Readers’ Choice: A winning consistency¬†

When talk­ing about South Philly diners, there are plenty of op­tions avail­able for cus­tom­ers, But this time of year, we al­ways ask SPR read­ers to pick their fa­vor­ite diner.

Photo by Maria Young

When talk­ing about South Philly diners, there are plenty of op­tions avail­able for cus­tom­ers, But this time of year, we al­ways ask SPR read­ers to pick their fa­vor­ite diner. Year after year, it’s clear SPR read­ers over­whelm­ingly prefer the Pen­rose, 2016 Pen­rose Ave., as the No. 1 op­tion.  

“Ob­vi­ously it’s a great hon­or, but it’s also a cred­it to the great staff and cus­tom­er base we have,” Bill Dovas, gen­er­al man­ager of the Pen­rose, said. “It cre­ates such a great at­mo­sphere that people love to come back to that.

“We strive to be the best. People want great food and friendly ser­vice.”

There is plenty of room, too, as the Pen­rose has seat­ing for close to 250 guests. 

Like most diners, eggs and oth­er break­fast items tend to be the more pop­u­lar items, but the suc­cess is res­ult of tak­ing an around-the-clock ap­proach in which the din­ner menu re­ceives the same amount of at­ten­tion as the first meal of the day. 

“We broaden our ho­ri­zon by giv­ing people more of a res­taur­ant ex­per­i­ence at din­ner­time,” Dovas, who star­ted as a dish­wash­er. said.

He noted that chick­en parm, tur­key din­ners and oth­er com­fort food items tend to be pop­u­lar sellers. The Pen­rose, which is owned by the Ko­lov­os, Baroody and Dovas fam­il­ies, also of­fers reg­u­lar spe­cials to cus­tom­ers. The diner, which has been part of the Pack­er Park land­scape for dec­ades, re­lies on its staff of 85 to 90 em­ploy­ees to help main­tain its win­ning repu­ta­tion. 

“All of the cred­it goes to the staff,” Dovas said. “We have a lot of people who work here, and they are the lifeblood of the diner. For us, win­ning year after year is be­cause of the great people we have on staff.” 

The Ore­gon Diner took an or­der for second place while Mel­rose plated a third-place serving.


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You can reach at bgelman@southphillyreview.com.