13 Classic Philly Diners to Eat at Because We Missed Them So Much
Where to go for perfect pancakes, burgers, milkshakes and more all over Philadelphia.
Philly loves diners. As a city, we understand the need for a go-t0 spot in every neighborhood where you can get a late night milkshake, early morning omelette, and a good meal any hour in between. The pandemic was tough on diners, which depend on quick, casual meals eaten often, but now they’re back and we’ve never been more eager for a good burger and fries. Here are the classic spots we recommend.
Penrose Diner, South Philly
Penrose has all the standards, of course, but the house favorites section of the menu is the place to go if you want something other than breakfast or a burger. We’re particularly fond of the roasted turkey dinner, which comes with stuffing, cranberry sauce and gravy.
Melrose Diner, South Philly
In the before times, Melrose was open 24 hours, which made it a go-to spot for a much-needed order of fries after night of drinking. These days it’s only open until 10pm (though the round-the-clock hours should be back soon) so we’re amending it to a place to eat fries after an afternoon of day-drinking.
Bob’s Diner, Roxborough
It’s located right next to a cemetery and has been around—unchanged—since the ’40s. So, you know, perfect.
Oregon Diner, Whitman
Oregon’s location in Whitman Plaza in deep South Philly makes it a go-to spot for families breakfasting on the weekends, retirees out for an early dinner, and a whole lot of regulars. Make sure to sample from their bakery case, full of cookies, cakes, breakfast pastries, and more.
Unlike a lot of the sizable diners on this list, Brunic’s is pretty small. It’s a cozy luncheonette with bar seating, excellent scrapple, friendly service, and pretty much every diner dish you can think of.
Little Pete’s, Fairmount
The original Little Pete’s at 17th and Chancellor closed in 2015, but they still have the Fairmount location, where you can enjoy their all-day breakfast, gigantic sandwiches, and pitch-perfect eggs Benedict.
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Broad Street Diner, Bella Vista
Arguably one of the most important elements in a great diner is its proximity to you whenever the craving hits. For that purpose, Broad Street Diner wins out more often than not because of it’s adjacency to the Ellsworth-Federal SEPTA stop.
South Street Diner, Society Hill
South Street Diner is comparatively ritzy, which makes sense for its location right off Headhouse Square. We like their comfortable booths, their friendly service, and the whole section of the menu dedicated to Italian specialties.
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Sulimay’s Restaurant, Fishtown
Sometimes the appeal of diners is in spite of their mediocre food. That is definitely not the case at Sulimay’s, where the buttermilk pancakes are fresh, the migas scramble is perfectly salsa’d, and the burgers are downright legendary.
The Dining Car, Northeast Philly
If the appeal of diner food, bottomless coffee, and spoon-thick milkshakes isn’t enough for you, consider that the Dining Car has the added appeal of a super old-school dining room, complete with all the chrome trimming and faux leather booths. Oh, and they serve alcohol.
Mayfair Diner, Northeast Philly
Most diners do milkshakes and a handful of desserts, but we would make a special trip to Mayfair for dessert alone. We like the nuttin’ special sundae, with butter pecan ice cream and butterscotch sauce, and every single one of the layer cakes.
Llanerch Diner, Upper Darby
Llanerch’s claim to fame is that it was featured in Silver Linings Playbook, in a scene where Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper ate in one of the diner’s booths. That booth is now available for fans to sit in and enjoy the same burgers and fries as J. Law and Cooper.
Cedar Park, West Philly
Cedar Park does diner food with a southern flair. Go for the chicken and waffles, omelettes with a side of buttery grits, or fried catfish.