Where and what to eat at Reading Terminal Market

Part of a lunchtime crowd at Tommy DiNic’s at Reading Terminal Market.

Whatever is happening at the Convention Center — the Philadelphia Auto Show, the Small Business Expo,  the Philadelphia Flower Show — surely there are countless attendees for whom the real high point is a trip to Reading Terminal Market across the street.

Yes, it’s a market whose mission is to provide locally produced perishables — meats, poultry, cheeses, vegetables. It also houses one of the finest collections of prepared foods anywhere — more than two dozen stalls delivering a diet-busting collection of crepes, doughnuts, falafel, dumplings, burgers, soul food, gyros, po’boys, Thai salmon, pastrami sandwiches, scrapple, ice cream, cookies…

Such an enormous roster requires planning, especially if you visit at lunchtime during a show or convention. The market’s website has a searchable map, which will help you budget your time. But time will have  little meaning during the Flower Show, when the predicted hordes will be further impeded by baby strollers, walkers, and canes.

Stand by stand, here are some high points:

Camera icon MICHAEL KLEIN / Staff
Apple fritters at Beiler’s, Reading Terminal Market.

Bassetts Ice Cream: vanilla ice cream — heck, every flavor

Beck’s Cajun Cafe: a baguette sandwich called the Trainwreck (steak, andouille sausage, Genoa salami, caramelized onions, American cheese, Creole mayo, and “devil’s dust” spices)

Beiler’s Doughnuts: apple fritters

By George! Pizza, Pasta & Cheesesteaks: the Pompeii sandwich (proscuitto, mozzarella, basil, tomato); pizza

Carmen’s Famous Italian Hoagies & Cheesesteaks: cheesesteaks

Dienner’s BBQ Chicken: rotisserie chicken (winner, winner)

DiNic’s: roast pork sandwich with greens and long hots

Down Home Diner: scrapple (this is where many first-timers meet the mystery meat)

Dutch Eating Place: breakfasts at the counter; hot apple dumplings

Famous 4th Street cookies: chocolate chip

Flying Monkey bakery: whoopie pies

4 Seasons: smoothies

Camera icon MICHAEL KLEIN / Staff
Corndogs from Fox & Son’s at Reading Terminal Market.

Fox & Son Fancy Corndogs: corndogs, fried cheese curds (all is gluten-free)

Franks A Lot: hot dogs; pierogies; pizza fries

Glick’s Rib Shack: baby backs

Hatfield Deli: chicken salad sandwich

Hershel’s East Side Deli: corned beef and pastrami sandwiches; latkes

Hunger Burger: any of the burgers

Kamal’s Middle Eastern Specialties: lamb shawarma; falafel; chocolate nut rolls

Keven Parker’s Soul Food Cafe: turkey chops in pepper gravy; fried chicken

Little Thai Market: basil chicken; Thai salmon (among the longest lines in the market)

Market Bakery: breakfast club sandwich; turkey club sandwich

Meltkraft: any grilled cheese sandwich

Metropolitan Bakery: millet muffins, as a snack

Miller’s Twist: pretzel cheese dog

Molly Malloy’s: short-rib empanadas (it’s a sit-down restaurant with a bar boasting 35 beers)

Mueller’s Chocolates: chocolate body parts

Nanee’s Kitchen: curry potato samosas

Olympia Gyro: Buffalo chicken souvlaki

The Original Turkey: the Dinner Sandwich (turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry, and gravy on a roll)

Camera icon MICHAEL KLEIN / Staff
Scallop special at Pearl’s Oyster Bar at Reading Terminal Market.

Pearl’s Oyster Bar: any daily special; French toast

Profi’s Crêperie: ham, eggs and cheese crepe at breakfast; crepes a la mode later in the day

Sang Kee Peking Duck: the Peking duck ($14 a pound), duck noodle soup

Shanghai Gourmet: Mandarin chicken; vegetable dumplings

Smucker’s: pot roast sandwich (best use of $8.25)

Spataro’s Cheesesteaks: Italian hoagies; cheesesteaks

Tea Leaf: passion fruit ice tea

Termini Bros.: cannoli; almond horns

Tootsie’s Hot & Cold Buffet: The $7.19-a-pound buffet

12th Street Cantina: naked burritos; quesadillas

Wursthaus Schmitz: schnitzel; sausage platter; fried bologna sandwich

Craig LaBan's favorites at the market, from his "Ultimate Dining" guide:

The fresh-pulled mozzarella sandwich and Valley Thunder grilled cheese at Meltkraft
The grilled salmon at Little Thai Market (possibly the longest line at the market these days)
The turkey Rachel (and pastrami) at Hershel's East Side Deli
The roast pork at DiNic's
The sloppy joe and ham-and-bean soup at the Dutch Eating Place
Fried chicken at Keven Parker's Soul Food Cafe
The gyro at Olympic Gyro
The liverwurst sandwich from Wursthaus Schmitz
A scoop of Bassetts Ice Cream
Doughnuts and apple fritters at Beiler's Doughnuts
A corndog from Fox & Son Fancy Corndog
A burger from Hunger Burger
Turkey sandwiches from The Original
A cannoli from Termini Bros.