Reading Terminal Market has bounced back in a big way after a troubling two years. We’ll take you on a tour. Also this week: How the pandemic changed the Philly dining scene, a rundown of nearly three dozen restaurants on the way in the next 90 days, an update to our list of best pizzas, and word of outdoor restaurants reopening for the season. And I share some good news about the popular bakery Artisan Boulangerie Patissier.
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Let’s start with a quiz.
Contributor Ellie Krieger offers a recipe for a sumptuous spaghetti dish that uses a novel ingredient, which is:
D) peanut M&M’s
Click here for the answer, and get a good idea for dinner.
Our guide to Reading Terminal Market
Reading Terminal Market is everything Philly.
It’s a hodgepodge of heritage, a collection of cultures, and a melting pot of merchants beside a busy train station beneath the Pennsylvania Convention Center and on the doorstep of Chinatown, almost smack-dab in the middle of town.
It’s now equal parts food hall and, as the name says, market. Come for breakfast, a snack, or lunch; buy provisions for dinner.
Join my colleagues and me as we take a long look at this institution, which has survived roof leaks, world wars, and now pandemics (plural) to serve the city and visitors. RTM is back.
In this presentation:
The pain of the pandemic, which turned the market into a ghost town, as recounted by staff writer Mike Newall. “In the beginning, I wasn’t thinking about the longevity of the business,” Rebecca Foxman of Fox & Son Fair Foods recalled. “I didn’t want to die. I didn’t want my staff to die.” 🔒
The 25 essential vendors — from Bassetts (which has been dipping ice cream since the Terminal opened in 1892) to Tambayan (which opened in 2021, selling homey Filipino fare) — that define Reading Terminal Market. 🔒
A complete guide to all 70-plus vendors at Reading Terminal Market. Yes, there are two Old City Coffee stands.
What’s next? New businesses are on the way, including bakeries specializing in khachapuri and bialys. (Now I’m craving lox.)
Our 12 favorite breakfasts at the market. We won’t judge if you order that “healthful” veggie omelet with a side of scrapple.
Seven classic Philly foods to try at the market. Whoopie pies? Shoofly pie? Both?!
Where to park near the market, assuming you don’t arrive by public transit.
Have a minute? Visual journalist Tyger Williams rolls some dandy videos capturing the market and its vendors at their best:
How the pandemic changed the restaurant industry
In the second of two articles about the pandemic’s effects on the Philadelphia-area restaurant industry, my colleague Jenn Ladd describes several changes, including the rising role of social media, a reimagination of outdoor dining, and even some “pandemic perks,” such as the access to high-quality groceries.
Read Part 1: How COVID-19 changed the way business is done. For instance: The customer isn’t always right.
Nearly three dozen new restaurants are on the way
Even though the crisis is far from over for the dining industry, entrepreneurs keep opening new restaurants. I’ve tallied up about three dozen of them due to open in the Philadelphia area in the next 90 days. There’s even one place, opening next month, that will allow patrons to order drinks with a magic wand. Bibbidi-bobbidi-(restaurant)-BOOm!
There’s still a week left for those observing Ramadan
Iftar is a deeply communal experience, an invitation to gather and rejoice in the breaking of the Ramadan fast. Home to over 270,000 Muslims, the Philadelphia region experienced a reclamation of these traditions this year, writes contributor Aliya Z. Khabir. She highlights some local restaurants offering a space to gather with family and community, to break the daily fast, and observe a sacred tradition of breaking bread, together.
What rights do restaurant workers have?
If you are one of the 79,000 people employed in the city’s food industry, staff writer Michelle Myers is here to tell you what you need to know about your rights as a restaurant worker.
This thing of beauty is the Brooklyn-style hot sausage and long hot relish pizza from Hook & Master in Kensington, one of our favorite pizzerias. Cheesy, saucy, loaded with toppings: Our updated list of top pizzerias is hot out of the oven.
Here’s an early look at the stunning redesign of Positano Coast by Aldo Lamberti at Second and Walnut Streets. Lamberti, who opened Pasta Blitz at that location in 1991, brought in Pietro Del Vaglio, the Italian designer who created Postino Coast in 2005, to refresh it. Del Vaglio came over in 2019 with a team of woodworkers to take measurements. By late 2019 and into 2020, handmade items were built over there and shipped to Philadelphia — where they stayed in crates. The pandemic kept the craftsmen in Italy until last fall.
Artisan Boulangerie Patissier (1218 Mifflin St.), a James Beard Foundation semifinalist (2016) noted for its baguettes, will reopen Thursday, April 21 at 7 a.m. Owners Amanda Eap and Andre Chin shut down the bakery back in October when both faced illness. They recently opened an ABP location in downtown Media that’s managed by Eap’s brother. Hours: 7 a.m.-3 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Cool benefit is planned May 4, benefiting Metropolitan Area Neighborhood Nutrition Alliance (MANNA), at its kitchen, 420 N. 20th St. Chefs including Yehuda Sichel of Huda, Ange Branca of Kampar Kitchen, Stephanie “Chefanie” Nicole Willis of Everybody Eats Philly, Diana Widjojo of Hardena, Eli Collins of a.kitchen, Randy Rucker of River Twice, and Scott Calhoun and Dave Feola of Ember & Ash will do the food. Then, Nok Suntaranon of Kalaya, Kurt Evans of Everybody Eats Philly, and Jen Carroll of Carroll Couture Cuisine will join chef Eli Kulp on stage to record an episode of his podcast, The CHEF Radio. Marisa Magnatta will emcee. Details here.
Ukrainian-theme fund-raisers have been popping up everywhere. If you caught critic Craig LaBan’s recent review of The Choice (845 Lancaster Ave., Bryn Mawr), you saw that it’s owned by two Ukrainian families. Chef-partner Volodymyr Hyvel is offering pints of his borscht to go, with proceeds bound for Ukrainian relief. Vlad also generously provided the recipe, if you want to make it at home. And Schlesinger’s Deli (1521 Locust St.) is selling a sandwich called the Zelenskyy — a triple-decker jaw-stretching jawn with 14 ounces of corned beef, 14 ounces of pastrami, a half-cup of coleslaw, and Thousand Island dressing. Deli owner (and City Councilmember) Allan Domb is donating all proceeds from the $39 sandwich to the Wild Dove Foundation, created by Ukrainian Temple University student Kateryna Koshevoy. It sends money to friends and family members in Ukraine for food, water, and supplies.
Seasonal outdoor restaurants are coming back. A sampling:
The Garden at Cherry Street Pier (121 N. Columbus Blvd.) has reopened under a new chef, Miguel Angel Hernandez Mota, whose Mexi-Philly menu includes birria tacos.
Morgan’s Pier (221 N. Columbus Blvd.) returns at 4 p.m. Thursday, April 21.
Uptown Beer Garden (15th Street and JFK Boulevard) returns at 4 p.m. Friday, April 29.
Liberty Point, which promises to be Philadelphia’s largest outdoor restaurant (it’s at the Independence Seaport Museum, at the foot of Walnut Street at the Delaware River), is fixing to open in very early May.
I’m hearing “June” for the still-unnamed Stephen Starr cafe on the plaza outside of the Comcast Center (1701 JFK Blvd.).
And while you’re at it, check out Jillian Wilson’s list of the biggest outdoor bar and restaurant spaces in Philadelphia.
What you’ve been eating this week
Deliciousness abounds out there. The peripatetic @jeffandlisaeatpizza found all sorts of goodness surrounding the Cubano and (perfect) fries from Letty’s Tavern in Kennett Square, while the Greek salad with grilled shrimp at The Gatehouse Navy Yard hit the spot for @theycallhimhollywood. Share your food! Send photos to me on Instagram.