Rick's gets final order to go from Reading Terminal

Management at the Reading Terminal Market yesterday reaffirmed its decision not to give a new lease to steak-sandwichmaker Rick Olivieri.

Market spokesman Kevin Feeley said officials of the nonprofit Reading Terminal Market Corp. spent the last week explaining the rationale for their decision to merchants and others, as well as giving Olivieri a final hearing on Wednesday.

"Following all of these measures, the board reaffirmed the decision not to renew the lease," Feeley said. "The board's decision is final."

Olivieri, whose Rick's Philly Steaks has been a market fixture for 25 years, confirmed the decision yesterday.

He said he was unsure if he had to leave by Wednesday, as he was first told, and would be meeting with his attorneys.

Olivieri and representatives of the market's Amish merchants met Wednesday with board president Ricardo Dunston, general manager Paul Steinke, and two leasing committee members.

The meeting was held after Amish merchant leaders supported Olivieri's request for the sit-down, threatening to cancel their annual Amish festival if Olivieri were evicted.

Olivieri, part of the third generation of the South Philadelphia family that claims to have invented the steak sandwich about 75 years ago, was told June 28 he would not get a new lease and would have to leave by the end of July.

Market management said the move would bring a more prominent face to the market: Tony Luke's Old Philly Style Sandwiches.

Olivieri has called the eviction retaliation for several years of contentious lease talks when he was president of the Reading Terminal Merchants' Association.

Contact staff writer Joseph A. Slobodzian at 215-854-2985 or jslobodzian@phillynews.com.