Forget About Cheesesteaks, Shorty’s Is All About the Roast Pork Sandwich

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When I saw the great deal for Shorty’s last week, I grabbed it immediately. I’ve been a fan of Philadelphia food ever since I started visiting it regularly ten years ago, and Shorty’s is one of the few places in New York that approaches Philly authenticity.  Looking back at all of our old posts about Shorty’s I was surprised to see cheesesteak this and cheesteak that. Sure, I love a good cheesesteak, but in a bar briefly known as Tony Luke’s, it’s not the first thing that comes to my mind. The original Tony Luke’s in South Philly does serve cheesesteaks, but they are best known for what I consider one of finest delicacies Philadelphia has to offer – The roast pork sandwich.

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The traditional roast pork sandwich is filled with juicy, fresh carved pork, garlicky broccoli rabe and crumbles of sharp provolone. Where the cheesesteak has sweet onions, gooey whiz and spicy peppers, the roast pork is strong, a bit salty and has a sharp, even bitter, bite from the rabe and the provolone.  My favorite comes from DiNic’s at Reading Terminal Market, but Tony Luke’s has one of the most famous and Shorty’s has been selling a variation of that since they opened.

Shorty’s offers a regular roast pork ($9), which doesn’t have the rabe on it for those who can’t handle the bitter greens. But I went with the roast pork special ($10), which includes the rabe and cheese. Both come with a side of porky au jus for dipping. I had the mild cheese, which was soft and melted into a gooey coating along the inside of the roll. If you’re looking for the harsher bite of the traditional version, it’s not quite here. The rabe isn’t as bitter as you might find in Philly, but that’s fine by me.

Shorty’s also has a variety of other sandwiches including the Italian Hoagie, another traditional Philadelphia institution that, sadly I haven’t explored in my travels just yet. Others on the list seem a bit less “authentic”, like the buffalo cutlet ($8) and the pizza cutlet ($8), which seems an awful lot like a chicken parm.

I’ll be back in Philly soon enough to seek out more classic versions of the sandwich – and to try some of the tasty treats Jamie has been posting on Midtown Lunch Philadelphia – but until then, I’ll be making the slightly easier trip to 9th Ave. to get my fix at Shorty’s.

Shorty’s, 576 Ninth Ave (btw. 41+42nd), 212-967-3055


  • Happy hour there was good. I really enjoyed the place. Also the fact that the Mets/Yankees fans were uncomfortable was a nice change of pace. :D

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    There’s only one place to go for roast pork sandwiches in Philly: John’s Roast Pork.

    It’s down in South Philly on Snyder Ave. just west of Delaware Ave. Tiny place. Crazy hours (M-F 6:45 a.m. to 3 p.m.). Life-alteringly good. (And the cheesesteak’s not bad either.)

    By the way, if you’re in Center City, the roast pork at DiNic’s isn’t a bad way to go, either.

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    and in NYC the pork at Defaro is pretty good

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    That sandwich admittedly looks money.

    But I’m curious why “Tony Luke’s” is getting love here as a go-to spot in Philly. It’s not bad, but it never stood out to me as anything special (or overly unique) the few times I have been there.

    I used to go to wrestling events at the ECW Arena right around the corner, and all these wrestling websites and blogs used to say that going to “Tony Luke’s” was basically a requirement. Never understood that.

  • Strangely, there never seems to be a thread about this subject in the Philadelphia forums.

  • This place also does a killer veggie version with the rabe, peppers, and onions. And of course, the cheese!

  • wow that looks good. I tried the cheesesteak today (great Inbundle deal! $5 for large + beer!). I loved it. I can definitely see myself grabbing sandwiches here on the way to work in the future, or catching a happy hour lunch special. Yum.

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