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Tambayan serves Filipino food at Reading Terminal Market, from former gyro-maker Kathy Mirano

When work dried up, Kathy Mirano decided to honor her father's memory with Tambayan, a Filipino lunch counter — her 'American dream.'

Kathy Mirano co-owns Tambayan at Reading Terminal Market.
Kathy Mirano co-owns Tambayan at Reading Terminal Market.Read moreMICHAEL KLEIN / Staff

Filipino foods have come to Reading Terminal Market at a stand called Tambayan, and it’s all because of the pandemic.

For 21 years, Kathy Mirano helped run the popular Olympia Gyro at the market. When work dried up in 2020, Mirano said, “my boyfriend said to me, ‘You’re good at cooking. Why don’t you do something to make some extra money?’ ”

Mirano, 46, said she approached a friend, a doctor who works at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, and offered Filipino desserts, which also made their way to the hospital’s Filipino nurses. “I went there and let them try my cakes — maybe I could offer them for catering. The next day, I had like 25 orders.”

And so Runner’s Sweets N Treats — the name comes from Mirano’s passion for ultramarathon running — was born. Many of the products use ube, the purple yam common in the Philippines, and her running friends also became early customers.

Then her partner, John Karmanski, suggested that she go all in with breakfast through dinner foods and to reach out to market management.

Tagalog for “a place to hang out,” Tambayan soft-opened July 18 in the spot off the center court seating area formerly occupied by Wursthaus Schmitz, and is a few aisles from the gyro stand.

Mirano offers counter seating with takeout options, so you can arrive at breakfast for the egg-and-rice specialities tapsilog, tocilog, and longsilog, or visit at lunch/late afternoon for such dishes as fresh or fried lumpia (spring rolls); Filipino spaghetti topped with sliced hot dogs; pancit; ube fries topped with Parmesan cheese; and pork barbecue skewers.

Desserts include halo-halo, ube jam, and cake rolls. Hours are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.

This is really the American dream for me,” Mirano said. ”I always wanted to have a restaurant, and it’s in memory of my father [Jhun], an engineer who loved to cook and he was always so proud of me. This is for him.”