M, 6AM - 3PM; T-Sa 6AM - 5:30 PM; Su, 7AM - 2 PM
(215) 337-8155 Website Google Maps
Gravitas: Decor: Cost: Proximity:
OK, I admit to loving dives. Especially ones like this where the sensibilities of the owner, even wacky ones, are plain to see. It reminds me of the places I used to eat growing up, from a time when most restaurants were owner operated, and McDonald’s were found only in California.
In Manhattan, you might find a retro, comfort-food restaurant straining to evoke the decor and feel of the Squirrel’s Nest Cafe, and charging you $30/head for breakfast and the privilege of increasing your cholesterol count. Here you can accomplish the same thing for less than $10. This is the sort of place where, if you sit at the counter (which I recommend), most of the customers are greeted by name. Their median age appears to be north of 70; you’ll learn all sorts of vaguely personal information (my waitress’ home needs new windows). If the conversation flags, you can rummage through the pile of today’s newspapers, and dig out the sports section (or whatever).
The food is almost besides the point. Order any basic diner staple: eggs, pancakes, omelets, a sandwich, burger, or cheesesteak, and you won’t regret it. It will be hot and freshly made and acceptable quality.
The Squirrel’s Nest Cafe’s decor has a theme, which revolves around (you guessed it): squirrels. There are a series of charming, hand painted murals on the wall. Squirrels on the molding above the counter. Squirrels on all of the sign boards. Stuffed squirrels standing on the counter by the cash register. Really, squirrels everywhere. If you don’t like squirrels, my suggestion is that you stay away.