First Bite: The New Shank’s

In February 2008, Esquire named the chicken cutlet at South Philly’s Shank’s & Evelyn’s one of the “Best Sandwiches In America,” and while I had been to Tony Luke’s, John’s, and the original Nick’s at 20th and Jackson (the only Nick’s you should go to), I somehow hadn’t visited this 10th Street staple.

Well, I finally made it down last summer, thanks to a friend’s nagging, and I have to say that I was completely underwhelmed. The sauce was too sweet, the chicken dry, the bread slightly past its prime. How it made it onto the same list that featured the roast pork at John’s I had no idea. A second visit yielded similar results.

So when I heard that Shank’s was closing up shop in South Philly and relocating to 15th and Sansom, my first thought was So what? But then my editor told me to go check it out. Well, I am happy to report that the food is a dramatic improvement from what I had on 10th Street. Though suffering from an easily rectifiable lack of salt, the chicken cutlet is crisp, juicy, and easily one of the best in Greater Philadelphia. And while I wouldn’t put money on Shank’s pork or beef against the aforementioned mainstays (or against Paesano’s on Girard, for that matter), they are both delicious and a clear winner in Center City.

Shank’s Original, 120 South 15th Street, 215-629-1093;