Philadelphia has its fair share of diners that have been in business for years and consistently offer great food and service. Whether you’re looking for a classic brunch spot or a place to chow down after a night out on the town, these diners will not disappoint.
The Dining Car has been serving locals in Northeast Philadelphia for more than 50 years. Executive Chef Lawrence Thum has been with the diner since 1975, putting his own spin on classic American diner cuisine. Specials change daily, but this spot is known for its French onion soup and Jewish apple cake, and the menu offers many options for the health-conscious among us. A market and bakery was added to the front of the diner in 1988, selling an array of breads, pies, cakes and other baked goods. Open around the clock, the Dining Car also has a full bar.
219 S. 17th St.
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Little Pete’s is a cash-only classic diner offering a cheap alternative to the high-priced restaurants surrounding it in the Rittenhouse area. This 34-year-old diner is open 24 hours and is just as popular late night as it is during weekend brunch (although the food is priced slightly higher for the late night crew). This is definitely the place for breakfast, but hoagies, sandwiches, seafood and entrees like meatloaf and strip steak also appear on the menu.
The Mayfair Diner has been a popular spot for Northeast Philadelphians since 1932 and even for some U.S. presidents. In fact, President Obama has eaten here. This classic 1950s diner is 125 feet in length and is one of the longest diners in the area. It’s open 24 hours a day and, no matter if it’s breakfast, lunch, dinner or late night, you’re bound to find something to enjoy (patrons rave about the French onion soup).
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The Oregon Diner is located in the heart of South Philly, and the same family has owned it for more than 20 years. With around-the-clock service, come in for breakfast, lunch, dinner or a late night snack and indulge in some hearty American food. Or, if you’re looking for something healthier, try one of its light salads made with only the freshest ingredients. Oregon Diner also offers an ever-changing $10 special on an entrée. This place has a full bar and its cocktail list is equally as impressive as its food menu.
Consistently voted one of the best diners in South Philly by the Reader’s Choice awards, the Penrose Diner is in close proximity to the stadiums, making it a great place for a meal before or after a game. This diner is also a popular spot for breakfast with its inexpensive early bird specials (two eggs, home fries and toast for only $5). Penrose Diner has an on-site bakery featuring pastries, muffins, cakes and even gluten-free cheesecake.
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Kelly Neilson is a freelance writer living and working in Philadelphia. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.