Food & Drink

The 11 Best Sandwiches in Philly That Aren’t Cheesesteaks

Published On 08/10/2015 Published On 08/10/2015

Philly is home to so many cheesesteaks that it’s easy to overlook all the other sandwiches that the city has to offer. Luckily we’ve rounded up 11 essentials that might just help you put the Cheez Whiz away forever...


Roast pork sandwich

John’s Roast Pork (address and info)
A cheesesteak from John’s is nothing to sniff at, but the titular offering from this storied sandwich shop sets it apart as one of Philly’s best places for a sandwich. Authentic ingredients and juicy roast pork, complete with perfectly toasted bread and spinach seasoning, make this sandwich a must-have.

Johnny Brenda's

Fried catfish sandwich

Johnny Brenda’s (address and info)
Once you’ve worked up an appetite sampling a revolving door of local beer at JB’s, soak up the goodness with the perfectly fried and subtly spicy crispy catfish sandwich. Romaine, horseradish pickles, and tartar sauce top it off, which by the way, is also what you should do with your beer right about now.


The Doh! Nut

PYT (address and info)
Northern Liberties
You will either love or hate yourself after eating the Doh! Nut, but you’ll definitely love IT. All the fixings of a regular burger, but instead of bread, it’s sandwiched between two sweet slices of fried donut, making this sweet-and-savory combination a must-have for... well, anybody.

Wedge + Fig


Wedge + Fig (address and info)
Old City
Every Wednesday at Wedge + Fig it’s time for the panini of the day (PoD). Specialities include variations on the classic grilled cheese made with unusual ingredient combos, and fresh takes on some classics, such as the Machu Picchu (a blend of fancy cheeses and an apple-fig chutney on onion pocket bread) or the May Day (roasted pork belly with bacon-mustard collard slaw on rye).

Courtesy of Jason Varney

Duck meatball sandwich

High Street on Market (address and info)
Old City
If you want to win at ordering lunch against whatever poor soul is eating with you, the duck meatball sandwich is your ticket to victory. The Italian standby is doused in tomato sauce and reinvented with liver mousse and Swiss cheese on a semolina hoagie roll.

The Industry Bar

Seafood BLT

The Industry (address and info)
A BLT is anything but simple when fried calamari and aioli sauce is thrown into the otherwise classic mix: The Industry's signature sandwich includes, of course, crispy bacon, lettuce, and tomato, but is taken up a notch with an ever-changing selection of the day’s fresh catch.

Garces Trading Company

Cubano Clasico

Garces Trading Co. (address and info)
Washington Square West
Ham and roast pork, along with melty Gruyere and lightly toasted bread, with a side of crisp, thinly sliced pickles make Garces the go-to spot for a lunchtime Cubano. If you can’t trust Garces to do it right, who can you trust?

Plenty Cafe

Pancetta hash sandwich

Plenty Café (address and info)
Various locations
The breakfast-y sandwich includes two over-easy eggs, juicy Italian bacon, potatoes, onions, peppers, and fontina on ciabatta bread, and is so good you should probably also order it for not-breakfast.

Beck's Cajun Cafe


Beck’s Cajun Cafe (address and info)
Market East
For one of the best po-boys in Philly, head to Reading Terminal and spend about an hour trying to decide which one you want from Beck’s. The Cajun and Creole eatery offers breakfast options on French bread or lunch options where you can pick from fried oyster, alligator sausage, fried shrimp, and others.

Bridges, Burgers & Beer

The Schmitter

McNally’s Tavern (address and info)
Chestnut Hill
Push all those cheesesteaks aside and this may well be Philly’s most famous sandwich. Repped everywhere from our stadiums to this long-standing restaurant and bar, the steak & grilled salami sandwich has topped many a national list and has enough flavorful layers of meat and gooey melty cheese to put any old hoagie to shame.

Courtesy of Jake's Sandwich Board

Brisket Garlic Bomb

Jake’s Sandwich Board (address and info)
Market East
The Garlic Bomb from Jake’s is true to its name. Explosions of garlic unfold side by side with finely cut brisket. You may have to order off the menu for this one, so when you do, be sure to get some barbecue sauce into the mix to add an extra pow to all the garlic.

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1. John's Roast Pork 14 Snyder Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19148 (Pennsport)

Throwing down in the Philly cheesesteak arena is John's, local purveyor of delicious hot roast pork sandwiches. Arrive before 3pm to indulge in the cheesy, meaty wonders of this popular lunch shack. John's Roast Pork stands out in a city known for its sandwiches, and we are convinced that they serve up some of the best sandwiches of all time.

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2. Johnny Brenda's 1201 Frankford Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19125 (Fishtown)

Johnny Brenda's features all kinds of local beer and plenty of live music out of their divey, Fishtown digs.

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3. PYT 1050 N Hancock St, Philadelphia, PA 19123 (Nolibs)

It's hard to go wrong with consuming a half-pound of red-sauced meatball flattened between two fried lasagna patties. If you don't catch that, you can always back it up with a summery Jamaican jerk chicken burger bundled between fried plantains.

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4. Wedge + Fig 160 N 3rd St, Philadelphia, PA 19106 (Old City)

Restyling the Old City Cheese Shop digs with plaid-topped tables and a gravel-floored, stone-walled patio, Wedge's peddling curds from a "cheese cave" (a glass cooler with cheeses tagged w/ country of origin and flavor deets) plus a lineup of sammie

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5. High Street on Market 308 Market St, Philadelphia, PA 19106 (Old City)

You’ve never had bread quite like the ancient grains, roasted potato, or anadama on grill at High Street on Market. The New American haunt in Old City centers its menu on local grains, which High Street refines and finesses at the crack of dawn each day into the stuff of sandwiches, pastries, and pastas that bedeck the breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus. For lunch, it is sinful to miss out on the smoky and briny pastrami on rye, dressed with cabbage slaw, Russian dressing, and Gulden’s mustard. Opt for the pastas at dinner; they’re decidedly un-Italian and, therefore, entirely unforgettable.

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6. The Industry Bar 1401 E Moyamensing Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19147 (Pennsport)

Although the Industry Bar features some slick local brews on tap and serves a more than decent dinner, you'll wanna hit up the brunch inside the cabin-like interior to lap up some middle-of-the-day 'tails and super-tasty eats.

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7. Garces Trading Company 1111 Locust St, Philadelphia, PA 19107 (Market East)

GTC's Iron Chef Jose Garces' first foray into culinary curation: an indoor cafe and marketplace modeled after outdoor European affairs stocked with goods and ingredients featured on his menus, from hand-selected coffee roasts and pastries to imported cheeses and prepared foods, with full-service high-top butcher's block tables plus the option to uncork 200+ bottles of vino (purchased from the PLCB's first wine boutique).

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8. Beck's Cajun Cafe 12th St, Philadelphia, PA 19107 (Philadelphia)

Opening today in the Reading Terminal Market, Beck's is a red, green, and yellow stand with dedicated seating for 12, serving authentic 'Nawlins fare made from near-daily shipments of ingredients from Big Easy vendors like Crescent City Meats, providing andouille, tasso, & alligator sausage, as well as country ham from Chisesi's Pride and chicory roast from Community Coffee, surely funded by Community Chest.

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9. McNally's Tavern 8634 Germantown Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19118 (Chestnut Hillmt Airy)

This historic tavern was established in 1921 and is known for their signature steak-and-grilled-salami sandwich, the Schmitter, which you can also score at Citizens Bank Park and Lincoln Financial Field.

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10. Jake's Sandwich Board 122 S 12th St, Philadelphia, PA 19107 (Market East)

Jake's slings authentic hoagies and variations on classics (try the cranberry-mustard pork sandwich). They're also known for their involvement with Food Network's Outrageous Food, where diners can attempt to chow down a 2ft Philly cheesesteak. Sounds hard, right? Then maybe we shouldn't tell you that it's also topped with Tastykakes and Peanut Chews.