Middle Child Clubhouse
There are almost too many reasons why you should go to Middle Child Clubhouse: to eat big breakfast sandwiches, drink mezcal and beet cocktails, and get the opportunity to stare at pictures of Beyoncé and Princess Diana wearing Eagles gear. The Fishtown spot serves some of the most impressive breakfast and lunch sandwiches in Philly, and is one of the most exciting places to get a meal at night. It’s essentially an all-day hangout place with amazing food, and if we spend any more time here, they may start charging us rent.
The offshoot of the smaller Midtown Village shop, this younger sibling is full of cafeteria-style seating, table tops, counter seating, and long booths big enough for you and a few friends. During the day, it’s a good place to crank out some emails while looking out at Front Street, dive into a book while Kendrick Lamar cycles through the speakers, and bite into a stacked sandwich.
When you come during the day, you should go right for the Hershel sandwich that has house-corned short rib, a row of fluffy eggs, and melted sharp cheddar cheese all on warm slices of rye. They also have hashbrowns, cinnamon buns, babka french toast, grab-and-go pastries, bagels, and a few other things to reward you for getting out of bed before noon. Lunch here runs until 2pm and the menu is full of deli and club sandwiches like a Reuben and the Baller Classic that combines thick-cut turkey, mayo, onion, and arugula. The best part is, whether you go for a breakfast or lunch sandwich, they’ll be piled high and taste like a sandwich version of a Cameo video where the guy who plays Stanley on The Office wishes you “happy birthday.” Basically, they’re perfect, and feel like they were made specifically for you any time you order one.
The sitdown experience of Middle Child really ramps up after 5pm, as it goes from a counter-service ordering to table service. Although this might seem like a casual place to grab a burger and fries, there’s nothing low-key about how memorable your dinner experience will be. At night, the music gets cranked up, the dining space gets as crowded as the BSL at 5pm, and you may see wine being poured down people’s throats with a long porron—you pretty much have all the elements from a few scenes from The Hangover.
When it comes to the dinner menu, they have shareable plates like a crispy chicken caesar that comes with a breaded chicken milanese larger than Bigfoot’s shoe and the PEI mussels that are swimming in a wine sauce that we love so much, one of our friends yelled at us, “get a room” as we spooned it down. Going for a salad, two small plates, and then heading for one of the mains is the way to go—and that entree should absolutely be their burger. It’s thick and juicy, you’re only allowed to order it medium-rare or well-done, and it’s dripping in a homemade russian dressing and melted american cheese that makes each bite a tangy and creamy feast.
The wine and cocktail lists happen to have a ton of range, which makes this an even more versatile cafe. Sip on some French rosés, orange bottles from South Africa, a few Spanish reds, and apple wine from PA. With a lineup of cocktails on tap, you can start your Happy Hour early since they serve them all day.
Your experience at Middle Child can (and should) be a day-long journey from breakfast sandwiches in the morning to a night of burgers, games of pool with your friends, and multiple rounds of Chilean wine. And you’ll probably be left with the need to come back and do it all again the next day.
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This is our favorite breakfast sandwich here. The eggs are more soft and pillowy than marshmallows, and the whole thing is dripping with cheddar cheese and stuffed with chunks of juicy short rib. Put your favorite BEC on the shelf to collect dust and opt for this one instead.
Middle Child puts every sandwich in a white wrapper, which makes opening one almost feel like Christmas morning. The Surfer layers melty swiss, turkey, sweet blueberry chutney, mayo, and arugula, all on a warm ciabatta. If we actually got this for Christmas, it would be one of the few gifts we wouldn’t return.
Shrimp and Shishito
You only get around 10 shrimp in this dish, but since each crustacean is as big as the palm of your hand, one order of these can actually fill you up. The shrimp are cooked perfectly, get a peppery boost from the massive long hots, and should be dunked in the tangy bravas aioli and aleppo oil.
A bowl of these mussels is filled with crunchy green beans, strips of ham, and the promise that you’ll be dreaming about them for days later. Bathing in an oniony wine sauce that’s a little spicy thanks to the salami XO sprinkled throughout, it’s the best opening act for your meal here.
Middle Child has a few “This is not Burger King, try it our way” signs around the restaurant. And we’re here to tell you that trying it their way (meaning you can only order it medium-rare or well-done) results in a burger that’s thick, juicy, and comes slathered in a homemade creamy Russian dressing. It’s good enough to eat without the bun, and this burger will probably make you forget about ever stepping into a fast-food spot again.
Beets and Mezcal
If you’re looking for a cocktail that goes with anything, try the one with beets and mezcal. Each sip of the smoky beverage mixes beets, mezcal, orange juice, and bubbles to deliver something refreshing and subtly sweet. It’s so good that it made us go on a beet cocktail-sipping spree to find one as good as this one (we couldn't).