0
Information about Philadelphia
You’re Just a Few Steps From Food-Lovers’ Paradise
Psychiatric News
Volume 47 Number 4 page 26b-27

Right across the street from the Pennsylvania Convention Center lies the Reading Terminal Market, a cavernous, bustling, old-fashioned emporium of eating in the heart of Philadelphia.

Anchor for JumpAnchor for Jump

Beiler’s Bakery in the Reading Terminal Market specializes in homemade Amish sticky buns, cakes, pies, apple fritters, donuts, bread, rolls, cookies, muffins, and shoofly pie. 

Corporation Market Reading Terminal

The market’s only drawback at lunchtime is the overwhelming alternatives it offers.

Some sort of market has stood on this spot since 1860, but the present structure opened in 1892 in the last station on the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad line. Nearly 800 merchants set up shop in stalls laid out on a grid pattern of 12 aisles and four avenues. Back then, suburban householders could place grocery orders and have them delivered by train.

Over the years, the combined ill fortunes of the nation’s railroads and Philadelphia’s downtown sent the market into steep decline. A turnaround began in the 1990s, boosted by the construction of the convention center next door.

Today, 80 merchants line the market’s grid, selling ready-to-eat foods along with local produce, fresh eggs, milk, meats, poultry, seafood, handmade crafts, jewelry, and clothing. Wednesdays through Saturdays, Pennsylvania Dutch merchants bring their baked goods, candy, fresh meats, and cheeses from Lancaster County to the market. Plenty of seating space is available for diners.

Even after a century’s ups and downs, the new market has some connections with the original version. Lewis Bassett founded the ice cream company bearing his name in 1861 and moved into the market shortly after it opened in 1892. Bassetts is now run by Lewis’s great-great grandsons and still sells ice cream, yogurt, and sorbet across the same marble counters at the original stand’s location on the 12th Street side of the market.

Anchor for JumpAnchor for Jump

Cousins Roger Bassett (left) and Michael Strange, great-great grandsons of company founder Lewis Bassett, now run Bassetts Ice Cream at its original stand in Philadelphia’s Reading Terminal Market. 

Corporation Market Reading Terminal

The late Domenic Spataro, who passed away in January at age 94, began working at his family’s namesake stall at age 11.

“I was running errands, doing deliveries, and after school I helped behind the counter,” he said in an interview two years ago. Spataro’s son now runs the operation, making cheesesteaks, Italian hoagies, and other sandwiches.

History is even more palpably present a short cab ride away, in the Italian Market, not so much a place as an experience. The Italian Market actually stretches along several blocks of South 9th Street, between Wharton and Fitzwater streets, and bills itself as “the oldest and largest working outdoor market in the United States.”

The scene is reminiscent of the clustered street markets common in immigrant neighborhoods a century ago. Rambling along 9th Street, visitors can find a wide variety of Italian (and, today, other) food specialties, but also kitchen wares, coffee and tea, fresh meats and produce, antiques, and even lingerie.

To pick just a few: Iannelli’s Bakery (1155 East Passyunk Avenue) has been around since 1915, one of the original brick-oven bakeries in south Philadelphia, selling bread, pizza, cannoli, and Grandma’s cookies.

Around the corner, Isgro Pastries (1009 Christian Street) specializes in cannoli, pastries, cakes, and cookies. The founder, Mario Isgro, studied culinary arts in Vienna and Messina before coming to Philadelphia more than 95 years ago. Mario’s grandson, Augustine, now presides over the business.

Renzulli’s Italian Water Ice (922 South 9th Street) is home to hot dogs, fresh funnel cakes, ice cream, and yes, Italian water ice.

Evening visitors might consider Ralph’s Italian Restaurant (760 South 9th Street), said to be the second oldest Italian restaurant in America and the oldest still owned and operated by the same family—the fourth generation of the Dispigno family.

+

  • The Philadelphia Italian Market  is open Tuesday through Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. More information is posted at www.phillyitalianmarket.com. 

  • Reading Terminal Market  is open Monday through Saturday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. More information is posted at www.readingterminalmarket.org. 

  • Pennsylvania Dutch vendors  offer their produce and other goods at the Reading Terminal Market Wednesday 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Thursday through Saturday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Shoofly pie, anyone?

  • A video of Domenic Spataro  is posted at www.youtube.com/watch?v=uSPRonWSPXY&feature=related .

  • The Reading Terminal Market  opened in 1892, and today about 80 merchants offer their products, including fresh and prepared foods, local produce, and crafts.

  • Reading Terminal Market’s  prepared-food merchants are offering a special $7 Meal Deal for breakfast and lunch options. To take advantage, get a Meal Deal card at participating merchants’ stalls. inline-graphic-1.gif

Anchor for JumpAnchor for Jump

Beiler’s Bakery in the Reading Terminal Market specializes in homemade Amish sticky buns, cakes, pies, apple fritters, donuts, bread, rolls, cookies, muffins, and shoofly pie. 

Corporation Market Reading Terminal
Anchor for JumpAnchor for Jump

Cousins Roger Bassett (left) and Michael Strange, great-great grandsons of company founder Lewis Bassett, now run Bassetts Ice Cream at its original stand in Philadelphia’s Reading Terminal Market. 

Corporation Market Reading Terminal

Interactive Graphics

Video

NOTE:
Citing articles are presented as examples only. In non-demo SCM6 implementation, integration with CrossRef’s "Cited By" API will populate this tab (http://www.crossref.org/citedby.html).
Related Articles
Articles