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24 Hours in Philly

NYC hound Will be staying at the Courtyard by Marriott on Juniper Tuesday for about 24 hours. Looking for breakfast, lunch (cheesesteak) and dinner.

I was at this hotel once before for about 9 hours and quickly ran to the Independence Brew Pub near the Reading Terminal Market. I was starving and in a hurry and ordered the cheesesteak, with my fingers crossed. What I got was tantamount to what I'd expect if I'd been in Kansas.

Any nearby breakfast recommendations? Would have tried Dutch Eating Place, but I guess they're not open Tuesday's. We'll be arriving at about 8am after being up all night, so looking for something nearby. How about Sabrina's?

For lunch, I'd like to find a much more authentic cheesesteak than my last experience. Hopefully near the hotel, but will cab it for the real deal. I'm thinking about trying Rick's in the Market???

We'll probably be spent by dinner time, so would also like to stay somewhat close to the hotel. So far Monk's has been suggested. We'll be satisfied with a strong beer selection and a quality burger.



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  1. You should be able to find most of what you want in the RTM, except for a decent cheesesteak. Try Zio's on 13th just south of Chestnut, or Pandora's on the 1200 block of Walnut Street. They are not among the places known for having Philly's best cheesesteaks, but both surpass Rick's.

    Besides Monks, you can find good food and beer at the Nodding head Brewpub, on Sansom Street just west of 15th Street, or Ludwig's Garten, on the 1300 block of Sansom Street.

    All of these suggestions are within a stone's throw of your hotel. Avoid taxis in Philly - the USA's most expensive - and totally unnecessary considering your central location.

    1. If the cost of the cab does not matter (figure about 12 bucks each way) then go to Front and Snyder for the BEST cheesesteak in the city, John's Roast Pork. I honestly dont understand how others recommend places like Pandora's. I promise you the sandwich will bring tears to your eyes. On 15th St not far from you is Good Dog Tavern. They have fantastic cheeseburgers. Sabrina's is a little far from you. It is about a 12 block walk. I am not a breakfast person, so I really cant help you other then to recommend the Melrose Diner which is a cab ride away. There is a breakfast place in RTM that I think is owned by Jack's Firehouse. Others can tell you about that.
      Have fun! Oh, by the way, if you want to try the best Roast Pork sandwich you have ever had, that is also at Johns.

      2 Replies
      1. re: OlderPhiladelphian

        Although I have never eaten there, I am willing to conceed that John's may be the best cheesesteak in Philadelphia. Even so, spending $24 in taxi fares to get a sandwich that is ubiquitous in the City seems absurd! There must be twenty places that make decent cheesesteaks within a five minute walk of City Hall.

        1. re: JohnnyT

          I wish. I've lived in CC for 10 years and worked there for 8. The only decent cheesesteak is Jim's on South Street

          Joe's Pizza used to have great cheesesteaks, but after the fire, the old guy stopped cooking them, and now they suck. At least the pizza's still good.

      2. It might be a bit of a long taxi ride, but if you've never been there, I have to recommend Pat's at 9th and Passyunk. There might be better cheesesteaks out there, but if you want the real Philly cheesesteak, this is the one. If you want authentic, order it "with" onions and cheese whiz.


        Same goes for the Melrose Diner. Not particularly attractive, but quintesentially Philadelphia.

        1. Avoid Pat's and Geno's as well as Rick's, if you're going to take the cab that far I strongly agree with OlderPhiladephian and go to John's. It's been rated the best cheesesteak in the city by our main restaurant critic. And it has gotten that distinction for a reason. I would recommend the steak Italian(spinach and sharp) with tomato gravy on it. You mentioned "We'll" be spent by dinner, if there are 2 people I would also recommend getting the Pork Italain at John's and sharing. If you aren't significant others, ask them to cut it in half for you because they normally dont. For dinner, good beer and burger could be found at Monk's. Good Dog is also a good choice, Monk's has bigger beer selection. Also check out frites and mussels at Monk's. For breakfast I would save the cab and splurge on that for lunch. Maybe grab a waffle at Bonte on Walnut and 13th I think(check website). John's is what you want as your highlight of the day and it's open for the working man from 6am until 2pm, this sandwich is big and will fill you up. But I would get there by 1pm so they don't run out of the good rolls. Also not quite sure how many cabs are down that way to come back into CC so you may want to put a company's number in your phone just in case. Enjoy and report back what you thought.

          1. I'll second the recommendation on Bonte. Anytime I'm in town I make it a point to stop there for a waffle. 3 locations: 9th & Walnut, Juniper & Walnut (next to Naked Chocolate, also worth checking out), and 17th & Sansom. Sabrina's, however, is one of my favorites. The stuffed french toast is worth the walk/cab ride, and if you're going to be here on a weekday, there will be no wait at all.

            1. No question in my mind, if a great cheesesteak is your priority, take the cab to John's Roast Pork. But dress warmly, since with no car to eat it in, you'll likely be eating it outside. And I agree with the previous poster who suggested one of you order the roast pork sandwich, and then each eat half. I am not generally much of a meat eater, but these sandwiches are unbelieveably good.

              Personally, if I knew I'd be eating lunch at John's, I wouldn't want to go to Bonte's for breakfast. Their waffles are delicious, but it's like having dessert for breakfast, and your lunch will be very filling! If you just want to go basic for breakfast, you're right near Jean's - maybe called Jean's Sandwich Shop? On Walnut Street, I think right near Juniper. It's nothing special, but it's fine. Tables, but not waitress service.

              If you prefer sit-down service, I tried Down Home Diner in RTM not too long ago for breakfast, after hearing from people who hated it there and people who loved it. I enjoyed it. The whole wheat toast was actually so delicious that I'd like to find out where they get it. Other than that, the rest of the food was fine - not a rave, but probably fine for your purposes. A bit overpriced, but that was on a weekend, it might be less on a Tuesday.

              I agree with all the dinner recs that have been made so far, for what you're looking for.

              Have fun, and let us know where you went and how you found it!

              1. DiNic's at RTM has great roast pork with greens and provolone. And they are close by too! Haven't been to the Down Home since it was handed over to a new manager but supposedly it's improving...maybe worth a try?

                1. For breakfast a nice alternative to sabrinas would be morning glory located i believe on 10th around the corner from sabrinas.

                  John's Roast Pork is by far the best in the city for steak's, especially if you are going for lunch. Late night snack....different story. If going to John's try splitting a cheesesteak and a pork sandwich with sharp provolone with your guest....best of both world's.

                  Monks-best beer/mussel/frite/burger combo in city.

                  1. Anybody know when John's Roast Pork is open? e.g. the hours of

                    1. Weekdays, he officially turns off the grill at 2:30, but sometimes it's a little earlier. Saturdays seem to be hit or miss whether he's open at all or not. No Sundays. You can call your order in ahead if you want to skip the lines...just google it for the phone number.

                      1. M-F 6:30am-3pm, but as mentioned above the grill goes off before closing and the bread sells out before closing too. I wouldn't rec. going after 1:30pm at the latest. No Saturdays or Sundays.

                        1. this might be too late but was staying at the same hotel and as for suggestions nearby i'd have to send you to the good dog bar. i can't remember where it is exactly but it's in the independence hall area i believe and they have a fantastic roquefort stuffed burger with some of the best sweet potato fries i've ever had.

                          great beer list too! not huge but nice selection of interesting brews. the place itself is just slightly an upscale pub but really comfortable even if the wooden benches aren't padded.

                          make sure to get the burger medium or less for best meaty experience ;)

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: pinstripeprincess

                            Good Dog is on 15th street, between Locust and Walnut (closer to Locust). Not the independence hall area and probably only 10 minutes' walk from the Courtyard. And yes, the burger is all that everyone says it is.

                          2. Well, I definitely underestimated how tired I'd be after being awake all night so needless to say, breakfast didn't happen. I've got this thread marked and will save the recommendations for next time.

                            For lunch, I had the roast pork with provolone from DiNics's. Unfortuanly they were out of greens, so I went with peppers instead. A little horseradish and it was an excellent sandwich. In fact, there is a Tony Luke's here in NYC that has long been on my list for roast pork. After yesterdays sandwich, I'm going to make it a point to finally get to Tony Luke's here in the city.

                            Also had a couple of delicious cookies in the RTM from The Famous 4th St. Very decadent. Overall, the entire market is very impressive. The closest thing we have here in NYC is the Chelsea Market. It's home of the Food Network Studios and a former Nabisco Oreo factory, but the RTM is much more comprehensive in my opinion.

                            For dinner we walked to Monk's. I tired several Belgian beers and has a small pot of mussels. We were very satisfied with the beer, the food and the atmosphere (and the gorgeous blond hostess :)

                            On the walk back to the hotel, we decided to grab another beer and randomly stumbled into Oscar's. It's pretty much a dive bar, but we ended up having good conversation with the bar tender and really liked the place. Sounds like Good Dog is just around the corner from Oscar's. Will definitely try it next time.

                            Thanks very much for the great info! I will be back in the Courtyard from time to time and look forward to trying some of the other recommendations!


                            1. You did well with your choices and there are many more you could do well with in the future as well. Glad you enjoyed.

                              1. thanks for following up! i love it when people report back. :)
                                those cookies are heaven.

                                1. I am actually staying at the Marriott now and have been following this thread. John's Roast Pork was absolutely worth getting lost twice trying to find it - it was heavenly! Went to McCormick and Shmick last night and was unimpressed, to say the least - but at least I wasn't buying. The boss is taking me to Bookbinders tonight, which is sad, becasue there are many other places I would like to go to. DiNics is on the agenda tomorrow and then some 4th street cookies to bring home. Thanks for all of your suggestions.

                                  1. I am so happy you went to John's. It is truly unique. I never know if I should get the cheesesteak or the roast pork, both are so good. McCormick's as I am sure you are aware is a chain and Bookbinders will surely be even worse!! Samson St. Oyster House would have been a worthy choice. Hopefully next time!

                                    1. Figured I'd give this thread a bump since I'm headed back to the Courtyard in the morning..

                                      Might have to try that burger at Good Dog this time around!


                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: TipsyMcStagger

                                        If you're buying, try Estia, on Locust between Broad and 15th. Best fish/seafood around, great atmosphere. There's a prix-fixe pre-theater special - I think it's $35 - that is well worth it. You can take a look at the menu posted outside.