Walking into the bustling throng of Reading Terminal Market shoppers and neon lights can be quite the rush. Which direction to go? What to taste first?
Row after row of vendors — 72 in all — serve the best that Philadelphia has to offer, amidst a continuous hum of tastes and smells. Dating back to 1893, the market has served Philly residents and tourists from all over the world, everything from Pennsylvania Dutch baked goodies and Filipino spaghetti, to Thai salmon curry and classic Philly roast pork sandwiches.
The noise and buzz of the market can be overwhelming. The collection of restaurants and businesses (many family owned) at Reading Terminal is in constant flux, so we’ve put together this comprehensive guide to every single vendor and what they have to offer.
Jump to a category:
Bassetts Ice Cream
As buzzy out-of-towners Jeni’s and Van Leeuwen’s set up shop in Philadelphia, there might be a freezer case full of premium ice creams out there but locals still line up for the 40 flavors dipped from the marble counter on the market’s 12th Street side. Particularly for the vanilla. The fifth and sixth generation of L.D. Bassett’s descendants run what is the oldest scoop shop in America, which even predates the market. (It started in a shop near Independence Hall.)
You may have thought that Beiler’s (say it “bye-lers”) always sold doughnuts in the market’s northwest corner, amid the aroma of Glick’s Rib Shack across the aisle. But it haswas only been a decade since Alvin Beiler and sons Keith and Kevin, who made them for the market’s Pennsylvania Dutch festival, gave in to public demand to devote half of a stall to them. The rest of the stall has sold salads and pickles since 1984; across another aisle is a Beiler’s bakery selling whoopie pies, sticky buns, and all sorts of homespun goods.
📞 717-278-8986, 📷 @beilersdoughnuts
Famous 4th Street Cookie Company
Step through the 12th Street doors on the Filbert Street side and you’re greeted by the aroma of hot cookies, a market staple since 1978. Fans of the best-selling chocolate chip and oatmeal raisin can appreciate that Brian and Tina Phillips, who took over in 2016, have not changed a thing except for the pricing: They’re now sold by the cookie instead of by the pound.
Flying Monkey Bakery
Center Court, the wide aisle with seating in the middle that’s lined with savory options such as Molly Malloy’s, Hunger Burger, and Spataro’s, gets a sweet balance from Elizabeth Halen’s bakery, which opened in 2010. It’s all real time and interactive, as Halen and crew seem to sell their wares as soon as they make them — particularly the generously appointed whoopie pies, available in basic and seasonal flavors — and it’s the place for an occasion cake.
The folks behind Original Turkey and Bassetts Ice Cream run Market Bakery. Stock up on bagels and sandwiches, or swing by for fresh loaves of challah, seeded rye, or sourdough, among others.
📞 215-925-4787, 🌐 themarketbakeryrtm.com
You can find folks picking out their perfect pretzel as early as 8 a.m. at this soft pretzel stand. Pretzels come in the regular buttery variety, of course, in addition to cinnamon, garlic, sour cream and onion, and more. You can also get pretzel roll ups (like a hot dog in a pretzel bun).
Mueller Chocolate Co.
Since 1980, this family-owned chocolatier has been known for their treats with a sense of humor, particularly their anatomically-correct chocolate human lungs, hearts, and ears. Don’t miss the multicolored display cases stuffed to the brim with pretzels, clusters, cookies, fruit, marshmallows, and more.
Sweet as Fudge Candy Shoppe
All of the classic candy and sweets you can imagine can be found at this spot, which prides itself on its collection of retro penny candies (licorice twists, gumdrops, jelly beans, and more), in addition to its namesake — creamy, decadent fudge.
Head to Sweet Nina’s for all things pudding. From its signature classic banana pudding to creative variations on the base with strawberry, limon coconut, and other seasonal flavors.
Sweet T’s Bakery
Sweet potato desserts are the draw at this Black-owned bakery where you can pick up sweet potato cake, sweet potato cheese cake, and a classic sweet potato pie. Pies come in individual serving and full family-satisfying portions.
📞 267-319-1819, 🌐 sweettsbakery.co
Termini Brothers Bakery
Termini Brothers Bakery has been serving made-from-scratch Italian cookies and cakes for more than 100 years. You can visit any of the Termini locations (including the one in Reading Terminal) to pick up their beloved pignoli cookie, crumbly biscotti, coconut macarons, a classic cannoli, and more.
Four Seasons Juice Bar
If you’re looking for an alternative to coffee, head to this juice bar for a midday pick-me-up. Opt for one of the four house combinations of fruit and veg, or make your own with ingredients like carrot, lemon, wheatgrass, and kale.
Old City Coffee
If you need to fuel up for your day, Old City Coffee has a variety of caffeinated beverages: classic coffee, lattes, cappuccinos, black tea, and more. They also have herbal teas if you’re looking for something without caffeine. You can also pick up fresh roasted beans for your at-home coffee needs.
Really Reel Ginger
Juices made with fresh ginger are the draw at this shop, created by owner Iliyaas Muhammad to add some drinks with actual ginger in them to grocery store shelves. Juices come in four options: ginger lemon and mint, hibiscus ginger lemon and mint, tamarind ginger and mint, and baobab and ginger.
Pick up a hot or iced tea to enjoy while strolling through the market, or shop loose leaf teas in varieties including orange black tea, bourbon vanilla black tea, chai rooibos, and spiced plum herbal tea.
📞 215-629-0988, 🌐 readingterminalmarket.org/merchant/tea-leaf
Giunta’s Prime Shop
Veteran butcher Rob Passio, who took over the stand from Charles Giunta in 2014, deals in beef, lamb, poultry, veal, and pork. Passio is expected to take on a partner for a new venture nearby that will expand his selection of prepared items that can be popped into a slow cooker, grill, or oven.
📞 215-627-6175, 🌐 readingterminalmarket.org/merchant/giuntas-prime-shop, 📷 @giuntasprimeshop
In the market since 1916, and now run by third-generation brothers Steve and Dean Frankenfield, this stand — behind racks of chicken eggs (double-yolk eggs, too!) — sources common items such as chicken and turkey, as well as harder-to-find birds such as goose, duck, squab, pheasant, and quail.
📞 215-922-7589, 🌐 readingterminalmarket.org/merchant/godshalls-poultry
Golden Fish Market
At this market fishmonger, you’ll find a fresh bounty of whole and fileted seafood, shrimp, and locally harvested shellfish. You can also find picnic-worthy prepared foods, like cooked lobster or crawfish, along with seasonal specialities.
John Yi Fish Market
Under a splashy neon sign proclaiming “Eat Fish Live Longer” is one of the market’s older stands (from 1974), run for nearly all that time by Suzi Kim, who came to the United States as a piano teacher and fell into the seafood business. She later opened Ardmore Seafood on the Main Line. The counters brim with all manner of fish and seafood, live lobster, prepared items (such as crabcakes), and cooked and uncooked. Kim also is a partner with sushi chef Yong Kim (of Bluefin restaurant) on Umi Seafood & Sushi, a few aisles away.
📞 215-923-0487, 🌐 readingterminalmarket.org/merchant/john-yi-fish-market
L. Halteman Family Country Foods
The family-owned Pennsylvania Dutch-style butcher shop has been around since 1918, with a full line of meats in its gleaming cases, including prime boneless short ribs and oxtails. It’s a sibling to Riehl’s Deli & Cheese Shop, which recently moved to the market’s east wall.
📞 215-925-3206, 🌐 readingterminalmarket.org/merchant/l-halteman-family-country-foods, 📷 @haltemanfamilymeats
Martin’s Specialty Sausages
Martin Giunta, who opened in 1986, is a third-generation butcher on both sides of his family. It’s a full-line shop known particularly for sausage, especially chicken and turkey sausages. If the Giunta name seems familiar, that’s because his brother Charles is a New Jersey sausage maker who sold that eponymous stand in 2014.
A Taste of Spain
One of the market’s newer vendors, Vanesa Peredo and Alejandro Fernandez were awarded a permanent spot in Reading Terminal after winning the market’s Fresh Food Fight in 2019. Today, you can visit the stand for a menu of Spanish tapas, a selection of pantry items from Spain, and iberico ham that’s hand sliced on-site.
Even before charcuterie and cheese boards were cool, this jam-packed outlet has delivered an enviable assortment of cured meats, cheeses, and accoutrements. Need a primer in Bleu D’Auvergne, Saint André, or St. Augur? Is Shropshire truly the Stilton you crave? John and Diana Morgan and staff have the answers.
📞 215-351-7412, 🌐 downtown-cheese.business.site
Iovine Brothers Produce
Philly’s complete produce stand, occupying the entire southeast corner of the market, is also a family affair. Vinnie Iovine went to work for the predecessor, Ro & Son’s, in 1989 and bought the shop in 1994. When Jimmy joined him a year later, they changed the name. (All told, more than a dozen Iovines have worked at the market.) The brothers also operate Molly Malloy’s, the bar-restaurant next door, and have built up a business that includes fresh-squeezed juices along one perimeter.
Jonathan Best Gourmet Grocer
There are dozens and dozens of hard-to-find grocery items within this Reading Terminal Market stand. Shop for rare olives, interesting spreads, unique spices, and much more.
Kauffman’s Lancaster County Produce
Amos Kauffman and his father, Benuel, bring a bit of Pennsylvania Dutch life to the city at this seasonal produce stand. Shop tomatoes at the height of summer, or crisp asparagus and juicy berries in spring — but don’t miss the jarred and pickled goodies, too, like fruit and nut butters, jams, and krauts.
Kensington Food Company
Veteran-owned and operated Kensington Food Company is new to market, specializing in specialty olive oil and vinegar products. Stock up on everything from truffle-infused salt or honey, to relish and imported Italian pastas.
Lancaster County Dairy
Find the freshest local dairy — creamy buttermilk, fresh eggs, rich butters, and even raw milk — at this spot, which sells goods from local farms dotting the rolling hills of Lancaster County. You can also stock up on a rainbow of fresh juices, their most popular product.
This Black-owned grocery store is known for stocking fresh and affordable produce, from the basics to items like yuca and daikon. Keep an eye out for specially discounted bags of fruit and vegetables.
📞 215-922-1353, 🌐 facebook.com/okproducertm
Pennsylvania General Store
Julie Holahan gathers Pennsylvania’s bounty (chocolates and other candies, snacks, gifts, and souvenirs) at her general store on the Filbert Street side, which she’s carried on since the untimely death of her husband, Michael, in 2016.
Riehl Deli and Cheese Shop
Choose between thinly sliced ham, turkey, chicken, and Lancaster County made cheeses at this popular market deli. While they have the classics covered, you can also pick up a cheese spread made with bacon or caramelized onions.
📞 215-800-1478, 🌐 readingterminalmarket.org/merchant/the-riehl-deli-and-cheese-shop, 📷 @riehlsdeli
The Head Nut
Stocked to the gills with bulk dry goods (grains, nuts, flour, and spices), Head Nut is a home cook’s dream destination. Besides stocking pantry essentials, the shop also offers a wide range of artisan hot sauces, barbecue supplies, even canning and curing salts.
Beck’s Cajun Café
Chef Bill Beck imports Zapp’s potato chips and Abita soda to accompany the po boys, jambalaya, gumbo, and beignets at his popular New Orleans tribute, open for breakfast and lunch. Since the market discourages cheesesteaks on every menu, Beck’s big-sandwich entry is called The Trainwreck — steak, salami, Andouille sausage, cheese, and onions.
By George! Pizza, Pasta, and Cheesesteaks
George and Kim Mickel have owned and operated By George! since 1990 (and also own Hunger Burger elsewhere in the market). You’ll find pizzas by the slice, pastas, sandwiches and more, but the stand also has an anti-hunger mission: For every cheesesteak sold, the owners donate the equivalent of one meal to a number of organizations, including No Kid Hungry and Philabundance.
Careda’s Caribbean Cuisine
Known for its large portions, Careda’s serves Caribbean favorites like oxtail and jerk or curried chicken, goat, and shrimp. All platters include rice with peas or greens — wash it all down with some sorrel, the refreshing red hibiscus drink famous in the islands.
📞 267-592-1446, 🌐 caredas-caribbean-cuisine.business.site 📷 @caredascar
Carmen’s Famous Italian Hoagies and Cheesesteaks
Family-owned since 1983, Carmen’s serves the classics. Check out the Franklin, an assemblage of American and Philadelphia cream cheese, or the Kamikaze, made with hot peppers, pepperjack cheese and hot sauce. (Vegetarians can snag a seitan cheesesteak, too.)
Dienner’s Bar-B-Q Chicken
Winner winner, chicken Dienner? For 42 years, chicken has been the draw at this stall from Anthony Dienner and family tucked along the Filbert Street wall next to one of the two Old City Coffee outlets. Rotisserie chicken, smoked wings, and “San Antonio” wings (lightly fried with a spicy coating) are the way to go.
📞 215-925-8755, 🌐 diennersbarbeque.com
The slicers whir and the chopping blocks never seem to stop clopping at this destination in the center of the market. Joe Nicolosi, whose great-grandfather started as a butcher and whose dad, Tommy, opened elsewhere at the Terminal in 1980, delivers classic Italian sandwiches, such as beef brisket, roast pork, and meatballs.
Down Home Diner
Virginia-bred Jack McDavid, who also created Jack’s Firehouse in Fairmount, opened the diner in 1987 as a lunch counter on the Filbert side, later expanding with a dining room next door. Jack’s son Jason now runs the unfussy joint, known for big portions of hearty, locally sourced fare. If you need an intro to scrapple, this is it.
Dutch Eating Place
Apple dumplings wrapped in plastic await a drizzle of cool cream at the Esh family’s counter on the Filbert Street end of the market. Here, tourists and locals sit side by side for sumptuous plates of blueberry pancake and apple-cinnamon French toasts for breakfast and hot turkey sandwiches, burgers, and other heartiness for lunch.
📞 215-922-0425, 🌐 readingterminalmarket.org/merchant/dutch-eating-place, 📷 @thedutcheatingplace
El Merkury at the Market
Sofia Deleon first brought Guatemalan and Central American street food to Center City in 2018 with El Merkury. The market location sells fresh tortillas, pupusas, elote, and made-to-order churros as well as salsas and pickles for dining in the market or at home.
Fox and Son Fancy Corndogs
Owners Rebecca Foxman and Kevin Kwan are Culinary Institute of America and Cornell University alums bringing 100% gluten-free fair favorites to Philly. You’ll find sweet potato battered corn dogs (topped with chorizo and cilantro lime sour cream) and chili cheese and scallion corndogs, alongside cheese curds, hand-cut fries, and funnel cakes.
Since 1982, this comfort food spot serves an extensive menu of stick-to-your-ribs classics: barbecue wings, burgers, hot dogs, and various styles of cornbread.
Glick’s Rib Shack
Formally “The Rib Stand,” what you see is what you get — slow-cooked spare ribs, baby back ribs, and a boneless rib sandwich. If you don’t fear a midafternoon nap, snag the lunch combo with two sides, choosing between coleslaw, green beans, baked mac and cheese, or crispy potato wedges.
📞 215-925-3155, 🌐 facebook.com/glicksribshack
Based in Lancaster County, Hatville Deli has been owned and operated by the Esh Family for more than 40 years. At lunch, snag a counter seat and dig into their Amish-style specialties like sweet Lebanon bologna with smoked cheddar or the corned beef with coleslaw and Russian dressing.
📞 215-925-5065, 🌐 hatvilledeli.com
Hershel’s East Side Deli
Steve Safern, an engineer whose Uncle Hershel worked at Katz’s Deli for four decades, made a career change in 2006, delivering some of the region’s most prized hand-carved pastrami, corned beef, and turkey sandwiches to a constant line of customers on Center Court. You can settle into one of the eight counter stools on the opposite side (across from the fine LUHV Vegan Deli) to kibitz with the counter folks, or inspire drooling at a table nearby.
The folks behind By George! also operate this burger counter, with the same mission-driven anti-hunger ethos. Alongside burgers, you’ll find salads, lobster mac and cheese, milkshakes, and more.
Kamal’s Middle Eastern Specialties
This spot has been owned and operated by Kamal Albarouki and his wife, Esra, since 1981. Here, you’ll find from-scratch cooking, from shawarma and a bevy of mezze, to dried chickpeas and fava beans being prepped for this stand’s fresh falafel, crafted daily. The stand is also known for its fresh, technicolor juices and smoothies.
📞 215-925-1511, 🌐 kamalsmiddleeasterncuisine.com
Little Thai Market
One of the market’s longest but briskest-moving lunch lines? That would be the one that snakes around the corner at Seangsupan Marsh’s Thai stand. The steam table with soups and pad Thai are fine, but the salmon curry is a bestselling dish: a piece of fish in a curry broth, served with steamed broccoli and rice. There’s a small grocery section, as well.
📞 215-873-0231, 🌐 readingterminalmarket.org/merchant/little-thai-market
LUHV Vegan Deli
Meat-eaters don’t get to have all the fun. At this deli counter, you’ll find vegan takes on classic sandwiches. The chickpea “tuna” salad hoagie or nut-based caprese sandwich number among the cold options, while a hot seitan Reuben and vegan corned beef are favorites. Breakfast, soup, and sides are also available.
Ma Lessie’s Chicken and Waffles
After the unexpected passing of soul-food entrepreneur KeVen Parker in 2021, his former manager Perry Ison, and Ison’s cousin Stacy McCarthy — who had started a soul-food truck after he left in 2019 — put their own stamp on the stand, drawing lines not only for the mac and cheese, turkey chops, and fried chicken but savory waffles and fruit-infused waffles.
Take a break from shopping at this pub in the center of all the market action. Grab a pint and watch a game on the TV, or try the extremely, limited edition Instagramable hand tarts as big as your head — recent flavors include a Harry Potter-themed butter beer, cannoli-filled, and fig pistachio.
Nanee (or nani) is “grandmother,” and Sabina and Donish Ahmad cook homey South Asian dishes inspired by his maternal grandmother, Hamida (who was born to wealth in India but moved to Pakistan after the Partition). The stand caters particularly to vegans, vegetarians, the gluten-free crowd, and those who eat halal meat. Top sellers are chicken tikka masala and salmon curry, and there’s a new kofta made with Impossible burger.
This busy counter spot is a lunch go-to, serving up generously portioned gyro sandwiches sliced from the spit and stuffed into a fluffy pita. You’ll also find made-from-scratch dolmas, souvlaki, and some Greek American interpretations, like buffalo chicken or chicken caesar souvlaki.
Pearl’s Oyster Bar
Dave Braunstein’s parents, Dani and Lisa, bought this simple lunch counter on the 12th and Filbert Streets corner in 1981. Dave starts the day with big breakfasts, such as French toast and BEC sandwiches, segueing into sandwiches and fried platters (like the dozen jumbo fried shrimp deal for $20 it ran in March) as the day goes on.
📞 215-964-9792, 🌐 readingterminalmarket.org/merchant/pearls-oyster-bar, 📷 @pearlsoysterbar
Crêpes stuffed with apples and honey, nutella and banana, or butter and sugar make up some of the sweet offerings at Profi’s Crêperie, while options like pesto, feta, and chicken, ot smoked salmon and dill make up the savory side of the menu.
One of two Chinese restaurants in the market, Sang Kee — an offshoot of Michael Chow’s popular restaurant nearby — is the place that many children will remember as “the place with all the ducks.” Countermen chop up the ducks to order all day. Feeling under the weather? The No. 5, labeled triple dumpling soup, will fix you up in no time.
At this Chinese counter, you’ll find cooks working two giant woks to build generously portioned Szechuan dishes. Classics include juicy potstickers, vegetarian-friendly plates, and big noodle dishes.
📞 215-351-9868, 🌐 readingterminalmarket.org/merchant/shanghai-gourmet
For a taste of classic Philly, book it to this sandwich vendor around lunch. Order your cheesesteak with any of the standard cheeses — American, provolone or whiz — or with onion, peppers, or mushrooms. Not in the mood for a big gut buster? Spataro’s also trades in solid hoagies, corned beef, or roasted turkey.
📞 215-925-6833, 🌐 readingterminalmarket.org/merchant/spataros-cheesesteaks
For 21 years, Kathy Mirano helped run the market’s Olympia Gyro stand. But when work dried up in 2020, her boyfriend, John Karmanski, suggested that she make money by selling her Filipino desserts. This led her to approach market management, which suggested that she expand her menu. And she did, setting up a counter to serve such homespun dishes as tapsilog and tocilog for breakfast, and lumpia, Filipino spaghetti, palabok, and sisig for dinner.
The Original Turkey
Story goes that David Bassett of the Bassetts Ice Cream stand asked his son Roger to fix him a turkey sandwich one day in 1983. Roger bought turkey, produce, and bread at the market, roasted the turkey in a portable oven, and created what became the Original Turkey, a Bassetts-branded shop that later started franchising. The original Original stand is still at Reading Terminal Market, on Center Court. Signature items are carved turkey platters and all kinds of turkey sandwiches, like celebrating Thanksgiving and Black Friday every day.
Umi Seafood and Sushi
A partnership with Suzy Kim from nearby John Yi Fish Market and sushi chef Yong Kim (of Bluefin Restaurant), Umi Seafood and Sushi Bar offers a menu with more than 50 prepared seafood dishes and 100-plus varieties of premium sushi, sashimi, and maki rolls. Cooked dishes like lobster mac and cheese, crabcakes, and even vegetables are available to take home.
📞 267-324-3105, 🌐 umiseafoodandsushi.com
Find handmade sterling silver jewelry created by silversmith Charita Powell at her popular stand. You can also shop handmade jewelry and other accessories made by artisans from around the world.
All of the products that Darren Sausser sells at his Bee Natural shop are made from honey and wax from his own beehives. Shop beeswax candles, local honey, beeswax skincare items, fresh bee pollen, and more.
City Kitchen at Reading Terminal Market
You can learn to cook at City Kitchen, a demonstration kitchen within the market. Stop by for hands-on cooking classes ranging from sushi-making classes to kid’s cooking classes, or rent the space out for a private cheffy event. Info about upcoming classes can be found on City Kitchen’s ticketleap page.
Contessa’s French Linens
Pick up kitchen towels and table linens at Contessa’s French Linens, in addition to other decorative items for your kitchen and dining space.
At De’Village, Watson and Joycelyn Parks sell sculptures and decor imported from Kenya, in addition to other pieces of African fiber art, jewelry, and accessories.
Healing herbal ingredients and calming herbal creations are the focal point at Herbiary. Here, shop loose-leaf teas, bulk herbs for cooking, herb-forward essential oils and more.
Little Marrakesh Bazaar
Wallets, decorative boxes, and handcarved bowls are among the offerings at Little Marrakesh Bazaar, which sells a range of products created and inspired by Moroccan artists.
It’s hard to miss the bouquets of fresh flowers at Market Blooms near the 12th St. entrance of Reading Terminal Market. Shop pre-packaged bouquets, which cost between $10 and $20, make your own, or work with the staff to create a custom arrangement.
📞 215-625-6667, 🌐 marketblooms.com
Pennsylvania Libations Philadelphia
The only store of its kind specializing in Pennsylvania-made producers, this shop sells goods from more than 20 different distilleries, wineries, cideries, and meaderies. Sample brandies or other products at one of the regular tastings, or just swing by to pick up cocktails-to-go or bar supplies. Online shopping and delivery are also available.
Russ Brown Photography
Self-taught photographer Russ Brown photographs famous Philadelphia city scenes like the LOVE sculpture, the skyline, and Elfreth’s Alley, and sells his works at this gift and souvenir stand.
📞 610-564-7697, 🌐 russbrownphotography.com
The Sustainable Farm by Custom Cuisine
The skincare and beauty products sold at the Sustainable Farm by Custom Cuisine are made from local herbs and ingredients, creating a line of products that are “farm-to-skincare.”