OPEN SINCE THE fall in the odd subterranean lair of the cloud-gouging Comcast Center, Frank's Old Philly-Style Sandwiches is a lunch stop from the team behind LaScala's at Seventh and Chestnut streets. Despite its deadly proximity to the world HQ of one of the least efficient conglomerates I'm aware of (insert crack about how cable guys never show up on time here), Frank's is a speedy operation with better-than-average eats.
On a recent visit, several surly Blackberry-toting businessmen, the backs of their starched dress shirts wrinkled from reclining in their high-back office chairs for most of the morning, barely got a chance to sigh impatiently before the hyper-speed threesome behind the counter wrapped up and bagged their stuff. I phoned in my big order ahead of time to save myself the displeasure of overhearing my fellow customers talk about their lumbar issues or their grueling commutes or whatever else those types of guys tend to talk about.
Given that LaScala's is more of a tourist-friendly pizza and pasta joint than anything else, the breadth of sandwiches on offer at Frank's comes off less like a trusty one-stop between-bread shop (think Tony Luke's) than a humble curation of South Philly specialties for an unschooled crowd. They do an entire array of cheesesteaks (both regular and chicken), a small selection of sausage- and meatball-based delights and hoagies on crunchy seeded Italian rolls, among other things.
Like most spots of this ilk, some sandwiches are better than others. Squashed onto pillowy torpedo bread in the style of your corner pizzeria, Frank’s mushroom cheesesteak is perfectly satisfying, though the fine chop of the meat would probably elicit shrieks of woe from your Uncle Angelo down on Shunk. An overstuffed tuna salad hoagie was tasty, if a little heavy on the mayo.
The meat in a grilled chicken caprese was moist and well-seasoned, but too much mixed greens with not enough balsamic dressing made most bites taste like dry lettuce. Thankfully, a sausage, egg and peppers sandwich made up for any lacking in the moistness department. This winner is basically a huge pile of S&P-dusted scrambled eggs amended with split links of juicy sausage, sautéed bell peppers and gobs of melted American — an omelette in the most unapologetic sense.