13 of the Best Breakfast Sandwiches in Philadelphia
A good breakfast sandwich is arguably the perfect morning food. Here are our favorite places to get one in Philly.
Is there any more perfect morning fare in the American culinary lexicon than the breakfast sandwich? We posit that there is not. There’s just something about eggs, cheese, meat (if that’s how you roll) and carbs stacked into an easily portable package that makes the whole thing taste better than its component parts alone — plus, you can eat it on the go. Here are some of our favorite breakfast sandwiches to wake up to in Philly.
Middle Child, Washington Square West
Of course the contemporary answer to Philly’s bygone diners serves a breakfast sandwich with the perfect combination of reverence to the classics and bespoke touches. Fluffy eggs and a slice of Cooper Sharp get dressed up with zingy arugula and served between buttery, toasted slices of Philly Bread’s Pullman loaf, with the option to go heartier with smoked sausage, bacon, or pork roll.
Miller’s Twist, Market East
By the time the hordes of tourists, conventioneers, and hungry commuters bustle into Reading Terminal Market for lunch around 11 a.m., one of its most overlooked yet iconic offerings is already sold out: Soft pretzel stand Miller’s Twist envelops fluffy scrambled eggs, cheese, and your choice of meat in their tender soft pretzel dough, then bakes it till golden. The shape is even easier to eat than your typical breksam, and it dips into a little plastic cup of ketchup just perfectly.
Hungry Pigeon, Queen Village
Owners Scott Schroeder and Pat O’Malley have said that Hungry Pigeon’s breakfast sandwich was inspired by the simple, familiar Egg McMuffin. Their take, served with melted Monterey Jack on O’Malley’s butter-griddled English muffins, might resemble its inspiration in form — but it tastes way, way better. Plus, you can add hash browns inside the sandwich for maximum crunch.
Cafe Lift, Spring Arts and Narberth
Any worthwhile brunch spot should have an over-the-top breakfast sandwich on its menu, and masters of the craft Cafe Lift don’t disappoint. Their Egg Cheesesteak tweaks the Philly classic for morning consumption, but just a bit: shaved ribeye, mild provolone, and caramelized onions get the a.m. treatment with over-easy eggs and a schmear of spicy mayo, served on a pretzel roll with crispy potatoes on the side.
High Street on Market, Old City
Ellen Yin and Eli Kulp’s stellar all-day cafe boasts not one but three excellent breakfast sandwiches on its morning menu, including the Lancaster bologna-topped Hickory Town and the classic BEC. But the all-around favorite is the Forager, a simultaneously indulgent and virtuous take on the morning tradition that brings together savory king oyster mushrooms, kale, eggs, Swiss cheese, and earthy black trumpet mushroom aioli.
Res Ipsa, Rittenhouse
With the rise of the all-day cafe has come the (literal) rise of house-made English muffins, and Res Ipsa is putting them to use with their dressed-up take on the iconic Sizzli (more on this later). Res Ipsa’s is one of our favorites, topped with a thick slice of eggy frittata, asiago fresco, and a spicy herd long hot spread.
Artisan Boulanger Patissier, East Passyunk
The excellent pastries and banh mi at this South Philly institution are daydream-worthy — but they also crush savory breakfast, too. Do something nice for yourself and order one of their buttery, flaky croissants split and stuffed with a fried egg and cheese (don’t forget a sweet treat for, you know, breakfast dessert).
Double Knot, Midtown Village
The izakaya-slash-cafe has really boosted its breakfast options recently, and they’ve added their own take on the bacon, egg, and cheese. This one comes on a pillowy bao bun topped with everything spice, plus a side of spicy aioli in which to dip your fusion breakfast treat.
Philadelphians have strong opinions about anything and everything Wawa, and here’s one of our most deeply held: the Sizzli is good. What the Wawa hoagie is to every other meal, the Sizzli is to breakfast — decent, cheap, and there when you need it fast. Not every Sizzli fits the bill, mind you — just the biscuit (obviously). The sausage is juicy, the cheese is melted, and the biscuit is shockingly decent, considering it’s from a northern convenience store.
Smucker’s Meats, Market East
If you’re craving a breakfast sandwich topped with regional classics like scrapple or pork roll, look no further than Smucker’s, which slings homestyle comfort fare (along with beef jerky in an impressive array of flavors) at its stand in Reading Terminal Market.
a.bar’s new breakfast menu features a breakfast sandwich lover’s dream: a luxe, completely customizable breakfast sandwich. Trick yours out with Boursin cheese, lamb sausage, and harissa, or go classic with American and bacon — all served on High Street’s sublime baked goods, of course.
Knead Bagels, Washington Square West
Craving a lighter — but still worthwhile — version of the breakfast sandwich? Look no further than Knead, where you can get eggs, kale, and smoked Gouda pimento cheese schmeared on your favorite of their uniquely flavored bagel (we’re particularly fond of togarashi).
Sulimay’s Diner, Fishtown
While some of the spots on this list offer diners their version of the One True Breakfast Sandwich, the beloved Girard Avenue diner offers seven carb options (from rye toast to challah to flour tortilla) and five different forms of pig (ham, bacon, breakfast sausage, scrapple, and pork roll, if you’re counting) to mix and match with your cheese and eggs.