Though they’ve been unfairly pigeonholed as a breakfast staple, pancakes are perfect anytime, day or night. They can be served in towering stacks topped with butter and syrup, as part of a main course, or as a stand-alone dish. A pancake by any other name — flapjack, hotcake, griddlecake, Dutch baby (or Dutch oven baby, depending on who you ask) – is still a pancake. With so many ways to serve them up, it can be a daunting task to find the best. But in the City of Brotherly Love, when it comes to serving up delicious variations of this quintessential dish, these five Philly-area favorites sell like—well, hotcakes!
Bridget Foy’s Restaurant
200 South St.
Philadelphia, PA 19147
Bridget Foy’s is one of the cornerstones of Philadelphia’s South Street neighborhood. Serving the community since 1978, this local favorite puts out a delicious Sunday brunch as well. In addition to specialties including apple French toast, eggs benedict, a crab burrito and short rib hash, Bridget Foy’s dishes up whole wheat buttermilk pancakes with a special, tantalizing twist, topping them with whipped pumpkin cream cheese. Open seven days a week, this popular eatery can get busy, especially during brunch hours, but no worries, they take reservations.
232 N. York Road
Hatboro, PA 19040
Daddypops, a Montgomery County landmark since the 1950s, has been a family-friendly breakfast destination—in fact, a tradition—for generations. Featured not long ago on the Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives,” host Guy Fieri sampled several Daddypops favorites, including the Philly favorite, scrapple, and deep-fried Oreos. This charming retro venue, a silver tribute to the diners of yesteryear, lies just outside of Philadelphia, in Hatboro. Locals come back year after year with their children and grandchildren to share wonderful food and memories. Daddypops’ fluffy flapjacks, sprinkled with powdered sugar, are a must-have, insist regulars, especially with a side of kielbasa and real, honest-to-goodness maple syrup. Come early, however, because this legendary locale closes at 2 p.m.
95 E. Township Line Road
Upper Darby, PA 19082
Pronounced Lan-ark, the Llenerch Diner is famous as one of the Philly-area locations where Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence filmed the “Silver Linings Playbook.” Open 24/7, this eatery has been a local institution for more than half a century, serving up an extensive assortment of menu items ranging from wraps, burgers and steaks to pastries, cakes and breakfast – which is served all day. If you’re up for the wait, you can ask to be seated in the “Bradly Cooper” booth – the very same one from “Silver Lining’s” ‘non-date’ diner scene. While you wait, you’ll have time to choose which sumptuous pancake meal most appeals to your taste buds – the Llenerch, with chocolate chips and pecans, or the sweet potato pancake, perhaps? Or maybe you’d prefer banana, fresh strawberry or blueberry-licious? The choice is yours — they’re all delicious!
910 Christian St.
Philadelphia, PA 19147
Sabrina’s Café in Philly’s famous Italian Market neighborhood serves up breakfast all day long. Sabrina’s pancakes – buttermilk or whole wheat – come out hot and topped with powdered sugar and cinnamon. But you don’t have to stop there. Sweeten the deal with a delectable topping, including seasonal selections like strawberries or blueberries, or yummy favorites such as chocolate chips, peanut butter chips or bananas. Brunch specials are available seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and include a variety of ever-changing specialties not available on the all-day breakfast menu, like Peyton’s “Hail Mary” special pancake – a pumpkin hotcake with blueberries and dried cranberries smothered in blueberry-almond cobbler mix, drizzled with peach-honey syrup and slathered in blueberry-white chocolate butter. Yum! Sabrina’s doesn’t take reservations for brunch though, so plan on getting there early or try one of Sabrina’s other two locations, at the Art Museum and in University City.
Trolley Car Diner
7619 Germantown Ave.
Philadelphia, PA 19119
This converted 1950s-era diner was relocated to the City of Brotherly Love from its original home in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania and restored to its prior state of grandeur. A must-see attraction for tourists and a favorite destination for families, the Trolley Car Diner is named for the old Germantown Avenue Route 23 trolley. Parked right next door is an actual 1948 trolley car that serves as an ice-cream parlor, dishing up locally churned ice cream, homemade water ice and soft serve ice cream. Like most respectable diners, breakfast is an all-day affair at the Trolley Car Diner, where the pancakes are done right. Your short stack can include honey buckwheat, chocolate chip, blueberry or buttermilk pancake, or (for the adventurous spirit!) the Trolley Car Diner’s signature “savory pancake,” a hot cake loaded with bacon, sausage, or both.
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.