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Our 10 favorite roast pork sandwiches | Let’s Eat

Also: Marc Vetri is opening on the Main Line, a visit with a tomato farmer, a review of Irwin's, and word of a pop-up cocktail bar.

A roast pork sandwich at John's Roast Pork in South Philadelphia.
A roast pork sandwich at John's Roast Pork in South Philadelphia.Read moreTIM TAI / Staff Photographer

Get plenty of napkins ready for our look at roast pork sandwiches. Also this week, we’re offering a Main Line restaurant scoop, a visit with a tomato farmer, a review of a hot Sicilian restaurant, and word of a soon-to-open outdoor cocktail bar.

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Michael Klein

Roast pork sandwiches to savor

That holy trinity of juiciness — slow-roasted pork, broccoli rabe, sharp provolone — is on ample display in the Philadelphia area, where some will insist that the roast pork sandwich has supplanted the cheesesteak as the region’s signature sandwich. We’ve rounded up our 10 favorite roast pork sandwiches, including one from a veteran restaurateur who tracked down the specific cut of pork that his mom cooked at home and then opened a sandwich shop.

Enoteca Tredici is closing Saturday, and Marc Vetri is moving in

In Bryn Mawr, Enoteca Tredici’s three-year run concludes Saturday, Aug. 20. The upside for Main Liners: Marc Vetri and Jeff Benjamin will reconfigure the skylit space into an Italian steakhouse with a fun side. The 610, incidentally, is getting more attention. Over the spring, Avram Hornik extended his empire to Ardmore with Lola’s Garden at Suburban Square. Next door, Cat and Kevin Huang are less than a month from opening a branch of DanDan. (Speaking of Suburban Square: I’m also hearing that NYC-based Rosa Mexicano has designs on the shuttered Besito.) Other Main Line future projects of note: Florida-based restaurateur Jennifer Hammer is behind The Pullman, a swank bar-restaurant inspired by old-fashioned railcar dining where Tango used to be in the Bryn Mawr train station, and Nicholas Elmi and Fia Berisha are readying Lark to complement their hit Landing Kitchen at the Ironworks at Pencoyd Landing in Bala Cynwyd.

Read on for more restaurant news.

I love farm stands, from my head tomatoes

Chef-turned-farmer Dan Waber might be the tomato king of Upper Montgomery County, given his crop of 320 varieties of heirlooms. What’s his favorite? “The last one I ate,” he told critic Craig LaBan one recent day at his farm stand, Rainbow Tomatoes Garden. Buy some Lioni Latticini buffalo mozzarella out of Waber’s fridge, and create the most fascinating Caprese salad you’ll ever make.

It’s been a bumper year for tomatoes, and it’s not too late for you to ketchup. We recently asked food pros for their ideas, and Inquirer food editors Jamila Robinson and Joseph Hernandez shared five of their own favorite tomato recipes.

Irwin’s: Sicilian cooking with a view

For his latest review, Craig has found a confluence of fresh talent (starting with former Res Ipsa chef Michael Vincent Ferreri), locale (on the roof of the Bok building in South Philly), and one of the most distinctive and edgy dining rooms in Philadelphia. He writes that Irwin’s is “a magnetic destination.”

Craig also weighs in on restaurateurs’ decision to require proof of vaccinations to dine indoors. When it comes to vaccination proof requirements at restaurants, he’s all for it. (While you’re at it, check out our regularly-updated list of restaurants requiring proof of vaccination for indoor dining.)

This weekend, Craig will look at steak options and asks the sizzling question: “Where should I spend a hundred bucks a person?”

An Italian chef breaking the mold

When Wilmington’s buzzy Italian restaurant Bardea closed temporarily at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the kitchen got moldy. In a good way. Chef Antimo DiMeo used the forced downtime to dive into fermentation — particularly koji, Japan’s national mold, most often used to make miso and soy sauce. No matter that DiMeo’s cooking is rooted in his Italian heritage: Contributor Sarah Maiellano explains how DiMeo uses it to create flavor bombs in all kinds of dishes.

Future shop: How will we buy groceries in a post-pandemic world?

The pandemic turned tens of millions of Americans into first-time online grocery buyers, fueling a 54% growth in web sales across the industry last year, according to the researcher eMarketer. Though many of those customers are now returning to stores, some of those online gains will stick, forcing groceries to adapt to changing shopping habits. There’s a battle for “omnichannel customers,” as the insiders call them, and colleague Christian Hetrick tells you how it’s being waged.

Restaurant report

Glu Hospitality which has expansive holdings in Northern Liberties, will open an end-of-summer pop-up cocktail garden on Friday, Aug. 20 outside of the former Wahlburgers restaurant at the Piazza (1033 N. Second St.).

The 60-seater, carrying the name Leda & the Swan (after Glu’s Center City bar), will run this weekend and Labor Day weekend with live music (Friday and Saturday) and a menu of cocktails, 22 wines by the glass, eight draft beers and a simple menu of charcuterie and bruschetta.

Inside, partners Tim Lu and Derek Gibbons are readying a pizzeria called Figo to complement their other restaurants, including Germantown Garden, Vesper Dayclub, Germantown Garden Grill, Anejo, and SET NoLibs.

Hours this weekend will be 5-10 p.m. Friday-Sunday. They will resume 5-10 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 26-Sunday, Aug. 29.

KeVen Parker’s unexpected passing in January 2021 shuttered his South Street restaurants as well as his popular cafe at Reading Terminal Market. His former manager, Perry Ison, is behind Ma Lessie’s Chicken & Waffles, a new incarnation opening soon. Ready for an egg roll filled with turkey, mashed potatoes, and collards, served with a gravy dipping sauce?

Reading Terminal’s Filipino stand, Tambayan, marks its grand opening on Thursday, Aug. 19 with free ube cake to the first 50 customers who dine in, and free macaron and fried lumpia to the first 50 takeout customers. Opens at 9 a.m.; ceremony is at 11 a.m.

Saturday, Aug. 21 is the grand opening of Up to Eleven, a coffee shop at 65 Cricket Ave. in Ardmore from Laura Fay, cofounder of Separatist Beer Project. Fittingly, the festivities, from 7 a.m.-3 p.m., are aligned with Ardmore’s Rock’n Ride event, which includes a USA Cycling race and a music fest by Ardmore Music Hall.

Tuesday, Aug. 24 is the public opening of The Copper Crow, a stylish American bar-restaurant at 116 Welsh Rd. in Horsham, from the Blue Bell Inn’s Scott Dougherty and Bruce Goodman. Check the all-day menu, which will be served from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday to Sunday.

Last summer, Corey Nguyen shuttered Colonial Quy-Bau, his elegant French-Vietnamese-Thai BYOB in Willow Grove, amid the pandemic doldrums. Nguyen, a veteran of the Fountain and Swann Lounge at the old Four Seasons Hotel, has opened the similarly white-tablecloth Saigon Quy-Bau with his brother, Alan, at 1318 South St.

The day starts with American-style breakfasts (a rarity around Broad and South). Lunch and dinner offerings are reminiscent of the Willow Grove location — some fancy, some more plebeian: golden bags filled with crab and shrimp; escargot; summer rolls; pistachio-crusted Berkshire pork chop in cognac-Dijon mustard sauce, chicken and cashew in a roasted garlic sauce; and pad see ew. It’s BYOB.

UPDATE: Breakfast will start Wednesday, Aug. 25.

1318 South St., Hours: 7 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 7 a.m.-10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Phone: 215-645-0165.

Fill ‘er up, all right. Found premium, home-spun Mexican food on White Horse Pike at the Phillips 66 gas station in Clementon, N.J., which also houses a mini-mart-slash-cafe called La Chalupa.

The fridge and shelves are filled with Latin American bocadillos and bebidas, as well as an assortment of groceries, iingredients, and cheeses. There’s also a grill pumping out tasty cooked-to-order breakfasts, plus pupusas, flautas, tacos, chalupas, and pastelitas, with a few tables for dining in.

12 S. White Horse Pike, Clementon. Phone: 856-258-4448. Hot food served 5 a.m.-2 p.m. daily.