A recent weekend get-away to Philadelphia turned into a serendipitous introduction to the wonder that is the Reading Terminal Market, which opened its doors in 1892. A sight to behold and an aroma to savor, it’s a stop not to be missed. Shops and food counters selling everything from cheeses and meats to fresh herbs and spices fill the space. The sounds of vendors offering samples of their food, buyers chatting amongst themselves about which cheese to select, and friends laughing over the entrée of Alligator Gumbo they’ve purchased at Beck’s Cajun Counter seems to greet you as soon as you walk through the doors. Aisle after aisle is lined with fresh fruit, vegetables, fish, and homemade chocolates.
In addition to being a market for all sorts of locally grown foods and spices, the Reading Terminal Market also welcomes the Pennsylvania Dutch community weekly from Wednesday to Saturday to sell their produce, meats, and baked goods. It is the baked goods that are the most captivating, especially the fresh-made pretzels, which are hot, buttery, and salted to balanced perfection.
On the way out the door, stop by Bassett’s ice cream counter, which was the first ice cream company in the country, and opened its doors at the Reading Terminal Market in 1855. Rumor has it the first flavor offered at the store was tomato. Yum.
Curious to hear about what local gems you've discovered during your end of summer travels,
-Domestic in the District