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A spread at Rooster Soup Co.
Rooster Soup Co. [official photo]

A Guide to Philly’s Essential Diners

For breakfast, late night, and everything in between

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A spread at Rooster Soup Co.
| Rooster Soup Co. [official photo]

Sometimes you want the trendiest meal of the given moment, and other times you just want a western omelet, a bottomless cup of coffee, and a slice of pie, at whatever hour of morning or night. When the latter is what you’re after, stop in to one of Philadelphia’s original brunch spots: a diner.

Behold, a comprehensive map of Philly’s diner greats — places that inspire loyalty and memories, no matter how foggy those memories may be.

Note that Philly isn’t really a 24-hour kind of town, so most of these diners do close at some point every day. They’re listed geographically, sweeping west to east, starting with the legendary Llanerch Diner in Upper Darby.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Llanerch Diner

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95 E Township Line Rd
Upper Darby, PA 19082
(610) 789-6057
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“Slow down, Raisin Bran,” was the iconic line of the Llanerch Diner server to Bradley Cooper’s character in Silver Linings Playbook as he nearly dined-and-dashed on his check while pursuing Jennifer Lawrence, who had just stormed out. Academy Award nominations or not, the Llanerch is well loved for its 24/7 service, its coffee, and its generous breakfasts, only a few of which are Raisin Bran.

2. Bob's Diner

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6053 Ridge Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19128
(215) 483-9002

A charming little red, white, and stainless steel diner open since 1935, Bob’s Diner sits perched on Ridge Avenue at Lyceum at the top of Roxborough. In this cute little shoebox of a place, settle in to one of the handful of small booths or at the long counter. Don’t miss the Bob Muffin, a sausage and cheese breakfast sandwich on an English muffin, or a slice of the house-made cakes or pies. The menu is manageably sized, and the staff at Bob’s is incredibly friendly and warm.

3. Trolley Car Diner

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7619 Germantown Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19119
(215) 753-1500
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Named for the Route 23 trolley car, which ran along Germantown Avenue for years, the Trolley Car Diner opened in 2000. Located just on the edge between Mount Airy and Chestnut Hill, the Trolley Car Diner is both an actual restored 1948 trolley car — converted into a full-service ice cream shop — as well as an adjacent restaurant complete with awesome doughnuts and a walk-in mix-a-six beer shop. Stop by the original location or the Trolley Car Cafe in East Falls.

4. Penrose Diner

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2016 Penrose Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19145
(215) 465-1097
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Deep in South Philly, just off of 76 and Packer Avenue, the Penrose draws both pre- and post-game crowds from Philly’s stadiums. The menu is exhaustive, combining every diner genre imaginable — including a stunning array of baked goods — in a roomy space.

5. Little Pete's

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2401 Pennsylvania Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19130
(215) 232-5001

Nothing can replace dearly departed Little Pete’s in Rittenhouse, but Little Pete’s in The Philadelphian, by the Philadelphia Museum of Art, might help scratch an itch. What it lacks in gritty, late-night gruffness it makes up for with a charming outdoor patio and a menu of classics that delivers.

6. Melrose Diner

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1501 Snyder Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19145
(215) 467-6644

“Everybody who knows goes to the Melrose,” is the jingle for this neon-lit diner on West Passyunk Avenue, a favorite among South Philadelphians. It’s a sprawling place with giant, semi-circular booths that force patrons to sit face to face where conversation can’t help but ensue. Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, Melrose caters to every craving with a wide range of dishes — chocolate chip pancakes, patty melts, chicken marsala, cheesesteaks, and much more. Save room for dessert: The cheesecake, warm apple pie with vanilla sauce, and butter cookies are all legendary.

7. Midtown III Restaurant

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28 S 18th St
Philadelphia, PA 19103
(215) 567-5144

Midtown was once a Philadelphia diner dynasty with four locations dotted around Center City. Rising rents and a changing landscape means that only one remains, the Midtown III at 18th and Market. A classic greasy spoon with a Disco-era vibe, it feels retro because it is retro — a piece of Philly history worth hanging on to.

8. Rooster Soup Co.

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1526 Sansom St
Philadelphia, PA 19102
(215) 454-6939
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It looks like a diner — stainless steel, red neon, and round bar stools — and the menu reads like a diner menu, with soups, salads, sandwiches, and retro desserts, but Rooster Soup Co. is a postmodern diner fantasy from Mike Solomonov and Steve Cook. Go for smoked matzo ball soup or a fried whitefish sandwich, followed by a slice of pie. Adding to the appeal, all of the profits at Rooster Soup Co. go to help Philadelphians in need through the Broad Street Hospitality Collaborative.

Tommy Baboon

9. Broad Street Diner

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1135 S Broad St
Philadelphia, PA 19147
(215) 825-3636
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A red, white, and blue beacon glowing through one 24-hour stretch after another, Broad Street Diner is ideally situated to catch a crowd after late-night shenanigans. This city stalwart was bought by new owners and refurbished in 2011. While it may not have the throwback charm of a few others on this list as a result, it does have a robust menu of diner standards available any hour of the day or night.

10. City Diner & Cocktail Bar

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521 S Broad St
Philadelphia, PA 19147
(215) 383-3330
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This is the clean, shiny, Center City version of a diner. It might not have the soul (or the from-scratch baked goods) of others on this list, but one could do far worse than City Diner when it comes to location and proximity to public transit. Plus, it’s open 24 hours on Friday and Saturdays.

11. Down Home Diner

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51 N 12th St
Philadelphia, PA 19107
(215) 627-1955
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Down Home Diner, on the Filbert Street side of Reading Terminal Market, serves rib-sticking food like corn hoecakes with turkey sausage or cast iron fried chicken. It also happens to be one of the few eateries at Reading Terminal with booth seating, so for those who need a break from the busyness of the market, Down Home is a good bet.

12. Dutch Eating Place

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51 N 12th St
Philadelphia, PA 19107
(215) 922-0425
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Head over to the Arch Street side of Reading Terminal Market and grab a stool in front of the U-shaped counter at Dutch Eating Place for warm apple dumplings with cream, fat stacks of blueberry pancakes, fresh-cut fries, pork and sauerkraut, and Pennsylvania Dutch-style chicken pot pie (which is more stew than pie).

13. Middle Child

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248 S 11th St
Philadelphia, PA 19107
(267) 930-8344
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This hip breakfast and lunch spot is less a diner and more a diner-inspired cafe serving professional chef versions of classics like egg and cheese sandwiches, Italian hoagies, and grilled cheese with tomato soup. Plus, owner Matthew Cahn was so in love with Little Pete’s in Rittenhouse that when it closed he got his hands on a piece of the original floor. It hangs, framed, on the wall.

14. Sam’s Morning Glory Diner

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735 S 10th St
Philadelphia, PA 19147
(215) 413-3999
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A longtime Bella Vista favorite, Sam’s Morning Glory Diner serves restaurant-quality breakfast, brunch, and lunch food at diner prices. Think warm buttermilk biscuits, fresh-squeezed orange juice, homemade ketchup, hot coffee served in stainless steel mugs, and a daily menu of creatively named specials. It’s also a better option for vegans than most diners, thanks to a daily tofu scramble.

15. Oregon Diner

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302 W Oregon Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19148
(215) 462-5566
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Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, Oregon Diner is open and serving plates of 2+2+2+2. That’s two eggs, two strips of bacon, two sausage links, and two hot cakes or slices of french toast. Or go for the Oregon Special Egg-el: a bagel with melted cheese, a fried egg, and a disk of Canadian bacon. Need to feed a crowd before or after an event at one of the stadiums? Party rooms are available.

16. Silk City

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435 Spring Garden St
Philadelphia, PA 19123
(215) 592-8838
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Silk City is an unusual hybrid of classic diner, neighborhood bar, nightclub, and outdoor beer garden. The diner/bar part is housed in a 1950s dining car, with the attached nightclub to one side and the big, colorful beer garden on the other. Food service starts at 10 a.m. with a seven-day-a-week brunch menu, which transitions into a sandwich-heavy dinner menu.

17. South Street Diner

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140 South St
Philadelphia, PA 19147
(215) 627-5258

Where does one go after a show at the TLA? The South Street Diner. What to order? If it’s late night and greasy sustenance is called for, go for a hoagie, an omelet, or a mushroom and cheddar burger on a pretzel roll. Daytime? Opt for the selection of Greek specialties: grape leaves, spanikopita, or the fried halloumi appetizer with oregano, tomato, cucumber, and kalamata olives. The gyro sliders and the Greek sampler, which features moussaka, are also good options.

18. Country Club Diner

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1717 Cottman Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19111
(215) 722-0500
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The Country Club Diner in Northeast Philly’s Rawnhurst section excels at serving up Jewish specialties. Go for a breakfast platter of whitefish salad or nova lox, a cheese blintz, or the Dairy Sample Plate, which is a blintz, a potato pancake, a potato knish, and a serving of sweet noodle kugel with sour cream.

19. Mayfair Diner

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7373 Frankford Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19136
(215) 624-8886

Though everybody in the Northeast has their diner loyalties, the Mayfair is arguably the best known. Big, efficient, and open 24/7, this is the place to go on Frankford Avenue when you have a crowd to feed.

20. The Dining Car

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8826 Frankford Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19136
(215) 338-5113
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So often, diners have nearly identical menus. The thing that makes one stand out from another is their specialties. At the Dining Car in Torresdale, the chicken croquettes are good, and the French onion soup is a solid choice, but the best part, hands-down, is the bakery: thick slices of Jewish apple cake, Fat Elvis cake, cheesecake, pies, and cookies by the pound. Definitely save room.

1. Llanerch Diner

95 E Township Line Rd, Upper Darby, PA 19082

“Slow down, Raisin Bran,” was the iconic line of the Llanerch Diner server to Bradley Cooper’s character in Silver Linings Playbook as he nearly dined-and-dashed on his check while pursuing Jennifer Lawrence, who had just stormed out. Academy Award nominations or not, the Llanerch is well loved for its 24/7 service, its coffee, and its generous breakfasts, only a few of which are Raisin Bran.

95 E Township Line Rd
Upper Darby, PA 19082

2. Bob's Diner

6053 Ridge Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19128

A charming little red, white, and stainless steel diner open since 1935, Bob’s Diner sits perched on Ridge Avenue at Lyceum at the top of Roxborough. In this cute little shoebox of a place, settle in to one of the handful of small booths or at the long counter. Don’t miss the Bob Muffin, a sausage and cheese breakfast sandwich on an English muffin, or a slice of the house-made cakes or pies. The menu is manageably sized, and the staff at Bob’s is incredibly friendly and warm.

6053 Ridge Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19128

3. Trolley Car Diner

7619 Germantown Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19119

Named for the Route 23 trolley car, which ran along Germantown Avenue for years, the Trolley Car Diner opened in 2000. Located just on the edge between Mount Airy and Chestnut Hill, the Trolley Car Diner is both an actual restored 1948 trolley car — converted into a full-service ice cream shop — as well as an adjacent restaurant complete with awesome doughnuts and a walk-in mix-a-six beer shop. Stop by the original location or the Trolley Car Cafe in East Falls.

7619 Germantown Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19119

4. Penrose Diner

2016 Penrose Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19145

Deep in South Philly, just off of 76 and Packer Avenue, the Penrose draws both pre- and post-game crowds from Philly’s stadiums. The menu is exhaustive, combining every diner genre imaginable — including a stunning array of baked goods — in a roomy space.

2016 Penrose Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19145

5. Little Pete's

2401 Pennsylvania Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19130

Nothing can replace dearly departed Little Pete’s in Rittenhouse, but Little Pete’s in The Philadelphian, by the Philadelphia Museum of Art, might help scratch an itch. What it lacks in gritty, late-night gruffness it makes up for with a charming outdoor patio and a menu of classics that delivers.

2401 Pennsylvania Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19130

6. Melrose Diner

1501 Snyder Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19145

“Everybody who knows goes to the Melrose,” is the jingle for this neon-lit diner on West Passyunk Avenue, a favorite among South Philadelphians. It’s a sprawling place with giant, semi-circular booths that force patrons to sit face to face where conversation can’t help but ensue. Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, Melrose caters to every craving with a wide range of dishes — chocolate chip pancakes, patty melts, chicken marsala, cheesesteaks, and much more. Save room for dessert: The cheesecake, warm apple pie with vanilla sauce, and butter cookies are all legendary.

1501 Snyder Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19145

7. Midtown III Restaurant

28 S 18th St, Philadelphia, PA 19103

Midtown was once a Philadelphia diner dynasty with four locations dotted around Center City. Rising rents and a changing landscape means that only one remains, the Midtown III at 18th and Market. A classic greasy spoon with a Disco-era vibe, it feels retro because it is retro — a piece of Philly history worth hanging on to.

28 S 18th St
Philadelphia, PA 19103

8. Rooster Soup Co.

1526 Sansom St, Philadelphia, PA 19102
Tommy Baboon

It looks like a diner — stainless steel, red neon, and round bar stools — and the menu reads like a diner menu, with soups, salads, sandwiches, and retro desserts, but Rooster Soup Co. is a postmodern diner fantasy from Mike Solomonov and Steve Cook. Go for smoked matzo ball soup or a fried whitefish sandwich, followed by a slice of pie. Adding to the appeal, all of the profits at Rooster Soup Co. go to help Philadelphians in need through the Broad Street Hospitality Collaborative.

1526 Sansom St
Philadelphia, PA 19102

9. Broad Street Diner

1135 S Broad St, Philadelphia, PA 19147

A red, white, and blue beacon glowing through one 24-hour stretch after another, Broad Street Diner is ideally situated to catch a crowd after late-night shenanigans. This city stalwart was bought by new owners and refurbished in 2011. While it may not have the throwback charm of a few others on this list as a result, it does have a robust menu of diner standards available any hour of the day or night.

1135 S Broad St
Philadelphia, PA 19147

10. City Diner & Cocktail Bar

521 S Broad St, Philadelphia, PA 19147

This is the clean, shiny, Center City version of a diner. It might not have the soul (or the from-scratch baked goods) of others on this list, but one could do far worse than City Diner when it comes to location and proximity to public transit. Plus, it’s open 24 hours on Friday and Saturdays.

521 S Broad St
Philadelphia, PA 19147

11. Down Home Diner

51 N 12th St, Philadelphia, PA 19107

Down Home Diner, on the Filbert Street side of Reading Terminal Market, serves rib-sticking food like corn hoecakes with turkey sausage or cast iron fried chicken. It also happens to be one of the few eateries at Reading Terminal with booth seating, so for those who need a break from the busyness of the market, Down Home is a good bet.

51 N 12th St
Philadelphia, PA 19107

12. Dutch Eating Place

51 N 12th St, Philadelphia, PA 19107

Head over to the Arch Street side of Reading Terminal Market and grab a stool in front of the U-shaped counter at Dutch Eating Place for warm apple dumplings with cream, fat stacks of blueberry pancakes, fresh-cut fries, pork and sauerkraut, and Pennsylvania Dutch-style chicken pot pie (which is more stew than pie).

51 N 12th St
Philadelphia, PA 19107

13. Middle Child

248 S 11th St, Philadelphia, PA 19107

This hip breakfast and lunch spot is less a diner and more a diner-inspired cafe serving professional chef versions of classics like egg and cheese sandwiches, Italian hoagies, and grilled cheese with tomato soup. Plus, owner Matthew Cahn was so in love with Little Pete’s in Rittenhouse that when it closed he got his hands on a piece of the original floor. It hangs, framed, on the wall.

248 S 11th St
Philadelphia, PA 19107

14. Sam’s Morning Glory Diner

735 S 10th St, Philadelphia, PA 19147

A longtime Bella Vista favorite, Sam’s Morning Glory Diner serves restaurant-quality breakfast, brunch, and lunch food at diner prices. Think warm buttermilk biscuits, fresh-squeezed orange juice, homemade ketchup, hot coffee served in stainless steel mugs, and a daily menu of creatively named specials. It’s also a better option for vegans than most diners, thanks to a daily tofu scramble.

735 S 10th St
Philadelphia, PA 19147

15. Oregon Diner

302 W Oregon Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19148

Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, Oregon Diner is open and serving plates of 2+2+2+2. That’s two eggs, two strips of bacon, two sausage links, and two hot cakes or slices of french toast. Or go for the Oregon Special Egg-el: a bagel with melted cheese, a fried egg, and a disk of Canadian bacon. Need to feed a crowd before or after an event at one of the stadiums? Party rooms are available.

302 W Oregon Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19148

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16. Silk City

435 Spring Garden St, Philadelphia, PA 19123

Silk City is an unusual hybrid of classic diner, neighborhood bar, nightclub, and outdoor beer garden. The diner/bar part is housed in a 1950s dining car, with the attached nightclub to one side and the big, colorful beer garden on the other. Food service starts at 10 a.m. with a seven-day-a-week brunch menu, which transitions into a sandwich-heavy dinner menu.

435 Spring Garden St
Philadelphia, PA 19123

17. South Street Diner

140 South St, Philadelphia, PA 19147

Where does one go after a show at the TLA? The South Street Diner. What to order? If it’s late night and greasy sustenance is called for, go for a hoagie, an omelet, or a mushroom and cheddar burger on a pretzel roll. Daytime? Opt for the selection of Greek specialties: grape leaves, spanikopita, or the fried halloumi appetizer with oregano, tomato, cucumber, and kalamata olives. The gyro sliders and the Greek sampler, which features moussaka, are also good options.

140 South St
Philadelphia, PA 19147

18. Country Club Diner

1717 Cottman Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19111

The Country Club Diner in Northeast Philly’s Rawnhurst section excels at serving up Jewish specialties. Go for a breakfast platter of whitefish salad or nova lox, a cheese blintz, or the Dairy Sample Plate, which is a blintz, a potato pancake, a potato knish, and a serving of sweet noodle kugel with sour cream.

1717 Cottman Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19111

19. Mayfair Diner

7373 Frankford Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19136

Though everybody in the Northeast has their diner loyalties, the Mayfair is arguably the best known. Big, efficient, and open 24/7, this is the place to go on Frankford Avenue when you have a crowd to feed.

7373 Frankford Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19136

20. The Dining Car

8826 Frankford Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19136

So often, diners have nearly identical menus. The thing that makes one stand out from another is their specialties. At the Dining Car in Torresdale, the chicken croquettes are good, and the French onion soup is a solid choice, but the best part, hands-down, is the bakery: thick slices of Jewish apple cake, Fat Elvis cake, cheesecake, pies, and cookies by the pound. Definitely save room.

8826 Frankford Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19136

Related Maps