It's the most wonderful day of the year

12th street signage for the Reading Terminal Market, July 27, 2011. ( David M Warren / Staff Photographer )

It's the day before Christmas, but the day before Thanksgiving is Reading Terminal Market General Manager Paul Steinke's favorite day of the year.

"That’s the day when the market, as a Thanksgiving shopping tradition and a food shopping tradition, is at its peak," Steinke said during our Leadership Agenda interview. "You have people from all over the city, coming in to pick up their turkey order, buy their vegetables, buy their cannolis and their pies, everything for the Thanksgiving table. The people are lined up at the doors at 8. When the doors are unlocked they go racing to get the first number at the turkey place."

Steinke said he hasn't packed a single lunch since he started at the market in 2001.

"Why would I? I have the best and broadest selection of eateries under one roof in the Philadelphia area. Nobody comes close," he said. "Then at the end of the day, I can run around and buy my dinner. I can buy meat, poultry, fish, vegetables, great baked goods, dessert. I go home and feel like I’m a Parisian. I shop for that night’s dinner. Fresh.It’s a great lifestyle. It’s one of the reasons I’ve stayed in this job for so long."

So what does Steinke like?

"You will get me in trouble," he said. .

"I like the grilled salmon from the Little Thai Market. I like the hoagies from Salumeria – the Italian or the Turkey.  get the special house dressing which is the balsamic dressing. That’s what makes it my favorite . I like the turkey sandwiches at Roger Basset’s Original Turkey, the freshness and the portion size are both beyond compare. I love Old City Coffee. I could not have done this job without Old City Coffee.

Monday's blog post: City bureaucracy a challenge for Reading market merchants.

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