Reading Terminal Market; Home to Philadelphia’s Most Mouthwatering Eateries
Merchants to try at Reading Terminal Market
Reading Terminal Market is one of the most popular and heavy trafficked areas in Philadelphia. It is also home to some of the best eateries in Philadelphia. Reading Terminal Market is “one of America’s largest and oldest public markets.” The market has been housed in a National Historic Landmark building since 1893. Reading Terminal Market offers a stunning selection of “locally grown and exotic produce, locally sourced meats and poultry, the finest seafood, cheeses, baked goods and confections.”
Photo via Wikipedia
Reading Terminal Market officially opened on February 22, 1893. Word quickly spread of Reading Terminal Market’s free delivery service, where boys, referred to as “Market brats,” would deliver small orders to customers that lived in town. Reading Terminal Market was approximately 78,000 square feet when it opened and had about 800 spaces for merchants. The market was presented as a grid system, similar to the streets of Philadelphia.
Unlike most retail businesses, Reading Terminal Market flourished during the Great Depression, because farmers were more than willing to bring their product “to a city where supply was scarce and prices were good.” Reading Terminal Market still endured tough times during the Great Depression, but managed to keep business afloat. When the Great Depression ended, there were 64 fortunate merchants that were still in business at Reading Terminal Market. 10 of those 64 merchants were original stand holders that been with the market since 1892.
While Reading Terminal Market found a footing during World War II and thrived, despite labor shortages, business began to slow down again during the 1960s. The market wasn’t getting enough attention from the railroad. A cash shortage and decline in traffic pushed the Reading Terminal Market into bankruptcy in 1971. Luckily, in the 1980s, the Reading Company helped turn business around and the Reading Terminal Market began to flourish once again.
Today, Reading Terminal Market is a popular place that Philadelphia locals and tourists visit often. Every week, one hundred thousand Philadelphians and tourists make their way through the market to enjoy all the different products, history and people that the market has to offer. The Reading Terminal Market especially gets heavy foot traffic during the holidays. The market is home to over 80 merchants that sell local produce, fresh eggs, milk, meats, poultry, seafood, handmade crafts, jewelry, and clothing.
Center Court at Reading Terminal Market Photo via Wikipedia
Tommy DiNic’s was named “The Best Sandwhich in America” by Adam Richman on his first episode of Best Sandwich in America (where it was up against Pittsburgh’s Primanti Bros. and New York City’s Katz’s Delicatessen) and is listed as the number one sandwich on “Philadelphia’s Sandwich Hall of Fame.”
It all started in 1918 when a man named Gaetano opened up a butcher shop in South Philadelphia called “Nicolosi’s.” Gaetano’s family lived above the butcher shop and eventually he raised his five sons to work with him in their family business. By the 1950’s, Gaetano had let his sons take over the business. Gaetano had been using a large oven, that was located in a garage behind his shop, to cook specialty roasts for his customers. In 1954, Gaetano’s four sons had the idea to sell roast pork and beef sandwiches out of the garage. These sandwiches received high praise from the neighborhood locals and quickly became in high demand.
In the early 1970’s, Tommy Nicolosi, one of Gaetano’s grandsons, decided to open up a sandwich shop with his cousin, Franky DiClaudio, at 10th & Oregon. They combined their last names to come up with the name Tommy DiNic’s. Business thrived for the cousins during this time and by 1980 they decided to split up. Franky opened up a location at 10th & Reed, while Tommy opened up a shop inside Reading Terminal Market. Tommy DiNic’s at Reading Terminal Market is in its fourth generation. Tommy still owns and runs the shop with his son, Joey.
Tommy DiNic’s is a sandwich you don’t want to miss out on when visiting Philadelphia. These tasty sandwiches have become well known for the close attention to detail and a commitment to using only quality ingredients and making everything from scratch. Whether you go for the roast pork, roast beef, the Italian sausage, hand-carved Italian pulled pork or the hand-carved brisket of beef, you won’t be disappointed. Tommy DiNic’s has received an abundance of praise from customers and the media and is always a hot spot during lunchtime. Tommy DiNic’s is open from 9a-6p Tuesday-Saturday and from 9a-4p on Sunday and Monday.
Hand-carved brisket sandwich, with the works (Provolone cheese, broccoli rabe and a mix of sweet and spicy peppers). Photo via Brandon Speakman
Wursthaus Schmitz is proud to offer “modern, yet traditional German flavors to Reading Terminal Market.” Wursthaus owners Doug and Kelly Hager and Chef Nolen first opened up Brahaus Schmitz on South Street. This eventually led them to open up the more casual restaurant, Wursthaus, in Reading Terminal Market.
Photo via Brandon Speakman
Wursthaus offers a wide variety of sausages such as, weisswurst, bratwurst and kielbasa, which all come with a side of potato salad, red cabbage and sauerkraut. Along with the traditional German cuisine of sausages and kraut, you can also try Wursthaus’ “hard-to-find cooked and cured meats” such as “leberkäse, gelbwurst, German-style bologna, and landjäger,” which Wursthaus describes as “smoky, snappy sausages.”
Photo via Brandon Speakman
If you aren’t much of a sausage conisseruer, WurstHuas also offers an assortment of sandwich platters that “feature hot, crispy pork or chicken schnitzel, different sausages and meats and currywurst, which is pork sausage and curry ketchup, a popular Berlin street snack.” WurstHaus is also proud to sell their imported ingredients of smoked fish, various mustards and vinegars, as well as Haribo gummy candies and assorted chocolates.
Beiler’s Donuts and Salads
Beiler’s Donuts and Salads is a popular Amish doughnut joint that prides itself on serving fresh and tasty doughnuts every day. You can’t go wrong with their diverse selection of flavors.
Beiler’s Doughnuts began over 30 years ago at Reading Terminal Market. Alvin Beiler (“an Amish-raised farmer from Lancaster County who married the Mennonite daughter of the first Pennsylvania Dutch merchant in the Reading Terminal Market”) has been cited as the mastermind behind this treasured bakery and even created the unique doughnut flavors that are in high demand daily by locals and tourist alike. Beiler’s Donuts “is still owned and operated by multiple generations of the same Pennsylvania Dutch family, who pride themselves on using recipes and baking techniques that have been passed down for hundreds of years.”
Today Alvin’s sons, Kevin and Keith Beiler, have helped manage Beiler’s Doughnuts. Beiler’s Doughnuts at Reading Terminal Market is just one of the 3 locations in Pennsylvania. You can visit Beiler’s Doughnuts on Chestnut Street in Philadelphia, as well as their location in Lancaster City, Pennsylvania. Beiler’s Doughnuts sells over 50 scrumptious doughnut flavors including Apple Cider, Caramel Apple, Triple Chocolate Cake, Chocolate Mouse, Fruity Pebbles, Maple Bacon, Salted Caramel and much more. Beiler’s Doughnuts is proud to offer doughnuts at $10 a dozen, so you can try a variety of their fresh and yummy doughnuts that are incredibly difficult to compare to any other doughnut shop in the country.
Be prepared to wait in line when you go to Beiler’s Doughnuts, but trust me, any line is worth waiting in for these doughnuts. Yes, they really are that good. Along with selling some of the best doughnuts you’ll ever try, Beiler’s also offers barrel pickles and traditional Pennsylvania Dutch puddings and salads, all made with natural ingredients. Beiler’s Doughnuts is open from 8 am to 6 pm Monday-Saturday and is closed on Sunday. Trip Advisor has named Beiler’s Doughnuts the #1 place for dessert in Philadelphia and the #2 best restaurant in Philadelphia. Beiler’s Doughnuts was also named “one of the America’s 20 best dessert spots” by Fordor’s Travel Guide. Beiler’s Doughnuts is the best place to satisfy your sweet tooth the next time you’re in Philadelphia. Check out Beiler’s sister store, Beiler’s Bakery, across the aisle for an assortment of “fresh baked cakes, cupcakes, breads, cookies, pies, and other PA Dutch specialties.”
The menu at Beiler’s Bakery Photo via Brandon Speakman
Bassetts Ice Cream
Bassetts Ice Cream is America’s oldest ice cream company and the first merchant to sign a lease at Reading Terminal Market. Bassetts Ice Cream has been named the third best ice cream parlor in Pennsylvania. This historic ice cream company was established in 1861 and signed their lease with Reading Terminal Market in 1892. Today it is still owned and operated by the same family. The menu at Bassetts includes over 40 different ice cream flavors that are made with milk and cream that comes from a co-op of dairy farmers in western Pennsylvania. Each flavor is “tested to perfection.” Bassetts Ice Cream is another must visit when coming to Reading Terminal Market.
Photo via Wikipedia
Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia is the place to visit if you are into trying out an array of tasty and unique foods and learning about different cultures. Reading Terminal Market is a true gem of Philadelphia filled with lots of great history. Make sure to stop on by the next time you’re in downtown Philadelphia. It’s an experience like no other.
Photo via Wikipedia