Things to Eat

Is the best fried chicken brunch in Philly at a dance club?

Plus, an Indonesian hoagie, West African comfort and a breakfast sandwich worth seeking out.

Rendang hoagie at Hardena's food truck

Rendang hoagie at Hardena's food truck

Danya Henninger / Billy Penn

With apologies to the cooks who lament having to flip eggs all day, there’s few things as satisfying as a good brunch.

After all, It’s a meal that offers a chance to sleep in and day drink for no reason — and we’ve got a killer option in this week’s edition of our new series on top food picks around Philadelphia.

Also on tap: where to get a solid weekday morning choice in Old City; West Philly meets West Africa with a University City-area staple; and a Cherry Street Pier food truck with a killer Southeast Asian hoagie.

Have an idea for a dish we should try? Let us know.

Breakfast sandwich No. 1 at Menagerie Coffee

111 S. Independence Mall E. (Historic District)

Thing about McGriddles: the idea is great, the execution not so much. Enter this coffee shop, whose grand counter fronting the Bourse Food Court is almost larger than its tiny original Old City location. Here, the sweet-and-savory handheld morning meal achieves its potential with the “Breakfast sandwich No. 1.” A cloud of salty thin-sliced ham tops a fluffy egg beneath gooey pepper jack cheese, and the drizzle of real maple syrup is the final touch. At $6, it’s maybe a few bucks more than a food truck BEC, but so, so worth it.

Poulet Senegal at Kilimandjaro

4317 Chestnut St. (University City)

Poulet means chicken in French. Pronounce it 🔊pu.lɛ and order it at Kilimandjaro restaurant near 43rd and Chestnut. The dish comes with your choice of sides — get the couscous and veggie mix with Senegalese plantain. Over the decades, proprietor Youma Bah has become a leader in Philly’s large community of West African diaspora, and her welcoming philosophy makes the spot a cozy place. Grab a seat in one of the booths and watch some football (not the American kind) or carry out. Just make sure to bring cash.

Rendang hoagie at Hardena food truck

121 N. Columbus Blvd. (Delaware River Waterfront)

How to make stew into a grab-and-go snack? Combining their Indonesian heritage with their current home, the Widjojo sisters of Hardena have an answer. At their food truck on the tip of Cherry Street Pier, you can get rendang as a hoagie. The rich, coconut milk-braised shreds of beef are layered with lettuce, crunchy pickled cabbage and juicy tomato, all piled inside a soft roll for $9. The counter is currently open weekday afternoons and weekends until 9 p.m., which’ll get slightly scaled back to Thursday-Sunday come winter.

Fried chicken bucket at Vesper

223 S. Sydenham St. (Rittenhouse)
1031 Germantown Ave. (Northern Liberties)

The fried chicken bucket available during brunch at Vesper can bring on pandemonium — in the best way. After a tablemate sampled some of the surprisingly successful golden brown fried chicken on top of a waffle, we knew it was worth a deeper dive. The pile of well-seasoned crispiness is perfect simplicity, and perfectly sharable. You might not expect a place that’s known as a nightclub to offer noteworthy food, but get ready for a surprise. Bottomless mimosas are just a bonus.

Want some more? Explore other Things to Eat stories.

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