Much of the stretch of PA-Rt. 263 – or York Road – that is the main drag in Hatboro, Pennsylvania, still looks like it belongs in the mid to late 20th century more so than the current era. As a child growing up in neighboring Southampton during the late 60s and early 70s, my mother would drag me against my will to a store called Santerians that specialized in children’s clothing and was just off that strip.
Santerians is long gone, but Silvio’s Deli, which has been serving some of the Philly region’s best steak and hoagie rolls for over 40 years, is still standing in Hatboro and is as popular as ever if my personal observations mean anything. But they underwent a major change recently when they merged with Tosco’s Pizza. While their sign is still showing them as simply Silvio’s Deli, they’ve updated their website and Facebook page to indicate that they are now going by the name, Silvio’s Deli & Tosco’s Pizza.
They’ve also reopened their interior to customers after an extended, Covid-influenced period of doing business through a takeout window. They’ve never had indoor seating to the best of my knowledge, but a corner of their parking lot is now a covered outdoor seating area with a few tables.
After going many years without visiting Silvio’s while moving around to other parts of the Philadelphia region, I returned a couple times earlier this year and sampled both a cheesesteak and ham & cheese hoagie. My plan was to eventually go back for a cheesesteak stromboli and put the three visits together as one blog post. But I mistakenly deleted the photos from those earlier visits as I was purging some of the many cheesesteak photos I had been storing on my desktop computer last month. I also decided to get a regular cheesesteak today instead of a stromboli in order to make sure there haven’t been any noticeable changes to their rolls or the steaks generally.
While I was waiting to place my order, I spotted a special tomato pie they have on sale in honor of the Phillies’ return to the World Series.
As you can see, Philadelphia-style tomato pies are nothing like the central Jersey version. They are usually rectangular, served at room temperature and only topped with sauce and grated Parmesan cheese.
I also spotted a couple partial regular pizzas on the shelves behind the counter. This is something new for Silvio’s. It would have just started with the recent merger. They had previously only sold rectangular pan pizzas – a.k.a. grandma-style pies. I decided to try a plain slice along with my small cheesesteak with Cooper Sharp cheese and fried onions.
The pizza was fine, but nothing special. It’s possible it had been sitting on that shelf for a while before I got there. I may get a whole pie at some point to try it when freshly made.
But the pizza was secondary to my interest in making sure Silvio’s vaunted rolls are as great as ever. They are made on sight and are legendary in Hatboro and the surrounding towns. In fact, I rated them as the best seedless steak rolls in the region last month.
Here is a photo of the hoagie I had there earlier this year that I was able to track down online.
And here is Saturday’s cheesesteak.
The only visual difference is that they’ve changed the indentation pattern on the tops of the rolls. But it had the same great taste and texture as always. The crust is wonderfully chewy, and they are a bit heftier than most steak rolls. That’s why I ordered a small cheesesteak. It may only be 8-9 inches long, but it left me as full as larger steaks from other places often do the last time I had one.
They don’t use a lot of meat by today’s standards, but they don’t skimp either. I thought everything was well proportioned, and the Cooper Sharp was blended in nicely with the meat and onions. It was a very good steak, albeit not an elite one – other than the roll.
I might go so far as to recommend getting a hoagie over a steak to those visiting Silvio’s for the first time. That’s not a knock on their cheesesteaks as much as it is a comment on how great their hoagies are. And as fantastic as those rolls are for steaks, they may be even better suited to hoagies.
I plan on finally getting to that cheesesteak stromboli the next time I visit Silvio’s and will likely tell you all about it.