Jany’s, in downtown Philadelphia, was introduced to me by Greg, of Coffee Guru App fame, my guide during my stay in Philadelphia. For those who don’t know it, Jany’s is an old-fashioned American diner of the type that I adore, akin to Charlie’s Sandwich Shoppe in Boston. Serving typical diner fare (ie good quality comfort food), the food is both excellent and extremely good value for money, with a massive menu to choose from. So, that’s the good news.
The bad news is that, having been run by Jany and her family since 1977, Jany is hoping to retire this summer and is looking to sell the business on. With luck, someone will buy it and carry it on much as it is, but who knows what will happen? So, if you get the chance, check out Jany’s while you can. Or buy it. But don’t change anything!
It would be great if Jany’s was still open, still serving the same wholesome value-for-money food when I next come to Philadelphia.
March 2015: Jany’s is still here! I’ve just called in for brunch on my return to Philadelphia and am delighted to report that Jany’s is under new ownership and going strong. As far as I can tell, other than the addition of Wifi, nothing else has changed 🙂
May 2017: Jany’s has closed for good, something I was able to confirm on my 2018 trip to Philadelphia. Thanks to Nick for the heads up.
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
I first came across Jany’s when Greg posted an amazing panorama of the diner’s interior on twitter. Greg, who knew of my love of American diners, had already tagged Jany’s as a must visit. So it was, on the Saturday morning, in the middle of my three-day stay, I was picked up from my hotel and whisked over to Jany’s, a relatively short drive away, just to the north of the centre.
From the outside, Jany’s, which stands by itself on the corner of 12th and Wood, doesn’t look very big, but inside it’s actually quite spacious. Entering by the door in the right-hand corner, Jany’s spreads out ahead and to the left of you. Pride of place goes to the magnificent U-shaped counter, the sort of counter that, in my imagination, all American diners have (this is despite my having been in plenty of American diners, very few of which have such a wonderfully-shaped counter!).
Left to my own devices, I’d have been up there like a shot, perched on one of the bar stools, much as I do when I’m breakfasting alone at Charlie’s Sandwich Shoppe (where, alas, the counter is distinctly linear!). However, since I was with Greg, we snaffled one of the booths that line two sides of Jany’s (booths being my other seating obsession in diners). There’s one row of three along the front, by the windows, with another row along the far wall, to your left as you come in. Sandwiched between this second row and the counter is a square of four four-person tables, which completes the seating options.
Greg and I ended up in the middle one of the window booths, a lovely spot, although the view, of a parking lot and an old, industrial building on the other side of 12st Street, might not be to everyone’s tastes. The abundance of windows means that Jany’s is very bright, despite the low ceiling, with a frosted window on the Wood Street side adding to generous windows running along the front of the store.
Seating aside, the main reason to come to Jany’s is the food, which is typical American diner fare. A comprehensive menu offers eggs, 14 different omelettes, 11 breakfast sandwiches (all egg-based), French toast and hot cakes, plus various sides. And that’s just the breakfast menu! The full menu includes salads, countless hot and cold sandwiches, steaks (including, naturally enough, Philly Cheesesteak), chicken steaks, burgers and hot platters. And, this being Philadelphia, there’s 17 different types of Hoagie!
I, of course, being something of a creature of habit, immediately zeroed in on the eggs, going for two eggs (poached), home fries and toast, plus a side of two hot cakes (pancakes to you and me) and a mug of coffee.
The food, as I’ve said, was excellent. The pancakes were light and fluffy, the eggs done just how I like them, the potatoes just right (they can sometimes be undercooked) and the toast crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. The perfect comfort-food breakfast! Even the coffee the very good, with Jany’s making a fresh pot every 30 minutes.
You can check out what Greg made of Jany’s, including his original panorama photo, in his take on my first two days in Philadelphia.
|325 N 12TH STREET • PHILADELPHIA • PA 109107 • USA|
|www.janysrestaurant.com||+1 215 627 4112|
|Monday||07:00 – 15:00||Seating||Tables, Counter|
|Tuesday||07:00 – 15:00||Food||Breakfast, Lunch|
|Wednesday||07:00 – 15:00||Service||Table|
|Thursday||07:00 – 15:00||Cards||Mastercard, Visa|
|Friday||07:00 – 15:00||Wifi||Free (with code)|
|Saturday||09:00 – 14:00||Power||No|
|Chain||No||Visits||12th March 2014|
Liked this? Then take a look at the Coffee Spot Guide to Philadelphia for more great coffee Spots.
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