My Next Roast Pork – at a Northeast Philly Deli

While I am enjoying my Roast Pork sandwich project, I’ve already concluded that I simply can’t eat those every week like I did with cheesesteaks for roughly a year. The fact that I’m still averaging a steak every 1-2 weeks undoubtedly plays a role in that. There are only so many long-roll sandwiches I can handle in any short period. But on top of that, when push comes to shove, I still prefer steaks to roast pork sandwiches.

Nonetheless, I was due for a roast pork and decided to get one at a place in Northeast Philly that I wrote about in early 2022 with regard to their cheesesteaks: Datillo’s Delicatessen. It sits just off the busy intersection of Busetleton Avenue and Rhawn Street and has the look and feel of a classic corner Italian deli – both outside and in.

I was able to confirm via the bread boxes on the sidewalk in front of Datillo’s that they still get their rolls from Corropolese Italian Bakery. They are a popular supplier with Philadelphia area sandwich shops, but their rolls tend to be a bit softer and less crusty than I prefer.

Datillo’s Delicatessen in the Northeast section of Philadelphia.
Datillo’s is takeout only and does a brisk business at lunch time.

I didn’t think of specifying that I wanted my hot roast pork sandwich – which I ordered with broccoli rabe and sharp Provolone – on a seeded roll. The steak I had there last year came on one by default and virtually all of the online photos I’ve seen of their sandwiches included seeded rolls. But that turned out to be a mistake on my part. When I got back to my car and unwrapped the sandwich, I found that it was on a seedless roll. 

I don’t have a hard rule about seeded and unseeded rolls. But when I started eating a lot of cheesesteaks, it was impossible for me to not notice that most of my favorites were seeded, while many of the seedless ones were lackluster. And my past experiences with unseeded Corropolese rolls were not very positive. This one was actually a little better than a couple of the others I’ve had, but it still soaked all the way through on the bottom from the moisture of the meat.

Hot roast pork sandwich with broccoli rabe and sharp Provolone cheese – a.k.a. the Roast Pork Italiano.
The Corropolese seedless roll wasn’t sturdy enough to stand up to the moist roast pork that it held.

The best part of this sandwich was unquestionably the pork itself. Datillo’s “home-cooked” roast pork loin is extremely moist and flavorful. As I’ve said about the other moist pork loin sandwiches I’ve eaten, I’d guess they either dip the meat or leave it in au jus until placing it on the roll. 

The broccoli rabe was also flavorful and had a nice texture. The stems were cut up and not as chewy as I’ve experienced at a couple other places. 

Aside from the roll, the one other disappointing aspect of the sandwich for me was the cheese. It wasn’t bad by any means. But I’ve discovered a definite preference for aged sharp provolone that is shaved or shredded onto the roll beneath the meat as opposed to a thicker layer of melted – and less potent – Provolone since starting to eat more Roast Pork sandwiches. 

I know gooey cheese is very popular, but I don’t think it works well as part of a Roast Pork Italiano.

The overall flavor of this sandwich was very good, but the issues with the roll and cheese probably keep it from being among my favorites. If I return to Datillo’s, it will likely be for another cheesesteak – on a seeded roll.

Published by BZ Maestro

I live outside of Philadelphia and have been food-obsessed for as long as I can remember. After toying with the idea of starting a blog for a fairly long time, the extinction of a food-themed message board that I frequented for years prompted me to finally take action. Thank you for taking the time to check out what I've been up to - and eating. If you've enjoyed what you have read and seen, please consider clicking the "like" button and signing up as a follower.

4 thoughts on “My Next Roast Pork – at a Northeast Philly Deli

  1. I love this
    Great blog post! I really enjoyed reading about your experience at Datillo’s Delicatessen and your comparison between cheesesteaks and roast pork sandwiches. I’m curious, have you found any other sandwich shops in Philly that offer both seeded and unseeded rolls for their roast pork sandwiches? And have you tried any with aged sharp provolone shaved or shredded onto the roll beneath the meat? Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experiences!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. I think it’s pretty common for sandwich shops to offer a choice of seeded or seedless rolls. But most places probably go with one by default and you need to make a special request if you want the other. … I believe the sandwiches I had at Pastificio, A Cut Above, and Lil’ Nicks all had aged sharp Provolone shaved or shredded onto the roll beneath the meat:


  2. Hmmm…based on your overall opinion, I think a Datillo’s pork on a seeded roll deserves a shot.

    Was the cheese melted simply by the heat of the sandwich and the foil wrapping?


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