pork sandwich in Philly, DiNic’s signature sandwich comes with mounds of tender, slow-roasted pork in au jus on an Italian seeded roll. It doesn’t hurt to add some broccoli rabe or provolone to the mix, either. 
How to order:Online for takeout, Caviar for delivery

Breakfast sandwich from Res Ipsa Cafe

Fitler Square
While the offerings at Res Ipsa herald in new sandwich iterations thanks to its small and ever-changing menu, one constant is the breakfast sandwich on a housemade English muffin, which just happens to be served until 3:30, so you’re good. Res Ipsa’s twist on the traditional includes egg frittata, asiago fresco, salsa verde, and a handful of customizable options such as spinach, fennel cardamom, and bacon. It runs for $4.50 and packs in a whole lot of happy. 
How to order: Call 267-519-0329 for takeout

Mama’s Meatballs from Santucci’s

Multiple locations
As I’m sure you can imagine, the infallible crust synonymous with Santucci’s square pies is a promising signal for what you can expect from its massive and unflinching sandwiches. Nestled on a fresh seeded Italian roll (or a whole wheat wrap, if you prefer), Santucci’s composes the quintessential meatball sub, complete with sharp provolone, marinara, and Parmesan. 
How to order:Online for takeout and delivery at all locations

Roast pork from John’s Roast Pork

Pennsport
For the very mighty contingent of Philadelphians who believe the roast pork sandwich is the true signature food item of Philly, John’s is a must. The shop’s titular sandwich comes on a freshly baked Carangi Bakery sesame seeded roll, piled with cooked-to-order meat, provolone, and however many condiments and veggies you like. Roast beef and, yes, cheesesteaks are also on the menu, but we figure the roast pork has the shop’s name for a reason.
How to order: Call 215-463-1951 for takeout

Gabbygoul from Poe’s Sandwich Joint

Kensington
Poe’s menu has grown quite a bit (including all-day breakfast sammies) and is ready to satisfy/soak up your cravings. One of the menu’s top picks is the Gabbygoul, a simple yet outstanding formula that has everything you could ever want, nay, need in a sandwich: fresh chicken cutlet, homemade mozzarella, roasted red peppers, arugula, lemon garlic aioli, balsamic reduction, and hot gabagool capicola. It’s the perfect balance of refreshing and hearty. You can also throw on hots and/or bacon because you’ve earned it. 
How to order:Poe’s, Caviar, Uber Eats, or Grubhub for delivery and takeout

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Marielle Mondon is a writer from Philadelphia. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter at @MarielleMondon.