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5 of 5 bubbles Review of John's Roast Pork

John's Roast Pork
Ranked #36 of 4,341 Restaurants in Philadelphia
Certificate of Excellence
Cuisines: American, Fast food
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Child-friendly, Kids, Local cuisine, Cheap Eats
Dining options: Lunch, Dinner, Breakfast, Outdoor Seating, Parking Available, Seating, Takeout, Wheelchair Accessible
Neighbourhood: Bella Vista / Queen Village
Charleston, South Carolina
Level Contributor
62 reviews
33 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 13 August 2014 via mobile

We went to Philadelphia, after our business trip to Atlantic City, solely for the purpose of saying we ate a cheesesteak in Philly. We looked at all the reviews and decided against going to the "original" cheesesteak restaurants of Geno's and Pat's because they sounded touristy and soup natzi-ish. We made the right choice! The entire staff was very welcoming and friendly (as opposed to the reported rudeness of staff at the aforesaid locations). Not a tourist in sight as they would never find it unless they were looking for it. We were lucky enough to get there when there wasn't a line and we had ample street parking available. We decided to get the pork sandwich as well since it also got good reviews. It was good but we preferred the Philly Cheesesteak. We got it "wit" provolone and onions, and despite what we read about the proper way to order, we found no difficulty being understood or berated for doing it wrong. If you are looking for a great sandwich where the locals eat this is the place for you!

Visited August 2014
2 Thank Amy C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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314 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Japanese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Level Contributor
62 reviews
62 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 110 helpful votes
“Fun dive atmosphere with great authentic food”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 August 2014

-John’s Pork (previously known as John’s lunch, The Snyder Avenue Lunch Bar and The Shack) has been at the corner of Weccacoe and Synder since the 1930s and has been a family business for three generations.
-I first heard about John’s Roast Pork in an episode of Andrew Zimmern’s Bizarre Foods America where he said it’s his first stop whenever he’s in Philly.
-Apparently, while John’s was always a local favourite, it gained serious following in the past 10 years after Philly restaurant critic, Craig Laban, determined it was the champion of his Cheesecake Project.
-In addition to the #1 Best Philly Cheese Steak award, they have also won the Best Pork Sandwich award and the James Beard Award for Culinary Excellence.


-The cash only establishment is the epitome of a “dive”- it’s really unlike anything we have in Toronto.
-You line up outside the little shack that is sheltered by a long canopy in the middle of a barren parking lot.
-Once inside, you order your food from an overhead sandwich board menu, grab your food and take it to eat on one of the old picnic benches outside.
-Outside, you can fill a few little cups of various pickles and load up on hot sauce and condiments for your meal.


-Service is pretty fast but for a first timer, the ordering system can be a bit confusing. Depending on what kind of sandwich you want, you order at different areas of the counter- so I ordered one sandwich with one gentleman, and was shuttled over to another gentleman to order my roast pork. Once your sandwiches are ready, you pay (cash only) at the till with a lovely and cheerful lady.
-If you don’t have cash on you (we didn’t as we just got in), don’t worry! There’s an ATM crammed right into the little shack.


-No booze- just your typical soft drinks available to grab yourself and bring to the counter. We ended up going with a couple small-brand iced teas, which were way too sweet for my taste.


-The menu is broken into hot sandwiches including their Roast Pork (available in small or large), about 8 Hoagies (in small or large), and more than 12 dozen steak sandwiches packing 12 oz of meat! They’ve also got a few basic items like hot dogs and hamburgers, side items like fries and onion rings, and breakfast sandwiches with bacon, eggs, and sausage.
-I knew going in that I had to have a cheesesteak and a roast pork, but I had no clue how they “should be” consumed. So I simply told the gentlemen behind the counter that it was my first time and I wanted to experience these classics right and to do them however they wanted me to taste them. This is what they did.

Roast Pork Sandwich with Spinach and Provolone ($8.75)

A massive portion of sweet satiny smooth meat so hot it melted the generous layer of creamy salty cheese. The roll was crusty on the outside with a moist marshmallow texture within, and seeded for nice textural pop. Actually, the bread reminded me of the toast my grandma used to make for us as kids before we went to bed, and that was some special toast. This was my favourite of the two sandwiches we tried, but my only criticism would have been that I would have liked some kind of acidic condiment or topping to cut the richness and saltiness of all the ingredients. It’s definitely not a sandwich I could finish, even though I’d absolutely try.

Philly Cheese Steak with Provolone and Sauteed Onions ($8.75)

Like the aforementioned pork sammy, the cheesesteak was moist and pillowy inside and had a nice crusty bite around the edge. The meat here was definitely less tender then the pork, as it certainly had a more defined texture, but it was pleasant in its own right. I definitely liked the combination of the rich beef, the salty cheese and the sweet caramelized onions, but like the pork, I wanted something acidic to cut the fat. I think I preferred the roast pork, but my partner was all over this beef.

Closing Remarks:

-For two large sandwiches and two bottles of iced tea, the bill came to about $25. We both agreed that this was a solid amount of (very tasty) food for a very fair price. I would definitely recommend John’s and return myself to try other variations on the menu so that I can better determine how I like Philly cheesesteaks and roast pork done.
-John’s is open from 6:45- 3 PM Monday to Friday, and 9 AM- 4 PM on Saturday, and don’t forget, they only take cash!

Visited July 2014
1 Thank Abbey S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Wilmington, Delaware
Level Contributor
266 reviews
183 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 90 helpful votes
“Best Cheesesteak in Philly”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 August 2014

Tourists go to Pat's, Geno's, and Tony Luke's, but hands down the best cheesesteak in Philadelphia is John's Roast Pork (their roast pork is amazing, too).

Every one of the big boys have the highest quality meats, so what sets JRP apart from the competitors?

1. The staff is actually nice to you. They won't give you a hard time if you don't know how to order the 'Philly' way (like calling cheese whiz & onions 'whiz wit').

2. The bread! hard crusted sesame seed bun...it's the same roll that makes Primo's Hoagies so popular.

One caveat: they have limited hours. Last time I checked, they close at 3pm on weekdays (I think they open at 6:45am) and have limited hours on Saturday. Get there early and prepare to wait in line.

  • Visited August 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
1 Thank David L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Milford, CT
Level Contributor
32 reviews
21 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“Will NOT disappoint!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 27 July 2014

These were the words passed on to me by my native-Philadelphia co-worker and boy was he right! The roast pork sandwich is absolutely fabulous. Please, do have it with spinach and cheese. We had wanted to get cheese steaks but, unfortunately, we arrived at the tail end of the day and they had run out of bread (only had kaiser rolls). So, we went with roast beef. This was fine, but the star of the show was the pork sandwich. A definite "must" if you go to Philly. Also note that it is a bit "out of the way". Most tourists will stay down on Market in Old city. It is worth the trip down to Snyder St and John's Roast Pork. You'll be glad you went!

Visited July 2014
1 Thank Gus_Sanchez
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Atlanta, Georgia
Level Contributor
195 reviews
121 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
“Now I understand the hoopla”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 26 July 2014

When I visited Philadelphia the first time, I was taken to Geno's for a cheesesteak. I let my friend order for me, as she was a native here and I figured she'd know best. I was underwhelmed. They smothered it in what seemed like Velveeta instead of real cheese. I really didn't understand why people were gaga over this kind of sandwich, other than sentimentality which, not being a native, I lacked.

This trip, I asked a different friend where to eat and she sent me to John's Roast Pork. I ordered the cheesesteak with onions and sharp provolone. NOW I UNDERSTAND THE HOOPLA!!! This sandwich was SO good! On a fresh sesame seed hoagie roll, the meat was of quality and tender and the cheese was top notch, too.

I also took their signature sandwich - the roast pork - with me for supper, but the sandwiches were so large that I made two meals out of the cheesesteak, and two more out of the pork. I spent a total of $18 and change, for one large sandwich, one small sandwich, that made four meals. That's a DEAL.

It was clear I was a tourist, but the staff didn't treat me harshly; in fact, they were downright pleasant. I thanked the woman (owner?) for her patience, and she assured me I was fine.

The place has been there since ... 1931? And still a family business, same location. I wasn't sure where I was going, but it's really not far from most of the stuff I was doing anyway (point of reference = 1.3 miles from Termini's original location on S. 8th St). There was a long line, but the wait wasn't long. Clearly they have their system down to accommodate such crowds.

I'd eat here again, and happily recommend it to others.

  • Visited July 2014
    • Value
    • Service
    • Food
Thank jillpatrick
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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