Creamed chipped beef on toast, also known as S.O.S. or s**t on a shingle, is a classic Philadelphia delicacy. Made well, it's the perfect fat-on-carb hangover food, soaking up tons of alcohol and then putting you immediately back to sleep. Believe it or not, good S.O.S. is something of a lost art, hard to find even in Philly. (The best versions are out in Amish Country.)
But the creamed chipped beef from Melrose Diner is delicious. It consists of white toast buried underneath smooth, hot white gravy, chock full of meat. The gravy isn't bland or wallpaper-paste thick, which is often the case with inferior S.O.S. With a side of cheese whiz fries and a vanilla milkshake I forgot all about the horrific mix of red wine, craft beer flights, iced tea flavored vodka, and whiskey shots I had ingested the night before.
The pork roll, egg and cheese sandwich is also worth a mention—two perfectly fried eggs on a roll with a few slices of grilled Taylor ham and ridiculous gobs of shiny, melted white American cheese. Does the body good.
Melrose is a historic South Philly dining car that's been through several changes in ownership along with ups and downs in food quality. Word on the street is that it's shifted back to being pretty good in the last year or so, which this meal seemed to confirm.
1501 Snyder Avenue, Philadelphia, PA (map)
215-467-6644, open 24 hours