In the middle of an unassuming block of West Girard Avenue on the border of the Northern Liberties and Fishtown sections of Philadelphia, you will find a quaint town home with a red awning, which is actually the best new hoagie shop around, Paesano's. After a lovely stroll through the farmer's market at the Piazza at Schmitz, a newer condominium community that surrounds a giant open square, friends of my husband I brought us a few blocks over to partake in what they said was their "new favorite hoagie in Philadelphia". After that bold statement, we were more than intrigued.
As we approached this clean little sandwich shop with outdoor seating and a line to get to the counter, I knew this was going to be good. Paesano's menu is written in chalk on a board above the counter, which we studied for a bit before deciding on the "Daddy Wad-an Italian hoagie with sharp provolone, arugula, tomato, onions, and sweet and hot peppers". High-quality, thick slices of ham, salami, mortadella and sharp provolone provide the perfect mixture of spiciness, nuttiness, and saltiness. The heaviness of the Italian meats and cheese is cut with the peppery bite of arugula, sweet tomato slices, and tangy sweet and hot peppers all piled into a soft-on-the-inside but crispy-on-the-outside sesame-seeded hoagie roll.
With the fresh creativity of this sandwich menu, I know I will return to try some more of Paesano's hoagie creations. The "Daddy Wad" is just the beginning as the menu brings meaty items like the "Paesano-beef brisket, provolone, roasted tomato and horseradish mayo with a fried egg", or the "Arista-whole roasted suckling pig, broccoli rabe, Italian longhots, Jus, and provolone cheese". With a new spin a hot dog that will have you spinning, try the "Tuscan Tony-all beef dog with sopressata, bolognese (meat sauce), provolone and Italian longhots". There is no shortage of variety at Paesano's with items like the "Diavlo-spicy chicken with salami, roasted tomato, provolone and broccoli rabe", the "Gustaio-roasted lamb sausage with sun-dried cherry, mustarda, Gorgonzola and fennel", or the "Zawzeech-sweet Italian sausage, caramelized peppers and onions, and sharp provolone".
For something on the lighter side, go for the "Tuna Italiano-tuna salad with hard-cooked egg, green olives and roasted tomato". Vegetarian items include the "Panelle-Sicilian chic pea pancake with roasted tomato, fennel and Godzuki sauce (sour cream, lemon, garlic, rosemary and hot sauce)" or the "Giardina-roasted eggplant with fennel, peppers, fresh mozzarella and basil pesto". After checking out this menu thoroughly, I am ready to head back and order a Panelle today! The chefs and owners of Paesano's also own the lovely BYOB across the street called Modo Mio, another must-try restaurant in the Philadelphia area offering a unique yet authentic Italian menu. Head to the edge of Northern Liberties and Fishtown for a modern twist on the classic hoagie.
152 West Girard Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19123