At any hour of the day or night, patrons can slide into Darling’s Diner’s modern, orange booths and order breakfast specialties or homestyle lunches and dinners—many with low-cal and vegan options. The cooks whip up favorites such as club sandwiches and three-egg omelets 24 hours a day as an homage to the classic diners that tirelessly fed humanity’s ancestors. On the more modern side of the spectrum, they man a full bar that’s open until 2 a.m., mixing vintage-themed cocktails and doling out beers. The indoor seating’s cozy glow of warm pendant lights is juxtaposed by the patio, where diners can nibble on cheesecake-stuffed french toast or grilled corned beef reubens—with slow-cooked kraut on Kaplan’s Rye bread—in open air. In addition to its diner dishes, the kitchen is known for its Philadelphia-style cheesecakes, which range from classic to berry cuvee with guava.
Sam's Morning Glory Diner marries the aura of a small '50s eatery with the relatively modern trend of sourcing food from local purveyors. Chefs troll the Italian Market and Reading Terminal for the fruits, meats, and cheeses that go into gargantuan frittatas and berry biscuits. The time-tested breakfast sandwich is revamped on fresh focaccia bread, and seitan, a tender wheat-based protein, sneaks its way into faux-chicken cheesesteaks without anyone being the wiser. Flowers overflow from outside windowsills, and stainless-steel mugs keep coffee warm alongside sandwiches packed with prosciutto, roasted peppers, and pesto, like an incompetent lawyer’s briefcase.
More Than Just Ice Cream's chefs deliver on the promise of the eatery's name, as well as the sweet implication that there will, in fact, be ice cream. On the savory end of things, they craft appetizers and gourmet sandwiches, such as sirloin burgers topped with bacon or fried chicken and waffle sliders with Sriracha-spiked maple syrup. Even though these meals are satisfying on their own, regulars almost always save room for dessert?and for good reason. The menu's loaded with tempting treats such as bread pudding, seasonal fruit tarts, and belgian waffle sundaes that are so rich that some countries use them as currency.
Featured on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives and celebrated by both ravenous residents and voracious visitors, The Dining Car & Market has earned its place in the annals of enthusiastic eats. Within its art-deco interior, the venerable neighborhood eatery sates early-morning munchers and late-night noshers alike with its 24-hour welcoming mat and its gargantuan menu. Belly up to a hearty breakfast with the special farmer's omelette, cultivated from plowed fields of peppers, onions, home fries, and your choice of meat ($6.95). Or, quell midday hungerings with a hot roast-beef-sandwich platter ($8.45) or french onion soup, which places its dapper, cheesy tam over a cluster of croutons ($5.20).
Operating out of a rehabbed warehouse space in the Spring Garden neighborhood, Café Lift’s motto is “Brunch. All Day. Every Day.” Outside, the beautiful old stone façade is now punctuated by sleek, tall windows, while inside, patrons will find exposed pipes overhead, a dark wood floor and original artwork hanging on white walls. Café Lift is serious about its brunch theme, as it’s open only from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. every day except Monday. Eggs come in many forms: scrambled inside a breakfast burrito, baked into a vegetarian or sausage frittata, fried and served along with sautéed broccoli rabe, asiago cheese and tomato pesto. Varieties of pancakes and french toast round out the breakfast-leaning fare, and those looking more for the lunch side of brunch can opt for a panini (Cubano, sausage, veggie) or a salad.
Yes, there actually is a trolley car at Philadelphia’s Trolley Car Diner. It’s a 1948 model, and it now sits in the parking lot and serves as a takeout stand for ice cream and water ice. The structure of this classic diner was actually relocated from a small Pennsylvania city 100 miles away, and now the myriad throwback touches make the Trolley Car a treasured Mount Airy establishment. Booths line the large L-shaped space with its black-and-white tile floor, and the menu is a page-turner, literally: numerous options each of salads, burgers, hoagies and larger entrées line the hefty book of options, including dishes like homemade chicken croquettes, pan-seared calves liver, meatloaf and Cajun catfish. Before you leave, pick up some meat or cheese from the onsite deli to take home and enjoy.