Last week's Sandwich Supremacy kick-off was quite dramatic, and we expect more of the same when voting in the second round starts tomorrow. We saw a few favorites cakewalk through the first round, like DiNic's Roast Pork and Paesano's Arista, but the 2nd-seeded Schmitter bowed out to the Standard Tap's Softshell Crab Sandwich; and in a huge stunner, the Varga Bar Veggie Burger ousted the legendary Rouge Burger.
Philly's long-standing iconic sandwich had a horrendous showing, as Pat's, Geno's, Dalessandro's, and Chink's cheesesteaks all got dropped in the first round. Burgers, on the other hand, went 8 for 10 in their tussles. A sea change is upon us in the Philly sandwich game and it's shaped like a juicy, savory beef patty.
But, before we kick off the round of 32, let's take a look at the matchups you'll be voting on throughout the week.
The Sherman Hemsley Division:
1. DiNic's: Roast Pork Sandwich - The most nominated sandwich among the 64, this is often considered the Philly signature sandwich moreso than the cheesesteak.
9. Royal Tavern: The Angus Burger - One of Philly's hottest word-of-mouth burgers, the Angus is covered in Gouda, a long hot, bacon, and caramelized onions.
3. Tony Lukes: Roast Pork Sandwich - Tony Luke's is all about the cheesesteak, but his roast pork is the better sandwich, and one of the best in Philly.
6. Herschel's East Side Deli: Hot Pastrami -Somewhat hidden in the RTM, the Hot Pastrami at Herschel's is a deli star, and can hang with any NYC versions.
4. Shank's: Chicken Italiano - No matter where they move, Shank's cutlet sandwiches are the best. Topped with sharp provolone and broccoli rabe is the way to go.
5. Good Dog Bar: Good Dog Burger - Stuffed with melty bleu cheese, this is still one of our favorite burgers in Philly, no matter all the hype around other newcomers.
10. Cafe Nhu Y: Banh Mi - The second-most nominated banh mi in town, closely following QT Vietnamese. We prefer Nhu Y, as the pate is much spicier than at QT.
15. Standard Tap: Softshell Crab Sandwich - The brunch favorite is seasonal only, but undeniably amazing. Fried perfectly on crusty bread with special mayo.
The Norman Fell Division:
1. Paesano's: Arista - The modern-day answer to DiNic's Roast Pork, Paesano's version is made with suckling pig and has long hots along for the ride.
8. Pub & Kitchen: Parliament Burger - Is it evil to have two burgers from the same joint in the same division? Yup, but it's put up or shut up time. This patty might not be proprietary blend beef, but it's damn good. Topped with housemade bacon, Vermont cheddar, and a big fat fresh onion slice on it, this burger rules.
2. South Philly Taproom: Grilled Three Cheese - This is the best sandwich in Philly that isn't a cheesesteak or a roast porkwich. What else do you need to know?
10. Brauhaus Schmitz: Bratwurst Sandwich - Jeremy Nolen makes the best bratwurst we've ever eaten, so, put that on a roll with his Food & Wine-famous mustard, and you've got something.
3. The Smoke Truck: BBQ Pork Sandwich - Mark Coates makes the best BBQ in Philly, and this is his best sandwich.
6. Sarcone's: Italian Hoagie - Sure they make great rolls, but they also put together a mean sandwich on that bread. The Italian is a classic, and fresh ingredients go well with fresh bread.
4. Pub & Kitchen: Churchill - Pub and Kitchen's signature burger boasts a proprietary LaFreida blend and an $18 price tag. Still, it's delicious. And don't put cheese on it.
5. Ricci's: Old Fashioned Italian - One of Philly's most underrated shops at 11th and Ellsworth. Their Old Fashioned Italian might be the best in town.
The Joey Lawrence Division:
1. John's Roast Pork: Cheesesteak - The roast pork is damn good, but the cheesesteak is the very best in Philly. The best.
9. Varga Bar: Veggie Burger - Evan Turney is a meat man, but he has a great touch with the veggie set. Topped with truffle aioli and cheddar, it's the lustiest of all the veggie burgers in town.
2. Village Whiskey: Village Burger - While not our favorite burger, this is the one everyone falls all over themselves about, so it sits at a number 2 seed. The consensus Philly favorite.
10. Ishkabibbles: Chicken Cheesesteak - This South Street institution has so-so cheesesteaks, but the chicken ones are for real. They say they invented it, but who really knows. They're delicious.
11. Village Belle: Meatball Sliders - Sure, they got famous up north, but the Campanaro's are from here, and this recipe belongs to us. Believe the hype, this little sandwich rules.
14. Sammy Chon's: Koagie - Spicy pork, cole slaw, and kimchi on a roll go really well together, and Sammy Chon's makes our favorite version.
12. Ba Le: BBQ Pork Banh Mi - The Washington Avenue bakery whips up a solid banh mi, and their BBQ Pork version is really sweet and tangy. Underrated eating.
13. Li'l Dan's Food Truck: The Godfather - The Godfather is a drunk masterpiece. Chicken cutlet, ham, lettuce, and tomato. An up-and-comer in the food truck scene.
The Seth Green Division:
1. Nick's Roast Beef: Roast Beef Sandwich - The signature sandwich at Nick's is better than the hype. Wet the roll and dump a glob of horseradish on it for good measure.
9. Khyber Pass Pub: BLT - A deep fried green tomato, lettuce, and Benton's bacon. The simplest idea, and it's so damn delicious.
2. Paesano's: Paesano - Another Paesano's superstar, The namesake sandwich is a brisket beauty with horseradish mayo, pepperoncini, and a fried egg.
10. Butcher & Singer: B&S Burger - We're not huge fans of Butcher and Singer, but that burger is serious business. Also, it makes us fee fancy to get a hamburger there.
3. Salumeria: Italian Hoagie - A beast of Italian meatiness. Coppa, capicola, mortadella, provolone, and roasted red peppers fill a massive roll. An RTM staple.
11. Supper: Supper Burger - The Supper Burger is another Pat LaFreida meat masterpiece, topped with country ham, cheddar, and caramelized onions. A must have.
4. Melino's: Classic Turkey - Our man Questlove turned us onto this place a year ago, and we haven't looked back. Fresh meats, and the nicest guys behind the dirty counter. It's a giant masterpiece of a hoagie, and an easy 4 seed.
5. Rocco's Italian Sausage: Hot Italian Sausage - Tucked away at the Home Depot, Rocco's is the reason to buy stuff to fix your house. No shame eating in the parking lot.
That's a lot to think about over the next four days. But, well be breaking it down into just four fights each day, starting with the Sherman Hemsley Division tomorrow at 2 P.M. May the best sandwich win.
· All Sandwich Supremacy Coverage [~EPHI~]