Where to Eat Hoagies in Philadelphia: The Ultimate Guide
Our city runs on hoagies. Here’s where to get the best.
Sure, the cheesesteak is the sandwich most closely associated with Philly. And everyone knows that the roast pork has always been our unacknowledged, locals-only secret weapon in the sandwich culture wars.
But the hoagie? The hoagie is how Philly eats lunch. The hoagie is our everyday sandwich. It’s how we celebrate and how we get by. It’s what we eat when we can’t think of what we really want. Eating hoagies in Philly is like breathing. We do it without even thinking.
And what’s remarkable is that while hoagies only rank third among our city’s sandwich obsessions, our hoagies are still awesome. They are the Reuleaux triangle at the center of a Venn diagram of what Philly’s does well — Bread, Italian Deli Meats, and Stuff You Eat With Your Hands. You wanna bet me? Put Philly’s best hoagie up against the best sandwich iteration done in any other city (grinders in New England, New Orleans’s po’boys, the Gerber in St. Louis) and I will take your money.
The Hoagies You Must Try First
Paesano’s makes dream hoagies, the kind you imagine in your most fevered sandwich fantasies. Roasted suckling pig, brisket with horseradish mayo and a fried egg, another with fig jam, provolone, arugula and sharp provolone. But the hoagiest of them all is the Daddy Wad, a basic Italian jumped up with an oregano vinaigrette and sweet and hot peppers. 148 West Girard Avenue
Carmen’s Famous Italian Hoagies and Cheesesteaks, Market East
A meatball sandwich doesn’t really count as a hoagie, but Carmen’s in Reading Terminal Market does a mean meatball sandwich. They’re on this list because they also sling a killer Italian, loaded with meat and served right across the counter.
Primo Hoagies, Multiple locations
Primo has about a billion locations at this point. Second only to Wawa in convenience and availability, no serious hoagie list would be complete without them. And not for nothing: despite their explosive growth and fast food-y counter service model, they still put out some damn fine hoagies. Plus, you’ve just gotta trust any joint that has five versions of an Italian available — one for every kind of mood, from spicy to mellow.
Koch’s Deli, West Philly
People stand in line for an hour at this place just for a sandwich, and the wait is totally worth it. Shredded lettuce, loads of meat, good, soft bread that soaks up flavors like a sponge. Go for the Jewish Hoagie if you’re feeling adventurous (corned beef, pastrami, kosher salami, and spicy roast beef), but even the simplest ham hoagie here is a work of art. 4309 Locust Street
Di Bruno Bros., Multiple locations
Among foodies, Di Bruno Bros. is kinda like that one really high-rent drug dealer you know. Not the guy you go to when you need a dime bag, but the one that you save for special occasions. Their stores are full of some of the best, most delicious ingredients on earth. And guess what they use to make their hoagies with?
The Best Hoagies in Center City, Old City and Washington Square West
They’re famous for their cheesesteaks, sure. But the special Italian hoagie here is a wonder stacked with salami, three kinds of ham (including prosciutto), pepperoni, and provolone. 214 Market Street
Giuseppe & Sons
The brand-new spot from Michael Schulson’s team and the Termini family is an ode to old school, Italian-American red gravy dining — in the basement, anyway. Upstairs at street-level, it’s an enormous luncheonette (and bar) that knocks out sandwiches from a big list that includes an admirable prosciutto/sopresatta/mortadella Italian hoagie on bread from Formica Bros. Bakery in Atlantic City. 1523 Sansom Street
Matt & Marie’s
There are at least three hoagies on this menu deserving of mention, but I’m just gonna talk about one: the Italian Stallion. It has everything I love in a sandwich, including salami, more salami, coppa (which is kind of like salami), plus a pepperoncini aioli that would improve almost any sandwich. 100 North 18th Street
The Foodery has four locations now, but I like the Center City one because it has the two thing I need most when I’m in the city: beer and sandwiches. A sixer of something local and an Italian hoagie with prosciutto and sharp provolone on a French baguette? That sounds like a perfect lunch to bring back to the desk. Or a nice gift to bring along to a party, because who doesn’t love it when someone gives them a sandwich? 1710 Sansom Street
The So Long Sal deserves a Nobel Prize for Sandwiches. And if there isn’t a Nobel Prize for Sandwiches, then someone needs to talk to one of those Nobel people immediately and get that shit fixed. 248 South 11th Street
Woodrow’s Sandwich Shop
Most of what Woodrow’s does are sandwiches, not hoagies. But the Italian is absolutely a hoagie — and though it might be a bit fancy for your tastes (with its fennel salami, truffled mortadella, herb mayo, oil, and vinegar), Woodrow’s knows its customers, and the kitchen is aiming for something a little more highbrow than your average neighborhood shop. 630 South Street
The Best Hoagies in Fishtown, Kensington and Port Richmond
They serve three hoagies. They all come on Philly Bread rolls. One of them is vegetarian. All of them belong in some kind of hoagie hall of fame. 2113 East York Street
The half here is a foot long. The half. Order a full-size and you’ll basically be getting two excellent hoagies stuffed with good meat, shredded lettuce, fresh veggies, and whatever else you ask for, all on a thick, spongy white roll. The location in the Northeast is the original, but for the past couple years, the good people of Port Richmond have been going bonkers over this place, so that’s why I’m putting it here. 3122 Richmond Street
It’s basically a little Italian market in Fishtown that does bread, sliced meats, pastries, jam, dry goods, flour, beard oil — all the usual Fishtown necessities. But the place also bangs out some nice sandwiches, among them a solid Italian-style hoagie, a beloved caprese, and the NEPA (Northeast PA), which is basically just made of magic. 1255 East Palmer Street
The Best Hoagies in South Philly and the Italian Market
Mike & Matt’s Italian Market
Classic neighborhood Italian market with over-the-counter hoagies. The neighbors love this place, so if you happen to be in the area (and in need of a hoagie), you should definitely check it out. 1206 Mifflin Street
There are two things I love about this place. One is the Parma, which is basically an all-prosciutto hoagie. And the other is the fact that this is one of the very few spots I can think of that has two different all-cheese hoagies. Not vegetarian on purpose, just proper hoagies made with nothing but cheese (plus lettuce, tomatoes, onion and sandwich oil, natch). 1528 Packer Avenue
Yeah, you know Cosmi’s for their cheesesteaks. But they also do a laudable hoagie here — nicely balanced, full of Italian meats, and served on a seeded roll (if you ask for it). 1501 South 8th Street
This old-school spot serves a deep list of hoagies and triple-decker club sandwiches, but their signature, the Old World Italian, is the move here. It’s loaded with Italian deli meats — prosciutto, Di Lusso salami, capicola, and coteghino, a Freda specialty made with pork and beef — plus roasted red peppers, served (of course) on an Aversa roll. 1710 South 10th Street
Red’s Hoagies & Groceries
A traditional corner hoagie shop can be one of three things: fast, cheap, or good. The ones that last can consistently be two of those things at once. The legends? They do all three. And that’s what Red’s is: a beloved, often overlooked shop that’s been serving hoagies to its neighbors in South Philly since the 1940s. 1900 South 9th Street
Antonio’s opened in the former Chickie’s Deli space. Chickie’s would’ve absolutely had a spot on this list, but it’s gone now. Thankfully, Antonio’s is an admirable replacement, with a dozen-odd different hoagies on Sarcone’s rolls. They’ve got all the basics, and plus an anchovy hoagie (if that’s your thing), Italian tuna with prosciutto (which sounds delicious), and fried tomato with turkey and bacon which, even though it isn’t technically a hoagie, still should be mentioned. Because seriously, why didn’t I have that for lunch today? 1014 Federal Street
The meats are shaved thin to order, the bread is seeded (as it ought to be), the dressing is light, and the provolone has a bite. Building a quality hoagie takes years of experience, and Ricci’s — around since the 1920s — has had plenty of practice. 1165 South 11th Street
There is nothing fancy at all about this place. The name explains the entire experience. We’re talking giant sandwiches, stuffed with meat and toppings and dripping with oil. It takes two hands to eat one of these, which is exactly as it should be. This is South Philly. Leave the finger sandwiches for Rittenhouse Square. 231 McClellan Street
This place has been a neighborhood hangout for decades. A straight-up luncheonette with Italian deli aspirations, it does breakfast plates, egg sandwiches on long rolls with anything from scrapple to asparagus and cherry peppers, makes all its hoagies with Carangi Bakery bread, and cuts everything fresh. Bonus: you can get a prosciutto and sharp provolone hoagie here for $7.50, which might be one of the best deals in town. 1626 South 9th Street
The Best Hoagies in West Philly, Northeast Philly, Manayunk and Beyond
Yeah. An all-Halal Middle Eastern restaurant that serves some of the best tuna or chicken salad hoagies you’ll find anywhere. This is why I fucking love Philly. 4500 Walnut Street
We may have lost the Center City expansion, but the original Northeast Philly location is still going strong. There’s a bunch of custom, “gourmet” hoagies on the board (the quotes are from Fink’s own menu), but the original Italian is still the way to go here, filled with excellent sliced meats, chopped provolone, olive spread and house-made long hots. 4633 Princeton Avenue
Fu-Wah Mini Market
This Cedar Park sandwich spot and mini-grocer from the family behind Vietnam Restaurant and Vietnam Cafe is a beloved neighborhood institution. They’re famous for the tofu hoagie, a vegan take on banh mi — but their classic hoagies are the best in the neighborhood, with extra care taken to source great bread, fresh romaine (instead of iceberg), and the best hot peppers I’ve had on a hoagie outside of South Philly. 810 South 47th Street
As if the Dattilo’s Main Event — a loaded Italian with roasted peppers and marinated artichoke hearts — and the special sandwich dressing that took 15 years to get right weren’t enough, Dattilo’s also has a roast pork hoagie. Yeah, you read that right. Roast. Pork. Hoagie. It’s amazing. 8000 Horrocks Street
Lennie’s has like a million different kinds of hoagies, scattered across a variety of menus, all named after movies or songs or neighborhoods or countries or former employees or songs or inside jokes. The place is just nine different kinds of bonkers, but a lot of the hoagies are really excellent. Just take your time, find the one that speaks to you, and go for it. 6141 Ridge Avenue
Everyone knows this place has the best cheesesteaks around, right? Well, they also do some of the best hoagies in town, prepared with the same amount of care and served with the same kind of weighty, messy goodness. Just know what you’re doing before you walk in: step up to the counter, order, step aside to wait, and pick up your sandwiches at the other end. If everyone could manage that, the line would move a lot faster and I would get my hoagies that much quicker. Thanks. 600 Wendover Street
There are so many things I love about this place: shredded lettuce, thick stacks of meat on the hoagies, lots of sandwich oil, Amoroso’s rolls, a cooler full of really good homemade sodas. Honestly, it’s the kind of place that should be used as the model for neighborhood hoagie shops everywhere. If I lived next door, I would weigh 400 pounds and be so happy about it. So next time the line is too long at Dalessandro’s, go here. There’s a pretty good chance you’ll never go anywhere else again. 471 Leverington Avenue
Lorenzo’s Steaks and Hoagies
Another neighborhood joint that everyone knows for their cheesesteaks. But honestly, the hoagies are far superior — loaded, heavy, and handled with care. They come in three sizes (the large weighs something like four pounds), and the waits can get long during rushes. Just be patient and understand that good work takes time. 216 East Market Street, West Chester