Before heading to the airport this morning, I took my dad to Merl's for breakfast. Merl's is a breakfast joint just around the corner from me and it's become one of my favorite spots. Convenient location aside, Merl's has some of the best home fries and pancakes in town. The home fries (known as Merl's signature home fries) are crispy and salty, cooked with onions and green peppers. The server tends to ask if you would like the fries with onions and peppers. I can't imagine ordering them any other way.
The pancakes are best described by quoting the server. On my last trip there, my cousin told the server how amazingly crispy and soft the pancakes were. Her response: "I think it's all the butter." Or today, when I requested butter before digging in. She said, "There's already butter melted on the pancakes. But if you want more, I can bring some." Extra butter was definitely unnecessary.
My dad described the pancakes as the "perfect combination of wet and dry," which in chef talk just meant the dry ingredients didn't overwhelm the wet ones in the batter. So while the extra butter makes the outside of the pancakes super crispy, the inside is melt-in-your-mouth soft.
He ordered the pancakes and scrapple (Which he claims not to have eaten in two decades! I like to think he was inspired by all my recent scrapple talk.), and the scrapple came thinly sliced and deep fried, much to his satisfaction. I went with the p'cakes and pork bacon.
Merl herself came out at one point and checked to see how we were enjoying everything. When we praised the pancakes, she referred to her "secret recipe." I certainly hope I'm not revealing too much by saying they certainly benefit from copious amounts of butter.
Merl's South Philly Breakfast Spot
1543 Dickinson St. Philly 19146