City Cast

Philly’s Best Diners

Wil Fulton
Wil Fulton
Posted on October 30
Now that's a turkey club sandwich. (@penrosediner)

Now that's a turkey club sandwich. (@penrosediner)

The classic neighborhood greasy spoon is a time-honored Philly tradition on par with celebratory greased-pole climbing. And even as some legendary diners shut their doors, Philadelphia is still a haven for those seeking breakfast for dinner, hangover-busting sandwiches, or brunch sans a hundred drunken 25-year-olds. Here’s a sampler platter of some of our favorite diners around town (and feel free to send us in some of your favs, too!)

Why It’s Great: It’s a 24-hour joint in a town that normally shuts down after midnight, the portions are obscenely enormous, the baked goods are all made in-house, and in true Philly fashion they even have water ice for dessert.

What to Order: The Liberty Bell Jamboree is their riff on a breakfast platter, with French toast or pancakes, eggs how you like ‘em, home fries, and bacon or sausage. (Plus water ice afterward, obviously).

Why It’s Great: South Philly’s Penrose Diner is a popular post- or pre-game destination for Eagles and Phillies fans, boasts an exhaustive, Cheesecake Factory-esque menu (steaks, seafood, and spaghetti living in culinary harmony!), and some choice $9 cocktails to boot.

What to Order: As mentioned above, the options are seemingly limitless. But it’s hard to argue with the South Philly omelet, featuring Italian sausage, sweet peppers, and provolone cheese.

Why It’s Great: Don't let the basic aesthetics fool you: this cash-only Bella Vista mainstay features homemade dishes with troll-tastic spins (expect to see politically charged specials, like the “Trump,” a white bread sandwich full of bologna with an extra small pickle) and a surprisingly solid selection of vegan options.

What to Order: For the meat-averse, Sam’s does a daily tofu scramble. For the pancake-obsessed, their extra fluffy Glory Cakes are some of the best in the biz.

Why It’s Great: This combo diner/beer garden/clubby lounge is definitely a modern take on an old classic (the actual diner is housed in a legit 50s dining car, which is a nice touch) but the comfort food delivers and cocktails are top notch.

What to Order: For the brunch crowd (Saturday and Sunday from 11am - 3pm), try the vanilla pancakes complete with berry compote and powdered sugar, and pair it with a pitcher of blood orange margaritas because you deserve it, reader!

H/T to Beatrice Forman of the Philadelphia Inquirer and City Cast Philly’s own Trenae Nuri for their reporting/picks.

Hey Philly

Want to know what's happening in Philadelphia? Sign up for our free newsletter, Hey Philly. Packed with local news, curated event recs, local life hacks, and more, it's your daily toolkit for getting the most out of the city you love.

Philly's Best

See All

The latest in Philly