7167 Hegerman St
Philadelphia, PA 19135
The Great Northeast had been like a foreign country to me when I was living in South Philly. Now that I am somewhat closer, I have been trying to branch out and get in on some of the good food up in this interesting segment of the city. In Tacony, there is a sandwich shop that is all the rage among the locals, but I had never heard of it before. Jack's Place is a neighborhood hoagie shop that also offers homemade soups, fried foods and hot sandwiches.
If you are lucky, when you walk in, you will be greeted by Jack himself. It's apparent that Jack takes great pride in his establishment, and the warm and inviting atmosphere is a breath of fresh air from the sometimes overly arrogant attitudes exuded by some of the well-known sandwich shops. While I was waiting for my sandwich, Jack told me a couple of times about how good his soup was. I decided to go ahead and purchase one on his recommendation, but he ended up throwing in a small order for free. He said, "I talked you into it, so this one's on the house." Amazing.
Minimalist decor, a small customer waiting area and a sizable prep area provides the perfect layout (and ambiance) for this Mom-and-Pop style shop.
There is also an antipasto bar with everything from olives to marinated artichokes to pepper shooters. A reasonable $5 a pound for most things makes for a nice accompaniment to your order.
I grabbed a menu and went with the Original Italian. The slogan "Best Hoagie in the Free World!" alone is enough to make me a believer.
Jack is always watching what is going down.
The Original Italian consists of Cotechino, genoa, capicola, pepperoni and sharp prov. A half is served on a seeded Sarcone's roll. Jack also uses an olive spread that doesn't taste overtly "olivey" but has an incredible depth of flavor and adds the "umph" to his sandwiches that many places are missing.
Each is lovingly constructed, and all of the ingredients are in perfect balance. This is a winner. Over lunch, the question was raised "where is the best Italian in Philly?" Now that D'Alessandro's is no more, I would have to say that Jack's is high in the runnings. It was just gourmet enough without losing the blue-collar- quality nature of a true hoagie.
The chicken rice soup was surprisingly excellent as well. I usually would not order soup at a hoagie spot, but this was certainly worth another order. I imagine any soup of the day would be delicious at Jack's. Mushrooms, carrots, wild rice and chicken in a creamy base made for a satisfying bowl of comfort on a cold winter day.