This place is … awesome! Paesano’s is The perfect sandwich shop. Everything is done exactly right. Every element is purposeful, every action deliberate. It’s the only place in Philly I went to two times (three if you count the fact that I got another hero to go). Philadelphia has got to be the greatest hoagie city in the world– it’s all in their hoagie culture. Like New Yorkers with pizza, Philly has expectations and pride with every sandwich they put on wax paper.
The menu is short. There’s 10 sandwiches, 2 specials, and a couple of sides. Every sandwich is 6 to 8 dollars flat. The counter gets crowded at times, the outside tables do too, but never to a point of hassle. The 2 men working the room are constantly busy, balancing seriousness and cordiality.
152 West Girard Avenue
They start off with the Philly standard Sarcone’s bread, then scoop out a layer of its pillowy insides to even out the ratio. After that, they’ll give the bread some sharp provolone and toss on peppers or tomatoes that have been roasting in the oven. Then, that base is put in another oven designed for melting cheese (like this), which toasts the insides without becoming too crisp on the edges. They’ll cook a sunnyside egg or the lamb sausage covered and absorbed by the pita it will soon be wrapped in over the stove, and when it’s ready for assembly, they’ll scoop out some juice-drenched brisket or suckling pig, spread on spreads like horseradish mayo, and add the rest of the broccoli rabe or vinegared vegs to pair.
It’s a hoagie at 100-percent. There are no throw-in lettuce or tomatoes. Everything is full-tilt. We sometimes ask each other, If you were to have a restaurant, what kind would it be? For me, it’s a sandwich shop; a concise, efficient one with real, stove-driven heros. Paesano’s, if I’m opening one up, I’m sorry, but I’m lifting some of your method. You’re just as perfect as it gets.
Below, the Arista, and the Gustaio. Above, the Paesano.
Paesanos – Simply Perfect