Char-Broil is King at Nick’s Charcoal Pit
I lived around the corner from this place for years before I ever set foot in there. I always thought it looked intriguing. Charcoal Pit? Yum. I was a little bummed that they didn’t have mac and cheese though, which is probably why it took me so long to make the plunge. One day, however, I stumbled across this review, singing praises of the filet mignon sandwich. Filet mignon sandwich? I thought. Who makes a sandwich out of filet? I may have to check this place out.
Nick’s is a small store front at 1242 Snyder Ave., just steps from South Philly High. There are a few small tables, but most of the business is take out or delivery. While they have a lengthy BBQ menu (their ribs were voted “Best in South Philly,”) I was really in it for the sandwich. The first time I ordered from them, I considered the filet sandwich but decided I was in the mood for something a little simpler–a char-broiled chicken breast hoagie. Now, if the words “char-broiled” don’t get you all hot and bothered when it comes to meat…anyway. The sandwich is topped with lettuce, tomato and “special sauce.” When I ordered, the woman asked me if I wanted the special sauce which she described as having cucumbers in it. Sure, I responded, enthusiastically.
This char-broiled chicken hoagie ($6.45) was spot on. Each bite contained a hearty amount of chicken that was charred but still remarkably moist along with lettuce, tomato and ohhh that special sauce, which was basically a tzatziki. While you wouldn’t expect that Greek-inspired sauce at a neighborhood BBQ joint, it was perfectly tangy with crunchy bites of cucumber throughout.
The next time I went, I had a hankering for the same sandwich, but in the nature of research, I figured I should check out the much lauded Nick’s Special with charbroiled filet, spinach and provolone on a seeded Sarcone’s roll. At $8.45, it ended up being a little over the Midtown Lunch $10 ceiling after tax, but what the hell, I was eating filet for lunch! I called in my order, put on my shoes and walked 2.5 blocks to the storefront. By the time I got there, it was ready!
I got home and eagerly tore into my sandwich. Upon the first bite, I was smitten with the char flavor of the meat. Mingled with the spinach and provolone, the flavors were pretty much on point. If I had one complaint, it would be that there wasn’t quite…enough of it.
As a resident Philadelphian, I am obviously capable of eating more than that. I think the ratio of bread: filling was a bit off.
Either way, the sandwich was pretty fantastic. I might try it on a round roll next time. Maybe that would improve the ratio. Besides, then I’d probably get a side of broccoli bites or onion rings or something. Nick’s is a great place to have in the neighborhood when you’re looking for a sandwich that’s not just a cheesesteak, hoagie or even roast pork. I look forward to going back and checking out some of their BBQ options. That will be the true gauge as to portion size. And if you’re going for a chicken sandwich, don’t forget the special sauce!
THE + (What somebody who likes this place would say)
- Quick service
- Special sauce
- Great char-grilled meats
THE – (What somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)
- Sometimes skimpy on the fillings
- No air conditioning
Nick’s Charcoal Pit, 1242 Snyder Ave., 215-271-3750