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Don't even think about calling it a hoagie. In Norristown, a small industrial city just west of Philadelphia, vaguely Italian sliced meat sandwiches on long rolls are not called subs, hoagies, or grinders. They are Zeps, and there are rules. Eve's and nearby Lou's Sandwich Shop are widely considered the cream of the crop.
3 Rules of the Zep
So what exactly is a Norristown Zep?
- Rule number one: only one kind of meat, cut thick. On a classic Zep, it's cooked salami: pink and specked with peppercorns, more bologna than genoa, along with mild provolone, also thick cut.
- Rule number two: no lettuce. Tomatoes and lots of fresh sliced onion, dressed with salad oil and oregano.
- Rule number three: it must be on fresh bread from Conshohocken Bakery (also purveyors of fantastic tomato pie). The bread is flatter and wider than a seeded Italian hoagie loaf.
How does it taste? Amazing. A very clean, simple sandwich and a refreshing alternative to South Philly hoagies with milder meats and bread from Conshy Bakery that's soft but not squishy.
You can tell Eve's really puts some care into their sandwiches. Everything is super fresh and the ratio of bread to meat and cheese is right on. Even the onion, which tends to be a little heavy with a Zep. Along with the classic, you can also get turkey Zeps, chicken salad Zeps, cheesesteak and even hamburger Zeps. The standard topping is hot pepper relish, and unlike an Italian hoagie, mayonnaise seems to be acceptable.
318 E Johnson Hwy, Norristown PA (map)
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