It’s been years since Comfort has served lunch, but the Southern-style restaurant is taking inspiration from a different part of the country for a special menu this summer and Fall. That’s right, the King of Duke’s traded pimento cheese for Cheez Whiz and headed north to Philadelphia for his latest menu. “Jason [Alley, chef and co-owner of Comfort] makes sandwiches all the time and we have old employees who call us up asking for sandwiches,” says Comfort co-owner Michele Jones. “And, we both love Rocky movies. Creed came out last year, so we just thought, what if we did this Rocky pop-up?”
Meet The Paulie
A little more brainstorming, a few more Stallone movies, and The Paulie Philly Style Sandwiches was born. The menu spans 8 cold sandwiches and 6 hot served from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. I stopped by for a preview to see how hard these sandwiches would hit. I also brought my boyfriend who grew up right outside Philadelphia and who returns regularly for authenticity judgement.
Each sandwich is served on a 10-inch Amorosa roll. Side options are simple: Utz chips, coleslaw, and noodle salad. Sandwich options range from simple to inventive. In terms of cold, I enjoyed The Mighty Mick with roast beef, caramelized onions, horseradish, and sharp provolone. Fans of classics will go for Clubber Lang with roasted turkey, roast beef, bacon, and cheddar. Also always satisfying is the Italian Stallion: prosciutto, cappy ham, Genoa salami, mortadella, and sharp provolone. All cold sandwiches come dressed with shredded lettuce, tomato, onion, oil and vinegar, and mayonnaise. Dill pickles, hot peppers or sweet peppers can be added by request.
In terms of hot sandwiches, The Apollo is your classic cheesesteak served “Whiz wit” if you’re from Philly. Your bun comes layered with thinly sliced steak, classic brand-name Cheez Whiz, and grilled onion. I loved how thin the onions were sliced so they blended right in with the other flavors.
The Adonis features a hearty serving of homemade meatballs made using a blend similar to Comfort’s meatloaf, red gravy (sauce if you’re from the South), and sharp provolone. The hot Adrian (not to be confused with the cold Adrian) is a standout blend of crispy eggplant, roasted peppers, red gravy and sharp provolone that packs enough punch to please meat eaters or vegetarians. The Spider Riko features Comfort’s flavorful house-roasted pork topped with garlicky spinach and sharp provolone. I could go on, but basically you can’t go wrong.
Alley stated that while he generally house-makes as much as possible for Comfort, the key for Philadelphia-style sandwiches was sourcing the right ingredients. With flavors like classic Cheez Whiz and Nothern-style pickled peppers, he prefers going straight to the source.
If you go into the Comfort during the pop-up you’ll notice some Stallone-inspired decor, although Jones is still waiting for some fellow fan to buy her the full-size Rocky cutout. In addition, the playlist is all Philadelphia artists with the exception of Bruce Springsteen… because Springsteen.
The pop-up will continue at least through November 5 when Comfort will host Philly Style Sandwich Freak Out as part of Fire, Flour & Fork 2017. Chef Tom Pizzica of Big Chef Tom’s Belly Burges in San Fransisco will join Jason Alley for a walk-around style tasting. Tickets cost $35 and Duvel pairings will be available for an additional fee.