219 S 17th St
Philadelphia, PA 19102
I had another encounter with one of the funniest writers around, @TVMyWifeWatches and this was a mission for tuna melts. Only I didn't get to go where I wanted, so I protested by ordering something else. We had originally wanted to find the perfect tuna melt in the city of Philadelphia. After our initial investigation, we can say for sure it is NOT at Little Pete's.
In all honesty, I had never been to Little Pete's in the light of day. My only memory (or lack thereof) of a L.P.'s encounter was likely half a decade ago - and no doubt nearing 3am, after a long night of boozing. They are one of the few 24 hour joints in Rittenhouse area, so I assume that was how numerous nights had ended in my younger days. The service is good, the counter is great, and the food is, well, predictable. Though we were "those people" at the counter (the only ones who were actually talking and enjoying ourselves, not wallowing in sadness-piles of chicken strips), no one seemed to be too annoyed by our (my) ADHD banter. Look at how jealous the girl who was dipping her toast into her coffee looked of this guy's plate next to me.
So the two "true believers" actually ordered tuna melts, while I maintained a safe distance with a Reuben. Remarkably, the melts came with fries, a soda, and a bowl of soup. My tuna guest ordered some kind of red soup, I think it had clams. He was more upset that they served wheat saltines than traditional white with the bland soup.
The other tuna adventurer ordered chicken orzo soup. Let's just say, Little Pete's does NOT have Progresso on the ropes.
Let's start with the good. Little Pete's makes an entirely passable Reuben. Is it the best I have had? Not even close. Is it somewhat delicious, and something I would order again? Absolutely.
Now, the tuna melts were another beast altogether. I will go on the record and say it was the worst "tuna anything" I have ever tasted. The croissant version was shitty, as was the one served on toasted rye. The tuna was low quality, dry, and lacking any flavor whatsoever. It was strangely reminiscent of cat food. See croissant below.
And where was the mayo? Oily Swiss was the prevailing flavor here, with a tinge of mildly-catty tuna-texture. See rye toast below.
If you are lucky, you might just stumble upon an urban cowboy. All in all, Little Pete's has crappy diner food. The greasy spoon breakfast is probably your best bet. Stick with the Reuben if you are there for lunch, and stay far, far away from the tuna. Anyone have any recommendations for tuna melts?