Breakfast sandwiches are one of those foods that you probably don’t think much about — until they become all you can think about. They are ubiquitous, utilitarian, usual fare. And yet, establishments throughout Philly put their own twists on them, serving something more interesting and delicious than your standard egg and cheese on pre-sliced sandwich bread.

Breakfast innovations are constant, as diverse spots throughout Philadelphia offer a range of global cultural influences. Some breakfast sandwiches are best eaten sitting down, some are ideal for splitting with a friend, and, of course, many are perfect for eating on the go as you make your way across town on a busy morning. All showcase the creativity and care for ingredients that local restaurants prize.

Here’s where to go for the best breakfast sandwiches in Philly.

Artisan Boulanger Patissier

Price: $6 for an egg and cheese on a croissant

While the options for full meals aren’t extensive here, the baked goods are on point. In fact, everything this South Philly, French- and Southeast Asian-inspired bakery offers is perfectly executed. The owners, Andre Chin and Amanda Eap, shut down the shop in late 2021 to focus on their health, and recently resumed weekend hours. You’d do well to get your sandwich on a croissant: freshly made and flaky, it’s robust enough to hold up a fried egg and sausage patty. The proportions work out such that every bite is a balanced combination of flavors.

📍1218 Mifflin St., 📞 215-271-4688, 📷 @ArtisanBakeryPhiladelphia

Bart’s Bagels

Price: $10 for corned beef, egg, and cheese on a bagel

Brett Frankel runs a West Philly takeout spot focused on bagels and bagel sandwiches, including some interesting variations: One week’s special was a torta with housemade chorizo, salsa verde, and pickled onions. Frankel learned to make bagels traveling the country and exploring regional styles. Production-wise, he sticks to “a traditional New York style, kettle-boiled and baked in an oven” after the dough sits through 48-hour cold ferment. Unique options available every dayinclude a corned beef sandwich that comes with“diced up corned beef, eggs, Cooper Sharp cheese, and caramelized onions folded up into an omelet,” according to Frankel. The Uncle Leo is an overt Seinfeld reference and features Nova smoked salmon, a fried egg, scallion cream cheese, and caramelized onions. Frankel’s head chef, Ron Silverberg, smokes all meats in-house.

📍3945 Lancaster Ave., 📞 215-596-5157, 🌐 bartsbagels.com, 📷 @BartsBagels

Beck’s Cajun Cafe

Price: $5.50 for a smoked andouille sausage, 3 eggs, and American cheese on a baguette

This counter at Reading Terminal Market presents myriad options for your sandwich needs: take-out or sit-down, vegetarian or meaty, classic or reimagined. The breakfast po’boys come on a baguette with American cheese, with the exception of the vegetarian po’boy, which comes with provolone. Eggs are over medium by default, and sausage gets grilled and thinly sliced, almost like deli meat. Beck’s server Jenelle recommends “mixing the meats with the veggie po’boy” and adding a splash of housemade, pre-packaged hot sauce in addition to the “certain level of flavor” for which Beck’s is adept. Jenelle admits she was a customer before heading behind the counter: “The reason I started working here is because I wanted to eat the food as often as possible. And that’s been going really well!”

📍 51 N. 12th St., 📞 215-592-0505, 🌐 beckscajuncafe.com, 📷 @beckscajuncafe

Darnel’s Cakes

Price: $5.50 for an egg and cheese; $1.75 extra for a meat

You could easily walk past Darnel’s Cakes, tucked into the lobby of an Old City office, but do yourself a favor and stop in. Co-owner Kyle Cuffie-Scott grew his 2016-era fundraising project into a brick-and-mortar shop with Joe Lope in May 2020, offering are a dizzying array of baked goods and more, like breakfast sandwiches on housemade buttermilk biscuits or brioche buns. The biscuits are sturdy, and the brioche refreshingly light. (Both options are tidily sized, manageable as an office meal.) Cuffie-Scott baked biscuits for his family for years, selling them from his shop when he opened. The biscuits became sandwiches, showcasing fluffy scrambled eggs and a proprietary cheese blend. (A Thai shallot mayo, 50 cents extra, heats up any sandwich.) Bonus: You can order a breakfast sandwich right up until closing time at 3 p.m.

📍444 N. Third St., 📞 215-608-8471, 🌐 darnelscakes.com, 📷 @DarnelsCakes

Gleaner’s

Price: $6.50 for The Painkiller

At this cozy cafe in the Italian Market, coffee appears to be the focus. But looks are deceiving: the cash-only counter also presents creative bagel sandwiches, like the Painkiller, scrambled eggs and cheddar cheese on a bagel of your choosing, with a housemade spicy ketchup. The staff cuts the sandwich in half for easy access — or easily taking half to-go as “second breakfast,” if you don’t finish it at their sidewalk tables.

📍917 S. Ninth St., 📞 215-923-3205, 📷 @GleanersCafe

Maria’s Bread Sandwiches

Price: $8.95 for an egg and cheese

In downtown Collingswood, Maria’s Bread Sandwiches present their breakfasts on Philly’s own Mighty Bread products. Order through a digital kiosk, customizing your takeout or dine-in order. In addition to the local breads, eggs are local sourced — a preformed patty that fit the toast just so — while the cheese is regional favorite Cooper Sharp. The most basic version of Maria’s sandwiches are enjoyable, but order roasted long hot peppers chopped on the side to add heat to your liking.

📍685 Haddon Ave., Collingswood, 📞 856-240-7787, 🌐 mariasbreadsandwiches.com, 📷 @mariasbreadsandwiches

Middle Child Clubhouse

Price: $7.50 for Classic Breakfast Sandwich (eggs, cooper sharp cheese, arugula, on potato bread)

Much has been written about the original Center City location of Middle Child, and the Fishtown Clubhouse branch, opened in 2021, is getting its due too. Their version of the classic breakfast sandwich is delicious, and worthy of a few napkins. The eggs are fluffy, whipped beyond a normal scramble, and topped withCooper Sharp cheese. If you’re feeling like you want another layer, treat yourself to a hash brown tucked inside. This is definitely one to share with a friend in the cheerful Clubhouse, or to indulge on a lazy morning.

📍1232 N. Front St., 📞 267-858-4325, 🌐 middlechildphilly.com, 📷 @middlechildclubhouse

Rocco’s

Price: $9 for a sausage, egg and cheese on a roll

Those unfamiliar with Philly may look askance at anything cooked in a Home Depot parking lot — they just don’t understand the joy of Rocco’s. Rocco’s is an institution of a local chain with reliable, hefty sandwiches and sides throughout the day. Egg and cheese sandwiches come on a long roll here, and if you dig spice, you’ll want a fat, long, link of grilled hot sausage as well. (Sweet sausage is the alternative; the menu also offers the option of one spicy link and one sweet link, for a contrasting combo.) Peppers and onions, also grilled in front of you, add depth of flavor, as do hot sauce and mayonnaise. The latter comes as a note of tang and creaminess. Unwrap your sandwich while you’re still in the parking lot or, even better, head to a nearby outdoor space for peak enjoyment vibes.

📍2200 W. Oregon Ave., 1491 S. Delaware Ave., 2539 Castor Ave., 📷 @roccos_italian_sausage_steak_

Sulimay’s

Price: $7 for an egg, meat, and cheese on a Philly muffin

Diners may be a dying institution in Philadelphia, but Sulimay’s makes a strong case to bring them back in full force in every neighborhood. Among Fishtown rowhouses and retail shops, it’s a diner where old meets new. You can’t go wrong with scrapple in your breakfast sandwich, especially when it’s sitting on top of what amounts to an omelet and your choice of cheese. Sulimay’s proudly serves Merzbacher’s square Philly muffins, which are ideal in shape and size for a scrapple egg sammy.

📍632 E. Girard Ave, 📞 215-423-1773, 🌐 breakfastatsulimays.com, 📷 @Breakfast.at.Sulimays

The Breakfast Den

Price: $9 for Eggs & Cheesy Sammy: 2 scrambled eggs, cheddar on baguette with homefries

You have a half dozen exciting breakfast sandwich paths to follow at this corner spot in Graduate Hospital, which celebrates its second anniversary in July 2022. Owner Huyen Dinh calls this menu style a “happy marriage between Vietnamese flavors and American staple sandwiches.” She explains that “Vietnamese food is a lot of fun, especially when you put it with American food. There’s so many different combinations.” For example, the banh mi op la is an eggy take on the traditional Vietnamese sandwich, combining fried eggs and sausage with The Breakfast Den’s own blends of herbs and eggplant pate. Alternatively, the sweet jam remix comes loaded burger-style with scrambled eggs and bacon two ways on a brioche bun topped with cheddar cheese, caramelized onions, and a spicy strawberry jam-mayo combination. Dinh says it’s her new favorite offering: “There’s nothing Vietnamese about it. The sweet jam remix is basically my childhood sandwich. It’s what I grew up eating. You’d always have strawberry jam and mayo.”

📍 1500 South St., 📞 267-758-6008, 🌐 thebreakfastden.com, 📷 @TBD.TheBreakfastDen

Vincenzo’s

Price: $8 for a three-egg, meat, and cheese sandwich on a hoagie roll

Vincenzo’s is a true neighborhood spot, with a straightforward setup in South Philly. You enter on 9th Street and immediately see the counter, grill, and a handful of seats. You’re likely to meet Michael Pakradooni, who is the current owner of Vincenzo’s, and has been there for seven years, though the shop has existed for over thirty. Recently, he’s had to deal with market changes. “Eggs have basically doubled [in price] since last year. Everything’s gone up.” It’s the only place in town that, in addition to breakfast meats like hot sausage crumbles, regularly offers a chicken cutlet in your egg sandwich. That option isn’t obvious on the printed menu but is an upgrade that is worth a try. Of the cutlet add-on, Pakradooni warns first-timers, “It’s fun, but you definitely need a nap after you eat all that.”

📍1626 S. Ninth St., 📞 215-463-6811, 🌐 vincenzosphilly.com

» READ MORE: Live your best life in Philly: Read our most useful stories here