Legendary Cheesesteak Guru Facing His Toughest Battle

Legendary South Philadelphia shack John’s Roast Pork is famous for some of the best cheesesteaks and roast pork in the city.

The Inquirer just broke it to the general public that JRP’s chief operator, 42-year-old John Bucci Jr., is battling agressive prelukemia and is receiving a bone marrow transplant:

Just a month ago, Bucci was pumping his fists and giving a teary-eyed acceptance speech after winning a cheesesteak competition run by Glen Macnow, a host at WIP-AM (610) who, after eating at 44 other places, declared John’s “the greatest cheesesteak I’ve ever had.”

And that was only the latest honor. Under Bucci’s watch, this 78-year-old pork shack, a humble truck stop for most of its years, has been catapulted into the city’s pantheon for destination cheesesteaks. The Inquirer chose John’s as its ultimate cheesesteak in 2002, and articles in Gourmet and Esquire and a James Beard Foundation Award as an “American Classic” followed.

Yet as Bucci competed in the final WIP cook-off, his spleen was swelling with cancer. His bone-marrow cells had just acquired a second DNA mutation, Klumpp said, that showed Bucci’s condition, chronic myeloproliferative disease, was rapidly heading toward acute leukemia, which could become lethal in weeks.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Bucci and his family.

John’s Roast Pork [MenuPages]
John’s Roast Pork [Official Site]
The tender and the tough

[Image via Philadelphia Inquirer]

Legendary Cheesesteak Guru Facing His Toughest Battle