On Thursday, Reading Terminal Market reaches a major milestone — its 125th anniversary. As it's one of the city's great meccas of delicious food, there's no way you shouldn't be planning to celebrate.
On its actual anniversary date, the market will host a Victorian-inspired "1893 Day" with people in period costumes, street performers, and merchants rolling back prices. Throughout the day, select vendors will ring a bell and offer customers special deals on signature items, with 1893 prices. Starting at 10:30 a.m., Filbert Street outside the terminal will fill with performers, including a brass band, barbershop quartet, organ grinder, penny-farthing bike riders, a stilt walker, and more.
The festivities continue with a giant, after-hours party on Saturday, featuring eats from 30-plus merchants, six live bands, and four open bars. But are a few days of celebrations enough? Not when it comes to honoring America's oldest continuously operating farmers' market. So we've created a weeklong itinerary to celebrate Reading Terminal Market.
Taste your way around the market starting at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Enjoy an all-you-can-eat spread from 30-plus market merchants. Multiple open bars will serve drinks during the four-hour party, and six live bands and a cabaret performance invite you out onto the dance floor. With up to 1,500 guests expected, be sure to purchase tickets in advance.
Sundays are for lounging over a late-morning meal, and at the Down Home Diner, one of the market's few sit-down spots, you can do just that. The diner, with its cozy, retro vibe, serves breakfast all day long. Choose from comfort foods like buttermilk pancakes, eggs and biscuits, and locally sourced scrapple. Afterward, swing by the Flying Monkey Bakery to pick up one of its creative whoopie pie creations (think cookies 'n' cream or oatmeal peanut butter) to take home, or, for a healthier ending, check out Kamal's Middle Eastern Specialties, a market staple churning out all types of fresh-squeezed fruit and veggie juices.
A week devoted to Reading Terminal Market wouldn't be complete without a trip to DiNic's, winner of the Travel Channel's "Best Sandwich in America" for its signature roast pork. Head there for lunch on Monday, a day no one has it together enough to pack a lunch, and enjoy an award-winning meal. Piled high with juicy, extra-thin slices of tender meat, and topped with provolone and broccoli rabe, the sandwich just might turn Monday into your most memorable day of the week.
Given that Reading Terminal Market closes at 6 p.m., making it your weeknight supermarket can be difficult. But as you're celebrating it all week long, you have a well-justified opportunity to skip out of work early and take advantage of its wealth of fresh groceries. With a variety of produce, meat, and dairy vendors, the market makes it easy to shop for all of your needs while supporting local suppliers. The Fair Food Farmstand sells items grown within 150 miles of Philadelphia. Other vendors, like Kaufman's Lancaster Country Produce, source seasonal produce from Amish farms across Lancaster County. Show up at 5 p.m. to give yourself time to wander around and see what inspires you. Then gather the ingredients you need to make a delicious dinner at home, sourced from the vendors that caught your eye.
Show up hungry for lunch or dinner and prepare to embark on a mini-trip around the globe. Want to try Peking duck? Head to the Hong Kong-inspired Sang Kee. In the mood for coconut cauliflower or chicken tikka masala? Nanee's Kitchen has you covered. Interested in sampling a sweet, Mediterranean treat? Visit Kamal's for raved-about baklava. The litany of options — which also includes gyros, soul food, pad Thai, Mexican tortas, and more — never seems to end at the market. Consider trying something new, or perhaps bring a friend and order dishes from multiple places to create an international spread.
Thursday has arrived — do you need another excuse to chow down on a doughnut? When Beiler's Bakery is an option, that answer is a definite no. There's often a line of hungry patrons wrapped around the bakery counter, but don't be discouraged. The wait time is typically short and gives you a moment to decide which of the many creative and decadent doughnut options you'll choose. Beyond maple bacon, popular flavors include Oreo, Nutella, and salted caramel, and the blueberry fritter always stands out as a crowd favorite. Afterward, swing by Boardroom Spirit's day cart to pick up some Reading Terminal Market anniversary vodka — you'll need it for Friday.
TGIF. Celebrate Friday and your final day of Reading Terminal Market week with Boardroom Spirit's new reserve vodka, designed for the market's 125th anniversary. At $19.99 a bottle, the vodka is available at Boardroom Spirits' day cart at the market Thursday through Sunday. If you followed the instructions above and planned ahead by picking up a bottle on Thursday, it's time to put it into action. Will you pour it into a Moscow mule, a vodka tonic, or perhaps in a coffee-inspired recipe? Part cold brew, part vodka, Boardroom Spirits has crafted a spirited take on a latte, designed to pair perfectly with a celebratory treat, like a slice of birthday cake or perhaps cannoli from Termini Bros.' stand.
If you go: Reading Terminal Market, 51 N. 12th St.; food and drink inside the market is pay-as-you-go; 215-922-2317; readingterminalmarket.org