Old Original Nick’s

Nick’s Roast Beef
Rick Nichols visits the original Nick’s Roast Beef at 20th and Jackson for a sandwich that has hardly changed in its 70 years.

Old Original Nick’s is a serious-minded sandwich, the beef well-done, toothsome, but tender. On a roll dripping with the “gravy” of meat juices (mixed with pureed vegetables), the beefy mess is as substantial, but not overstuffed, as meaningful a sandwich as you can hope for as the Eagles wing into the sunset.

It is not merely roast beef, it is particularly roast beef – 90-pound, USDA Prime steamship rounds (which include the top and bottom round) that Kissin Fresh, the meat supplier, picks up from New York and whittles down to Nick’s specs, deboning them, cutting out the nerves, leaving a thin layer of fat on the top.

The giant rounds are hand-tied and slow-cooked for eight hours in old ovens in the basement. Then Chris Murray or other carvers (who go through 40 knives a week while another 40 are being sharpened) slice the meat to order – following the grain – taking off the seasoned crust called the “outs,” setting it aside for those who want it (like I do!) added to their sandwich. (How does one order that? “A beef combo on the outs” gets you beef with aged provolone and some crust. “Overboard” gets you extra juices. “Operation” gets your roll’s insides gutted out.

Where’s the beef? Still at Nick’s [Philadelphia Inquirer]
Old Original Nick’s Roast Beef [Official Site]