Sandler's on 9th, Ninth and Chestnut Streets
One of the happier Philly memories is Horn & Hardart's, the cafeteria chain that fed generations through the early 1990s. It offered good, solid comfort food at fair prices, and the Automat, a then-high-tech system where patrons selected their food behind coin-operated glass doors.
H&H's first Automat opened in 1902 at 818 Chestnut St., maintaining a spectacular run till 1968.
Fifty years later, the H&H is now a doctor's office, and this slice of Center City around Thomas Jefferson University Hospital had been fairly underserved, restaurant-wise.
Last summer, veteran restaurateur Paul Sandler secured the space at the old Ben Franklin hotel at Ninth and Chestnut and installed Sandler's on 9th. It's an all-purpose operation: roomy dining room, breakfast all day, something-for-everyone menu, well-stocked bar, takeout counter, open seven days.
The weekend brunch menu hits the egg/pancake/waffle game well, expanding into salads, sandwiches, and platters, including chicken in a pot for two.
The breakfast sandwich you may want to try is the Train Wreck, which layers Taylor pork roll, egg, American cheese, and long hot peppers on a Sarcone's kaiser roll. Cocktail prices, including Bloodies, mimosas, and prosecco, top out at $8.
Just no Automat.