If you only have time to visit one place in Philadelphia, the iconic Reading Terminal Market should top your list. Since 1893, it has gathered the best of Philadelphia in one place. History, architecture, people-watching, shopping, and delicious destinations can all be checked off your list. As one of the country’s oldest (and best) indoor markets, the Reading Terminal Market has something for everyone. Here are some top picks for where to go, courtesy of our Philadelphia Coordinator and Hunt Host, Karen Stover.
A warm, fresh, buttery, soft pretzel is their twist on a Philadelphia classic. They are what all other soft pretzels should aspire to be. Even if I’m just passing quickly through the market, I still always make a point of getting a pretzel while I’m there—and you should too.
Bassett’s Ice Cream
Hound your friends to go here. They’ve been churning out great ice cream since 1861. With a menu of more than 40 flavors, you’re sure to find something to tickle your taste buds. A noteworthy choice is their decadent raspberry truffle ice cream on a sugar cone. Yum! Fun fact: Bassett’s is the first and last of the market’s original 1893 merchants, and they’re still run by the same family today. As the oldest ice cream company in the U.S. of A., you’re in for a treat with Bassett’s.
Termini Brothers Bakery
I love Termini Brothers Bakery. There, I said it. They are deservedly famous for their vast array of Sicilian sweet treats. Their marble cheesecake is the best I’ve ever had anywhere. Full stop. It is simply divine. Cannoli made fresh right in front of you is also unbeatable. It is so good, I get in trouble with my family if I don’t bring home a box. The crispy, sugar-dusted outer shell filled with creamy and sweet ricotta cheese and mini chocolate chips is my culinary happy place. If you haven’t tried it, you really should.
Dutch Eating Place
Belly up to this counter for a delicious Pennsylvania Dutch meal. Famous finds here include their rich chicken pot pie (which is more like amped-up chicken soup with noodle dumplings in gravy), warm apple dumplings, and sticky, sweet shoofly pie. Another winner is the cheeseburger special, which is a fresh ground beef patty on a homemade roll with hand-cut French fries and a fresh-squeezed lemonade. Once you taste the food, you’ll understand why they have a line waiting for a space at the counter. I wish I was there now. In fact, by the time you’re reading this, I might be!
Valley Shepherd Creamery and Meltkraft
What could be better than a grilled cheese restaurant that makes their own cheese? At this tasty spot in the market, you can enjoy a freshly cut wedge of one of their aged cheeses or indulge in a whimsically named special grilled cheese sandwich from Meltkraft. Fun offerings include the ‘Wicked ‘Wich,’ a gouda and roasted spiced pumpkin delight, and the ‘Truffle Shuffle,’ with truffle cheese, cremini mushrooms, toasted walnuts, and truffle oil. Talk about mouthwatering!
Before joining Watson Adventures in 2004, Karen Stover was a hotel concierge, a kite and toy store manager, and a writer and editor for medical publishers in the Philadelphia area.