A Taste of Philadelphia

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by Liam Hetherington on November 13, 2011

The Reading Railroad may have ceased to exist, its terminus may no longer handle trains, but the indoor market beneath is thriving and is well worth an investigation.

The Reading Terminal Market in downtown Philadelphia has been in existence since 1892. It has been spruced up a little since those days and is now home to over one hundred stall holders with a wide and impressive range of merchandise. Rebecca and I were more than impressed by all the different foods and beverages on display. Tanks of live lobsters nestled next to drawers of coffee beans or displays of hand-made chocolate truffles, artisanal bakers crowded next to Pennsylvania winemakers, tubs of multicoloured sweets, pretzels and breakfast cereals were piled high on shining metal racks. An entire section of the market is devoted to merchants from the Lancaster County ‘Pennsylvania Dutch’ (aka Amish) communities. This stood in darkness on our Monday visit as they only open their stalls Wednesday to Saturday.

As well as being interesting for a nosey at the stalls, the produce and the crowds, Reading Terminal Market is a superb place to grab lunch. You can stock up for picnics here, but we thought we would get some fast food. And for fast food in Philadelphia there is only real option: Philly Cheesesteak. These are hefty hoagie rolls stuffed with heaps of thin-sliced flash-grilled beef and onions, salad and topped with meltable cheese – a surefire dgut-buster. We found our way to Spataro’s and soon worked out the drill from watching other punters. Specify whether you wanted your cheesesteak with or without onions, with or without salad and with provolone or processed cheese on top – and have cash. I went for everything and the processed for the full experience. I handed over my cash while the cook behind her sizzled away steak on the griddle, spatula constantly in motion. My cheesesteak, when it came, was steaming hot. We found seats just across the way and tucked in.

Verdict: good! Despite the size even Rebecca was able to finish hers. I’m not sure that a cheesesteak a day would enhance a person’s life expectancy much, but for a one-off treat it was a perfect taste of Philadelphia amongst the bustle and hubbub of the Reading Terminal Market.
Reading Terminal Market
12th And Arch Streets
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 19107
+1 215 922 2317


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