Despite Travel Channel accolade, 'best sandwich' debate rages

Joe Nicolosi and wife, Christina , celebrate DiNic's roast pork being named the best sandwich in America on Tuesday by Travel Channel personality Adam Richman.
Joe Nicolosi and wife, Christina , celebrate DiNic's roast pork being named the best sandwich in America on Tuesday by Travel Channel personality Adam Richman. (ED HILLE / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER)
Posted: August 17, 2012

DiNIC'S ROAST PORK - sliced thin with broccoli rabe and extra-sharp provolone on a seeded Carangi's roll - is a damn good sandwich. But the best in America?

A day after the Reading Terminal Market stalwart was named the best sandwich in the country by a Travel Channel show, some competitors and their devotees questioned whether host Adam Richman had cast a wide-enough net.

Richman announced the winner Wednesday night, after sampling 28 sandwiches throughout the country and naming 10 regional finalists and two wild cards.

His decision ruffled the feathers of some rivals - like Chris Peterman, of Paesano's, in the Italian Market - who were given the cold shoulder by Richman.

"Of course we think that Paesano's has the best," Peterman said. "I don't know how you can name a best sandwich in the country without coming to Paesano's first."

A little farther south on Oregon Avenue near Front Street, some standing in line at Tony Luke's argued over who has the best roast pork in the city. When asked if Tony Luke's had better roast-pork sandwiches than DiNic's, Eric Fletcher, of New York, immediately said, "Absolutely." The man next to him disagreed.

"I actually think DiNic's is better," Dan Gildea, of Delaware, said as he waited for his food at Tony Luke's. "Even though that's what I ordered here."

At the Reading Terminal Market, those in the line that wrapped around the DiNic's stand hailed its sandwiches, saying that it deserves its title.

"As far as I've had, it's the best," said Lauryn Volovar, of Ambler. "It's worth waiting in line for . . . and it's something everyone should try once."

Another South Philly gem, John's Roast Pork, was considered as a wild-card contender for the contest, and its owner congratulated DiNic's, saying that he's glad the winner came from the city.

"I'm happy for DiNic's," John Bucci Jr. said in his small sandwich shop on Snyder Avenue near Swanson Street. "I'm just glad to be considered for it ."

Bucci, who just returned to full-time work last week after a battle with leukemia that began four years ago, is no stranger to awards and talked about the impact of these contests on other facets than just business.

His sandwich shop won WIP host Glen Macnow's Ultimate Cheesesteak Challenge in 2008, and Bucci said the win made a difference during his health struggles.

Philly has gotten lots of Travel Channel love this summer. In July, chef and TV personality Anthony Bourdain filmed an episode of "The Layover" at food hot spots around the city - including Paesano's.


Contact Sean Carlin at 215-854-2148 or carlins@phillynews.com. Follow on Twitter @SeanCarlin84.

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