My last post was about Cocco’s in Primos, one of the two purveyors of cheesesteaks near me that I turn to when craving one too badly to wait until my next planned outing. I concluded by mentioning an intent to revisit the other one – Johnny Paisano’s – in the near future. It happened a lot sooner than anticipated when my wife and I both decided we were due for one of our periodic dinners there Saturday evening.
After having – and posting on – several cheesesteaks from Johnny’s, I had been exploring other menu options during our last couple visits. But they recently made the Final Four of Philadelphia Cheesesteak Adventure’s (PCA) annual tournament, which re-peaked my interest in having another.
I have been very fond of Johnny P’s steaks since first trying one during the summer of 2021. They didn’t quite make my Top 10 list, but they did receive serious consideration for at least an honorable mention. Jim Pappas, who runs PCA, and his tournament judges know what they’re talking about, so when I saw them rate this sandwich so highly, I wanted to have another one soon to see if I had possibly sold it short.
They’ve got a casual but very inviting little dining room with a mafia film theme on their walls. There were also seasonal decorations.
In addition to sandwiches, their menu features a large selection of pasta, chicken, veal and seafood entrees that come with a salad and a healthy basket of garlic bread. While my wife has ordered entrees a couple times, I have always gone the sandwich route; something we both did on this occasion.
My wife opted for an eggplant parmigiana sandwich, while I ordered their standard cheesesteak with fried onions. It comes with American cheese unless Provolone is requested.
While we waited for our food, I checked out their selection of soups-to-go in one of their refrigerators. Johnny passionately promotes his soups on Facebook after making huge batches that he sells in quart containers. We didn’t take any to go, but my wife started her meal with a cup of chicken-pasta soup. I had a taste and can confirm that Johnny has a right to brag about it.
I also grabbed a bag of ketchup-flavored potato chips. It was the only kind they had in reasonably small bags. I’m not sure I’ll return to them. Herr’s isn’t very subtle with their artificial flavoring.
Our sandwiches were brought out in foil-covered baskets before too long. The eggplant parmigiana was finished in the oven – grinder style. And there was no skimping on cheese.
I’m not an eggplant fan, but my wife clearly enjoyed it very much. She usually only eats half of a large sandwich and takes the rest home, but she downed all of this one Saturday at Johnny’s.
As always, my steak was very good. The seeded roll from Aversa’s Italian Bakery is top notch. It’s a little crusty, but what’s within that crust is always soft and extremely fresh.
The meat was high quality and probably chopped a little thicker than what I had at Cocco’s last week. The flavor was a bit more complex too. It tasted like there could have been more than just salt and pepper on there. Whatever it was worked well. The beef was flavorful and moist. There was also a proportionate amount of cheese mixed in well with it and the onions were nicely fried.
All in all, it was a hell of a sandwich. As was the case with the one from Cocco’s, I’m left wondering if I should have at least mentioned it as an honorable mention on my Top 10 list. It’s not out of the question that I guarded against favoring my local shops and sold them short in the process.
I intend to revisit that list at some point. I’m also starting to toy with the idea of expanding it to a Top 20. There are so many good steaks in this region. The two I’ve written about the past few days are certainly among them.
4 thoughts on “My Other Nearby Go-To Place for a Cheesesteak”
Since many of the cheesesteak places you’ve visited seem to do this, are the empty bread boxes often deliberately left in a visible place as a way of telling the public whose bread is used?
You’ll have to get a quart of soup sometime!
I doubt that. I would guess they leave the empties there and the bakery delivery person grabs them the next morning when he or she drops off that day’s rolls, which are probably left in that spot before Johnny or any of the employees arrive.