My scope of travel has become a lot more local in the past few months. I’ve officially past the point of no more flying while pregnant. And to be honest, long rides or flights in a cramped seat don’t sound very appealing. But, it doesn’t mean my sense of adventure has diminished. So it has forced me to look more into my own surrounding area for new experiences. That’s why when I went to Philadelphia for a friend’s wedding a few week’s back, I made sure to do a little exploring outside the walls of our hotel. And guess what, it was a share-worthy venture. So today, I;m going to tell you all about Reading Terminal Market and why you should add it to your Philadelphia itineraries.
I’ve said this in the past but sometimes its great to be known as the “foodie” of the group. It has its perks. One of those perks is fellow food enthusiasts always sharing their latest or favorite food finds. One mention of a Philadelphia weekend yielded quite a few recommendations from co-workers. And I happily accept and of course “research” them to find out what looks noteworthy. That’s how Reading Terminal came about.
I learned that Reading Terminal is an large open air marketplace in the heart of Philadelphia. One large warehouse type setting houses dozens of food purveyors including sit down restaurants, bakeries, candy shops, juicers and more. There are also quite a few stands that have a cult-like following for locals. This seemed like the PERFECT place for me to “investigate” on my visit.
Well, Reading Terminal did not disappoint. Were their crowds? Yes, but, there was SO much to take in, wander through and just indulge in. Its a little overwhelming at first. My advice, do a lap. Survey all the offerings, shops and markets before you settle. But, I always agree that there are lines for a reason. So if the food stand looks like it’s in demand, it’s not a bad sign (if you have patience).
I was tipped off to Tommy Dinic’s Pork which has been in operation since 1954 (They’ve also won Best Sandwich in America by Travel Channel). Their short menu includes thinly sliced beef or pork, meatballs or pulled pork sandwiches. You can add sweet or spicy peppers, broccoli rabe, or sharp provolone to any menu item to top it off. As long as you don’t think of it as a cheese-steak substitute the sliced beef WITH sharp provolone and peppers was a great bite. This Italian style hoagie is more like a cousin of the cheese-steak but it hits the spot! The line was wrapped around the corner but we managed to get counter seats. But, don’t worry the line moves quick if that’s you’re only option!
The other stop I was informed that I MUST make was to Beiler’s Doughnuts. Another lengthy line but, I moved through it within minutes. I loved that I could watch the doughnuts being rolled out, fried, and decorated while I waited for my turn. There were so many I wanted to try but, I opted for just one. I wish I had a crew with me so we could habe purchased a few and sampled. But, the oreo doughnut I went for was indulgent enough. The dough was so light and fluffy. It practically melted in your mouth. Oh, and did I mention it was stuffed with homemade oreo cream?
Yea, a long walk was the next move after my visit to this market. It was needed and appreciated. But, the food was definitely worth the splurge. And by the way, you don’t need to splurge if you don’t want to. There were plenty of healthier options that looked fantastic inside. But where there is a food cult following, I will follow.
Now you know why you need to add this stop to your itineraries. It’s right in Center City so it makes a perfect breakfast or lunch stop during your daytime explorations.
Here’s the Reading Terminal Market, Beiler’s and Tommy Dinic’s websites for your planning:
…all for the love of the dish