The Philadelphia area offers a cornucopia of diners, dinettes and diner-restaurants. From prefabricated, stand-alone structures to converted railroad cars or “hole-in-the-wall greasy spoons,” the City of Brotherly Love loves its diners. Whether you are new to the area or a long-time resident seeking a bit of variety, you will quickly discover that everyone has his or her favorite Philly diner. And as you ask around, some of these favorites are sure to top the list.
Trolley Car Diner
619 Germantown Ave.
Philadelphia, PA 19119
This Philly favorite is an original 1950s-era diner that was painstakingly restored after being relocated from its home in Wilkes Barre in 1999. A can’t-miss icon for diner enthusiasts, the Trolley Car – named for the Germantown Avenue Route 23 trolley of an earlier era – includes an actual 1948 trolley car, located right next to the shining silver diner. Patrons here can enjoy an assortment of favorites, including sandwiches, hoagies, burgers, soups and salads from the dine-in or take-out menus. They can also sample the ice cream and water ice served inside the trolley car, which is known as the Trolley Car Ice CreamShoppe. Serving breakfast (all day, needless to say), lunch and dinner seven days a week, this landmark eatery is conveniently located for visitors from the city and suburbs.
95 E. Township Line Road
Upper Darby, PA 19082
Legendary in its own right, the Llanerch Diner (pronounced Lan-ark) is a quintessential American diner that has served the Philly area for over 50 years. Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the Llanerch Diner is also famous as the location for the non-date, diner scene between Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence in the Oscar-nominated movie “Silver Linings Playbook,” which was set and filmed in the Philadelphia area. You can ask to be seated in the same booth featured in the movie, but expect to wait a while for that honor. With an extensive menu that includes burgers, sandwiches, wraps, steaks, Greek and Italian specialties, pastries and cakes baked on site, and, of course, breakfast food served all day, visitors can dine in, carry out or have their selections delivered.
Sam’s Morning Glory Diner
735 S. 10th St.
Philadelphia, PA 19147
In-the-know Philly foodies love Sam’s Morning Glory Diner for a variety of reasons, including Sam’s scrumptious, flaky biscuits and homemade jam. Serving breakfast and lunch, this modern and sunny venue sources its ingredients locally when possible and offers a variety of choices for the health-conscious diner in addition to traditional diner fare. Whether you crave standard breakfast food like pancakes and eggs or your preference is for tofu scramblers (tasty with the curry seasoning!) and yogurt that comes labeled with the farm that produced it, Sam’s Morning Glory Diner has something for every palate. Located at 10th & Fitzwater, not far from South Street, this venue offers dining al fresco when the weather permits.
1501 Snyder Ave.
Philadelphia, PA 19145
The 70-year-old Melrose Diner is an iconic institution in South Philly, where the saying goes, “Everyone who knows goes to Melrose.” Known for menu items that include potato boats and a custard-based French toast, Melrose Diner is legendary for its baked goods, including butter cookies and its famous butter-cream cake. Open seven days a week, 24 hours a day, Melrose Diner serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. It is a good family restaurant with a kid-friendly menu that includes grilled cheese and chicken fingers in addition to the traditional fare of breakfast food, sandwiches, burgers, wraps, steaks, salads and soups.
232 N. York Road
Hatboro, PA 19040
Daddypops is a landmark in Montgomery County, just outside of Philadelphia. Since the 1950s, this charming retro diner has been a tradition among the many faithful patrons who return again and again, first with their children and later with their grandchildren. Traditional breakfast items include delicious, fluffy pancakes – flapjacks at Daddypops – and tasty sausages. Open from 6 a.m. until 2 p.m., Daddypops has been featured on Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives,” where Guy Fieri indulged his love of potatoes (this joint goes through 200 pounds a day in home fries!) and sampled from other menu favorites, which include Philly-style scrapple, a specialty turkey salad and yummy deep-fried Oreos.
Related: Top Spots To Order A Taste of Philly
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Christy Ayala covers sports, recreation, the outdoors, and leisure activities in the Philadelphia area. She earned a masters degree in recreation administration from George Williams College and managed programs in the Midwest, Hawaii, and Pennsylvania. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.