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"Slurp and Sip Like an Old-Time Philadelphian at OysterFest, by Carolyn Wyman"


 OysterFest featuring 12 oysters from Pearl’s and 12 beers from Molly Malloy’s, 7-9 p.m., Fri., Sept. 23, $50,

Philadelphia was once the oyster capital of America. In the late 19th century, the Delaware Bay’s 2 million-bushel annual haul were served up by almost every Philadelphia bar, restaurant and street vendor, in addition to 379 dedicated oyster houses. The discarded shells paved the streets, formed makeshift wharves and served as ship ballast.

It’s perhaps ironic that Reading Terminal Market’s (nearly) annual fundraising OysterFest was inspired not by Philly’s long and strong oyster heritage -- but by an annual oyster festival held at a counterpart public market in Milwaukee since 2010. (As you might have guessed, oysters are not indigenous to the Great Lakes.) In 2013, then-Market-manager Paul Steinke had heard about the Milwaukee Public Market’s Oyster Fest and approached David Braunstein of Pearl’s Oyster Bar about the idea of doing it here.

Reading Terminal’s OysterFest debuted that September and was held again in fall 2014. (The event paused in 2015 because of the pope’s visit.)

The Braunstein family has owned the Market’s lone oyster bar since the early 1980s and oyster stew and fried oysters were longtime specialties. But Steinke’s idea for a Philadelphia Market OysterFest was in part sparked by a serious program of fresh-shucked local oysters that Braunstein had started earlier that year. Pearl’s still offers a menu of six fresh-shucked raw oysters daily. It usually includes four from the Jersey Shore, at least one from the West Coast and, often, one from Atlantic Canada.

What’s the difference?

“West Coast oysters are normally sweeter and creamier,” says Braunstein. “East Coast oysters are brinier. The further north you go, the brinier they are.”

Although Braunstein won’t know for sure what oysters will be available for the festival until just before OysterFest, Pearl’s oyster menu regulars and Braunstein favs Cape Shore Salt and Sweet Amalia’s, both from Cape May, are two likelies.

The Delaware Bay’s identity as the nation’s oyster bar ended by the early 1900s due to overfishing and pollution and today most local oysters are farmed. That mollusk’s relative rarity today compared to colonial and Victorian times makes them more of a higher-end treat, though Braunstein notes that modern aquaculture oysters have the advantage of being a lot more consistent than wild-caught.

Considering local oysters’ brininess, it’s good that OysterFest will pair the 12 oysters with 12 beers -- almost all local -- curated and poured by Market bar Molly Malloy’s. And historians say beer was probably the drink accompaniment of choice for lower and middle-class Philadelphia oyster eaters of yore. Every style of beer known to go well with raw oysters will be at OysterFest, including sours, ambers, lagers, pilsners, India pale ales and even stouts (in the form of a black and tan). Brands include Yuengling, Yards, Straub’s, Philadelphia Brewing Company, Neshaminy Creek, Dogfish Head, Flying Fish and Evil Genius.

When you consider that the average price of a craft beer is $5 to $7 and fresh-shucked oysters, $16 or $17 per half-dozen; and the fact that this event is all you can eat and drink, OysterFest is a great value that can also make you feel great because proceeds will fund a weekly cooking class held in the Market’s City Kitchen for kids from the nonprofit Strawberry Mansion Learning Center in North Philadelphia.

Given the city’s oyster heritage, attending OysterFest should also make you feel like a true Philadelphian.

Carolyn Wyman is the Market's news correspondent and operator of the Reading Terminal's bi-weekly Taste of Philadelphia Food Tour (

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OysterFest is Back!


Friday, September 23, 7-9pm

For information and tickets, visit

We are happy to partner with Molly Malloy's and Pearl's Oyster Bar to bring you this year's OysterFest!  Sample a dozen different varieties of raw oysters (including Cape Shore Salt oysters, Cape May Salt oysters, Sweet Amalia oysters, and Forty North oysters) alongside a dozen local craft beers from local breweries such as Evil Genius, Philadelphia Brewing Co., and Yards. Net proceeds will benefit Reading Terminal Market's programming for the Strawberry Mansion Learning Center.

Thank you to this year's sponsors:

Lead Sponsor:

 fisher phillips


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Sustaining Sponsor:

exit logo NEW

Supporting Sponsors: 

health mats


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Celebrate National Bacon Day at Your Favorite Market

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Saturday, September 3, 2016 is National Bacon Day, and we have all the bacon you could ever want!  Throughout the Market, our merchants are celebrating with special offers and special dishes to satisfy every bacon-lover.  Enjoy!!

Beck's Cajun Cafe: Fried Mac and Cheese Balls with Bacon

Dutch Eating Place: Egg and cheese on a Kaiser roll, loaded with Lancaster County bacon, side of fresh-cut homefries, and coffee, $6.50

Giunta's Prime Shop: Sliced hickory, applewood, & pepper bacon, 2lbs for $10; Bacon Jam, $11.95

Godshall's Poultry: Turkey Bacon, 3lbs for $13

Hatville Deli: Buy 1lb hickory smoked bbq bacon, get 1lb free

L. Halteman Family Country Foods: Buy 2lbs of any bacon, get a 3rd lb of equal/lesser value free

Martin’s Quality Meats & Sausage: $1.00 off per lb for a purchase of 2 lbs or more of any bacon product (Pork, Turkey or Beef) Sept. 2-4.

Meltkraft: The Riehl Deal: classic grilled cheese with L. Halteman Family Country Foods’ thick cut hickory bacon, $8

Miller's Twist: Bacon, egg & cheese pretzel wraps, 1 for $3 or 2 for $5

Olympia Gyro: Bacon Ranch Gyro (lamb and beef gyro with onions, tomatoes, bacon & Ranch dressing)

Pennsylvania General Store: 20% off all bacon and pig related products including Eat This's Bacon Marmalade, Bacon Jams' assorted bacon jams, chocolate-covered bacon, Girls Can Tell's Butcher Pig tea towels, Paprika Letterpress's Meet me at the Pig prints, and Chocolate Scrapple

Smucker's Meats & Grill: BLT sandwich, $5

Sweet as Fudge Candy Shoppe: Caramel Chocolate Bacon Fudge & Bacon-Peanut Brittle

The Head Nut: 15% off bacon-flavored sauces and other products including Kevin Bacon trail mix

Wursthaus Schmitz: Add bacon to any sandwich for $.50; bacon-potato salad

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Reading Terminal Market Welcomes the DNC!

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This weekend, the delegates, volunteers, media, and other participants in the Democratic National Convention will begin to arrive in Philadelphia, and Reading Terminal Market is ready to roll out the welcome wagon!


From Monday, July 25th-Thursday, July 28th, the Market will open an hour early, extending our operating hours to 7am-6pm.  Among the merchants who will open earlier are: 12th St. Cantina, Beck’s Cajun Café, Beiler’s Donuts, Down Home Diner, Downtown Cheese, Famous 4th St. Cookie Company, Flying Monkey Bakery, Giunta’s Prime Shop, Godshall’s Poultry, Golden Bowl, Hershel’s East Side Deli, Jonathan Best Gourmet Grocer, Market Bakery, Old City Coffee, Pearl’s Oyster Bar, Pennsylvania General Store, Profi’s Creperie, Smucker’s Meats and Grill, and Termini Brothers Bakery.


Numerous merchants at Reading Terminal Market will be offering special products to celebrate DNC week including:

  • Bassetts Ice Cream: "Red, White & Blueberry" ice cream
  • Beiler’s Donuts: Red, white and blue donuts
  • Famous 4th St. Cookie Co.: Red, white and blue flag cookies and M&M cookies
  • Flying Monkey: Red, white and blue whoopie pies and vanilla cupcakes
  • Mueller’s: Chocolate donkeys
  • Pennsylvania General Store: Chocolate Liberty Bells, red white and blue treats, Americana gifts
  • Termini Bros: Red, white and blue cupcakes
  • Terralyn: American flag soaps


In addition to the extended hours and unique merchant specials, the Market will be offering more frequent and Presidential-themed Taste of Philly Food tours during DNC week, operating on a daily schedule. The tours take visitors through the history of the Market and signature Philadelphia treats like cheesesteaks and soft pretzels. For the DNC, the revamped tours will feature fun details about President Barack Obama’s and presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s eating preferences at the Market. Tours leave from the Market’s Welcome Desk at 12th and Filbert Streets and cost $9.95 for children (age 7-11) and $16.95 for adults. For more information and to make reservations, visit or call 215-545-8007. 


#DNCDontMissThis #LoveRTM #ReadingTerminalMarket #DNCPHL2016

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"Market Merchants' Summertime Favorites: Recipes for your Barbecue or Picnic," By Carolyn Wyman

By this point in the summer you've probably made your favorite hot-weather recipes several times. It's time to try something new, preferably something time-tested from someone who knows food.

Market merchants to the rescue with the following recipes: some, personal favorites; others, for summertime dishes sold at their stands. So, if you run out of time before your next outdoor cooking event, there is an alternative to doing all the work yourself! (Many merchants will prepare larger, catering-size portions of their offerings on request.)


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Kale, Fennel and Red Cabbage Coleslaw with Lemon-Tarragon dressing

Meltkraft chef Rebecca Foxman says Greek tzatziki sauce and sweet and sour German salads were the partial inspiration for this variation on classic American coleslaw. “It’s really great in the summer and as an add-on to your favorite sandwich,” she says, which is exactly how this is sold at Meltkraft.

1 large head red cabbage, cored and sliced thinly

1 large bulb fennel, sliced thinly

1 medium red onion, sliced thinly

1 large bunch kale, stems removed and sliced into thin strips

1 pint mayo

1 pint Greek yogurt

1 teaspoon (about 1 clove) minced garlic

2 teaspoons minced fresh tarragon

2 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon cumin

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Thinly slice all ingredients through kale (a mandolin slicer works best) then place them together in large bowl.

Combine remaining ingredients in another bowl and whisk well. Dressing should be tart and sweet. 

Combine veggies with dressing, making sure the two are well incorporated. Let sit in fridge at least three hours. Mix well before serving. Serves 12. 


Grilled Lamb Shoulder Chops with Mint Chimichurri

This is La Divisa meat stand owner Nick Macri’s take on a recipe that accompanied New York Times’ columnist Mark Bittman’s 2013 paean to lamb shoulder, a cut that both men think is too often and unjustly overshadowed by rib and loin chops.

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 1/2 cups mint leaves 

1 1/2 cups flat leaf Italian parsley

1/4 cup red wine vinegar 

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/2 cup olive oil 

4 lamb shoulder chops, cut 1 1/2 to 2 inches thick

Salt and pepper

Combine all ingredients through olive oil in food processor and pulse 15 to 20 times. Put 1/2 cup of this mint chimichurri in a sealed bag with the chops and refrigerate overnight. Refrigerate remaining chimichurri separately.

When ready to cook preheat grill to medium high. Wipe marinade off and season with salt and pepper. Grill chops over medium heat for 6 to 8 minutes per side. Serve chops with remaining chimichurri. Serves 4.


Watermelon, Feta, Mint and Olive Salad

Jill Ross of The Cookbook Stall got the idea for this recipe from Nigella Lawson’s Forever Summer cookbook. “I was living in Europe and we were hosting a barbecue and I wanted something that was very refreshing and seemed very American,” she recalls. “Funny that it came from a Brit!” It’s still Jill’s go-to summer salad.

1 small red onion, cut into half-moon slices

Juice from 4 or 5 limes

Small (about 3 ½ pound) seedless watermelon, cut into bite-size chunks

9 ounces of feta cheese, crumbled

¼ cup mint, chopped

½ cup medium pitted black olives

3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Slice the onions and juice the limes. Then put the sliced onions in a small bowl with half the lime juice. Let sit while preparing the rest of the salad. Cut up the watermelon and chop the mint. Combine watermelon chunks, cheese, mint, olives, olive oil and the remaining half of the lime juice in a salad bowl. Add the onions-lime juice mixture just before serving and remix. Season with salt and pepper. Serves 8.


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Raw Kale Salad with Citrus Dressing

Marion "Tootsie" D'Ambrosio got this hearty, healthy salad recipe from her nutritionist about four years ago. “Like a lot of our dishes,” she initially put it on her Tootsie's Salad Express bar so that she could eat it herself. It became so popular that she printed recipe cards that have since run out. What makes it great for a picnic: The kale is so sturdy that even after being dressed and sitting out for a few hours, “It doesn’t get limp.”

1 head of kale, washed, dried with stems removed and then cut in small strips (like with cole slaw)

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons orange juice

2 tablespoons honey

7 tablespoons olive oil

¼ cup dried cranberries

Salt and pepper to taste

Prepare the kale and place in a large salad bowl. Blend the juices, honey and olive oil thoroughly (in a food processor or by hand in a bowl or pitcher). Top the kale with the cranberries and dress and season to taste. Serves 10.



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Citrus Angel Food Cake

Light, zesty and low in fat, Metropolitan Bakery's Citrus Angel Food Cake could be the perfect dessert for entertaining down the Shore. Though it appears frequently at their Reading Terminal Market stand and sold both by the cake and by the slice, it also can be special-ordered (by calling 215-545-6655 at least 48 hours in advance).

10 large egg whites, at room temperature

¼ tablespoon cream of tartar

1 ½ cups granulated sugar

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/8 tablespoon kosher salt

Grated zest of 1 lemon

Grated zest of 1 orange

Grated zest of 2 limes

1 ¼ cup confectioners’ sugar 

¼ cup fresh lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a large, clean, dry bowl of an electric mixer, combine the egg whites and cream of tartar. With a whip attachment at low speed, beat the whites until foamy. Increase the mixer speed to high; beat the whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add ¾ cup of the granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating well after each addition. When all the sugar is incorporated, continue to beat until the mixture is shiny and just holds firm peaks when the beaters are lifted. (Do not overbeat.)

Sift together the remaining ¾ cup of sugar, the flour, and the salt onto a piece of parchment paper.

With a rubber spatula, gently fold all the lemon and orange zests, and half the lime zest into the egg white mixture. Sift one-third of the flour mixture over the whites; gently fold in with the spatula. Repeat twice more with the remaining flour mixture just until blended. Pour the batter into an unbuttered 8 1/4” x 4 ¼ angel food cake pan. Gently run a knife through the batter to remove any air pockets.

Bake the cake on the center oven rack 40 to 45 minutes, until a skewer inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove cake from oven and invert onto a tray to cool. This will ensure a light and airy texture.

While the cake is cooling, make the citrus glaze. Sift the confectioners’ sugar into a small bowl. Add the lemon juice and remaining lime zest;  whisk until smooth. 

Turn the cake pan right side up; run a spatula around the sides of the pan and tube. Invert the cake to unmold. Place the cake on a serving tray or cake stand. Pour the glaze over the top. Let the cake stand 15 minutes, until the glaze sets.  Serves 8 to 10.

Carolyn Wyman is the Market's news correspondent and operator of the Reading Terminal's bi-weekly Taste of Philadelphia Food Tour (

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Sidewalk Sizzle & Ice Cream Freeze - an Event too Hot to Miss!


Saturday, July 16, 10am-4pm outside on Filbert Street


It will be sizzling outside on Filbert Street tomorrow when the Market hosts its annual grilling and ice cream event!  First for the hot stuff: enjoy a variety of delicious foods straight from the grill includeing turkey legs, ribs, brisket, cajun burgers, shrimp kabobs, corn on the cob, bacon-wrapped pineapple, and even grilled Tastykakes!  Now, to cool you down, enjoy refreshing ice cream in a variety of forms, including cones and cups, atop grilled pound cake, grilled in a sandwich, and more!  For the adults, there will also be a beer garden serving cold brews.

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For those who love a challenge, we invite you to participate in our ice cream eating contests at 11:30am, 12:30pm, and 1:30pm.  Beware of brain-freeze!


And to round out the festivities, enjoy free activities throughout the day, such as arts and crafts, live music, and an ice cream art exhibition (inside City Kitchen).


But this festival is too big to contain just on one street!  So, join us in the City Kitchen demonstration kitchen inside the Market for a series of demos throughout the day:

10:30am - Meltkraft, grilled ice cream sandwiches

11:00am - Mueller's Chocolate Co., Chocolate Tower ice cream sundae

1:00pm - Bassetts Ice Cream, making delicious ice cream sundaes at home

2:00pm - Chef Joseph Poon, fruit carving topped with an ice cream sundae

3:15pm - Chef Vince Joseph, modern adaptation of a Baked Alaska


All activities are free.  Food is pay-as-you-go.

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Daily "Politically Enhanced" Market Tours Slated for DNC Week

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The Market's Taste of Philly Food tour will go from a bi-weekly to a daily schedule during DNC week for those who'd like to learn about the fascinating history of the Market and the stories behind signature Philadelphia foods (like cheesesteaks, hoagies and scrapple) sold here. Tours from July 23 to 28 will also be enhanced with information about presidential (and presidential hopefuls) eating preferences, including what President Barack Obama ate during his 2010 Market visit. The tour also includes a stop at the train shed that gave the market its name, the chance to see pretzels and donuts being made and several small food samples (including Hillary Clinton favorite raw jalapeno peppers, for those who dare!)

Tours leave from the Market Welcome Desk, 12th and Filbert streets. Cost is $16.95 for adults and $9.95 for children ages 7 to 11. For more information or to make reservations (required), visit or call 215-545-8007. 

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“Fathers and Sons (and Daughters) in the Market,” By Carolyn Wyman

In much of America, Father's Day means a card or an afternoon barbecue with a man his kids see a couple of times a year.

Families who run businesses in the Market, by contrast, see each other daily, in a relationship that encompasses both pleasure and profit.

On the eve of Father's Day, we sat down to talk to four* of the father-son or -daughter teams who work together in the Market about this career decision, what they've learned from each other and whether working together has helped or hurt their personal relationships.



Roger and Eric are the fifth and sixth generations of the Bassett family to work in the family business. Roger took the Bassetts Ice Cream stand over from his father, David, in 1980, while Roger was still in college. At the time, the Market was struggling but Roger was able to turn Bassetts around. Four years ago Roger's son, Eric, 22, began managing Roger's Market Bakery stand, while maintaining a full-time course load at Drexel in an arrangement mirroring the one Roger had with his dad.

Roger: I didn't like working for my father too much. I didn't like being told what to do. Our relationship was strained for a while. It got better after I took over the business and even better when I started earning enough money that he stopped having to pay my college bills.

Eric also bristles at a lot of oversight.

Eric: I want to do things myself. I want to prove myself.

Roger: He's a typical kid in thinking he knows it all and doesn't need to ask for help. I was like that, too. I tell him, “Ask me. I've made all the mistakes you can make and you can benefit from that. Make new mistakes.”

Roger and his wife, Mary, worked hard to cultivate Eric's interest in the business.

Roger: We made sure that working here was not a requirement and when he did come in, he had fun.

Maybe too much fun.

Eric: When I look back on it, I can see I probably wouldn't have kept my job if I wasn't his son.

The day Roger gave Eric complete control over Bassetts’ presence at the Market’s Harvest Festival in 2010 was a turning point.

Roger: I told him that I would pay for the food and he would pay the employees and we'd split the profits. At the end of the day, I said, "How much did you pay your employees?” And he said a number. Then I asked, "How much did you make?" And it was a much higher number. And I said, "So which do you want to be, the employee or the owner?"

Sales and profits have increased at the Market Bakery each year Eric's run it. There are also personal benefits.

Roger: Our relationship has grown because of the business. We have more to talk about at the dinner table.

Eric: My friends get tired of hearing me talk about this place. They think it's overkill. But he doesn't.

Roger: It gives me an enormous amount of pleasure to see him running down the aisle, really hustling, just like I did.



Nicolosis have been in the meat business in Philadelphia since 1918. In 1954, the sons of business founder Gaetano Nicolosi began selling meat sandwiches out of a garage adjacent to the family's South Philly butcher shop. Gaetano's grandson, Tommy, 69, opened his roast pork stand in the Market in 1980. His son, Joey, 34, started helping out at the stand when he was 5, and stayed on even after earning a degree in music from Rutgers.

Tommy: By the time I was 13 I could cut meat alongside any adult. But my father never asked me if that's what I wanted. I had no choice because I was the oldest. I was not going to do that to Joey. I told him, "You are not going to be in your 40s and say, 'My father made me do this.' If you come in here, it will be your own decision."

Joey: I was interested in music but for a career, there was nothing there. And to me this was preferable to a cubicle.

As to what he learned from his dad:

Joey: It's difficult to sum up: Cutting, service, just about all aspects of the business. What he didn't pass on: He's a complete slob, one of those people who makes a mess when they're cooking and doesn't clean up until later.

The two worked side-by-side full-time for a decade until 2014, when Tommy began to cut back.

Tommy: Now I'm down to about two or three days and I'm not doing all the work. I'm a meat cutter here now, that's my only role.

Joey: He was very easy about relinquishing control. I worked here in some capacity for almost 30 years and if there had been issues, things would have played out entirely differently.

Tommy: My three daughters also all worked here but Joey is the only one who ever asked me how many rolls we sold. The girls never asked. Not only did he ask, he looked at the register tape to see. So he gets the store.



Alex, 28, is the third generation of Spataro men in the Market. He's worked at the family's sandwich stand on and off since he was 16. His dad, Domenic M. Spataro, 61, began working with his father, the late Domenic C. Spataro, at the stand when he was so small "I had to stand on a cheese box to talk to customers."

Alex: He's not as stubborn as my grandfather. For example, in 1987, for drinks, the stand only had white milk, chocolate milk, buttermilk, orange juice, coffee and tea -- no soda.

Dom: They were too new, even though they'd been around for 70 years.

Alex: So my father used his own money to bring some in. My grandpa said, "It'll never sell." We all know how that turned out.

Whereas my dad’s given me the freedom to make improvements, to let me try what I want to try. Like I helped design the store when we moved in 2012. 

Dom: I didn't have that luxury.

Alex earned a degree in environmental science from Syracuse University but didn't find the job in that field he wanted. He also worked other places, including at a franchise bakery.

Dom:  At the bakery, he learned more about customer service and how to deal with underlings, which is something he brought to this business. My father and I were a two-man band so I never really learned how to be a boss. He knows how to hire people, how to discipline. He also keeps us up to date with technology.

Alex: Having other bosses I came to realize there are far more advantages than disadvantages to working here.



Husband-and-wife George and Kim Mickel opened their first Market business, By George, in 1990. George's father was a shoemaker; Kim's, a carpenter. All four of their kids worked at their market stands part-time in the summers but so far only their eldest, Allie, 25, has become a full-time employee/manager. She helped launch the family's Hunger Burger stand last summer, less than a year after graduating from Liberty University with a degree in business.

Allie: When I first went to college my main goal was to own my own coffee shop. At the time, I was very interested in coffee. Then I realized that I really wanted to be in the family business. It's an interesting business but because it's my family's livelihood, it's closer to my heart. I don't even drink coffee anymore.

As to what she learned in college:

Allie: In school I learned the technical terms for some marketing strategies I had already learned about first-hand in the Market. In my first business class, I had a lot of examples to share from working here.

As to what she learned from her dad:

Allie: I think I learned the work ethic that he learned from his father. I mean, you can have all the brains and smarts in the world but you also have to be willing to do everything from washing the dishes when the dishwasher doesn't show up to overseeing the entire operation.

George: I expect a lot from all my employees but you probably expect even more from your own kids. You want them to succeed. And because you know them better, you're probably less careful about how you say something to them, unfortunately.

Allie:  If I were less like him he would be harder to understand. But our personalities are pretty similar: We're both very passionate, stubborn and detail-oriented.

The challenge is to not always talk about work.  I got married last year so even though we're seeing each other every day, we aren't going home to the same place anymore.

Two of George's other three children are still in college; his older son, also named George, runs a Verizon store.

George: He wanted to try something on his own, sow his own oats a little bit. He might very well work here someday. But it's totally his choice. You've got to love what you do. I didn't become a shoemaker.

* Other Market stands with father-offspring teams: Tootsie’s, Iovine’s, Kauffman’s, Beiler’s, Kamal’s and the Dutch Eating Place/Lancaster County Dairy.

Carolyn Wyman is the Market's news correspondent and operator of the Reading Terminal's bi-weekly Taste of Philadelphia Food Tour (

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"Exploring the Market, Chip by Chip," By Carolyn Wyman

Mother's Day is this Sunday. Chocolate Chip Day, a whole 'nother week away, on May 15. So it might seem like a week too early for a story about chocolate chip cookies in the Market.

That is, unless you know who buys most of the chocolate chips that are being celebrated a week from Sunday.

"Moms," Kelly Malley, an executive at Nestle, the country's largest maker of those chips, told me a few years back.

So whether you get them this week or next, as a present for mom or to eat yourself, early May is the perfect time to take stock of the many Market incarnations of America's favorite cookie (presented in alphabetical order of stand or brand).


Beiler's Bakery: Though perhaps better-known at this point for their doughnuts, Beiler's also makes their chocolate chip cookies on premises from scratch. Keith Beiler says the chocolate chip is definitely their best-selling cookie and estimates that the stand sells about 25 dozen packages of their big, soft, flat beige beauties daily. $5.95 per tray of 12, 2-3/4-inch cookies.


Famous 4th Street Cookies: Janie Auspitz's chocolate chip cookies may have become famous on 4th Street but they've long had their retail home on 12th Street just across from the Welcome Desk in Reading Terminal Market. This stand started out as a splinter business of Janie and husband David's Famous 4th Street Deli on Fourth Street in Queen Village. In the late 1970s, dessert at the deli was ice cream from a freezer put there by the Jack & Jill company -- usually Jack & Jill brand, but also Haagen-Dazs, after David tried it and realized how good the super-premium upstart was. An angry Jack & Jill took back their freezer and Janie suggested they instead start selling chocolate chip cookies made from a family recipe. The Auspitzes sold the deli in 2005 and the cookie business, just a couple of months back. The new owners are longtime customers Brian Phillips and Michael Untermeyer. So fellow longtime fans should expect 4th Street's chocolate chip cookies to remain thick, moist, chewy and delicious. $12.99 per pound or about $2 per hockey-puck-sized cookie. Insider Tip: Those bags of chocolate chip cookies sold at the Market Bakery (containing four cookies for $5) are slightly downsized Famous 4th Street cookies.


Flying Monkey Bakery: Here's Flying Monkey Bakery owner Elizabeth Halen on her stand's best-selling cookie. "Some chocolate chip cookies in the Market are all soft; others are all chewy. Ours are the best of both worlds -- with chewiness toward the edges and softness in the center. We also use really good quality chocolate chunks." She also offers walnut and vegan variations. $2 per 3 1/2 inch cookie.


Hope's Cookies at the Pennsylvania General Store: Cookies have been a 25-year fixture of Pennsylvania General Store's local foods business. Store owners Julie Holahan and late husband Michael got hooked on Hope Spivak's all-natural cookies while living in an apartment near her Rosemont cookie store. Pennsylvania General Store employees bake off Hope's dough in the Market daily, including four times as many of their soft, slightly cinnamony chocolate chip cookies as any other variety. $11.99 per pound or about $1.50 per cookie.


Metropolitan Bakery: There is no plain chocolate chip cookie at Metropolitan and we mean that both literally and figuratively. Their "regular" chocolate chip cookie uses toasted oats, pecans and walnuts to wonderfully crunchy, nutty effect. But their chocolate chip cookie best-seller is the even more unique sour cherry and sea salt variation. Metropolitan baker and co-owner James Barrett says it was inspired by his bakery's own chocolate cherry bread and some sea-salt-adorned chocolates he had at La Maison Du Chocolat in New York City. $2.15 to $2.25 per 4-inch cookie.


Tate's at Jonathan Best: If you thought your gluten allergy meant giving up on chocolate chip cookies, think again. By most accounts, Tate's Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies (made with rice flour) taste almost identical to their regular thin and crispy-style chocolate chip cookies, and both are Specialty Food Association sofi award-winners. Consumer Reports and Every Day with Rachael Ray both named Tate's regular chocolate chip cookie the nation's best packaged. Interestingly, Tate's is the second incarnation of a gourmet cookie business that started with company founder Kathleen King, then age 11, selling her cookies at her father's Long Island farm stand. $6.99 per 7-ounce bag.


Termini Bakery: You might think an Italian bakery would be better known for Italian cookies and you'd be right. Termini Reading Terminal stand's packaged biscotti, amaretti, pignoli  and coconut macaroon cookies all sell better than their chocolate chip. This bow to American tradition is soft-textured and feature half to three-quarter inch chocolate chunks rather than chips. A package of four costs $5.

Carolyn Wyman is the Market's news correspondent, operator of the Reading Terminal's bi-weekly Taste of Philadelphia Food Tour ( and author of The Great American Chocolate Chip Cookie Book (Countryman Press).

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Well Hello There, Spring!

Well Hello There, Spring!

Spring is officially here and it’s time to bring some sunshine into your cooking. With a new season comes new food, so say goodbye to frozen vegetables and hello to fresh produce. Beets, asparagus, artichokes, snap peas and more: spring has sprung. Let’s make use of these colorful fruits and veggies and dig into spring with these five delicious recipes!


Poached Eggs on Toast with Ramps

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Spring is the season for ramps to shine, but unfortunately it doesn’t last very long. Stock up on ramps from Iovine Brothers Produce or Fair Food Farmstand, pick up some eggs from Godshall’s Poultry or L. Halteman Family Country Foods and try this recipe from


Steamed Artichokes with Lemon Garlic Aioli

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Artichokes may appear tricky, but don’t judge a book by its cover. Boil, steam and voila— you have artichokes!’s lemon garlic aioli complements the meaty artichokes, making for a lovely appetizer or side dish. Visit our produce merchants listed above for the finest ingredients and enjoy.


Asparagus Risotto

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You know it’s spring when you see more asparagus on the shelves. This creamy asparagus risotto from makes a great side or main course. Quality ingredients really make a difference in risotto, so trust our produce merchants and cheese mongers (Downtown Cheese, Salumeria and Valley Shepherd Creamery) for the best. 


Sliced Filet Mignon with Fava Beans, Radishes & Mustard Dressing

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This entree from Epicurious is perfect for a dinner party or special occasion. Loaded with spring favorites like fava beans and radishes, this dish will be sure to impress. For tender, juicy filet, try Giunta’s Prime Shop, L. Halteman Family Country Foods, La Divisa Meats, or Martin’s Quality Meats & Sausages. 


Rhubarb-Apple Pie

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Spring is the prime time for fresh rhubarb. pairs this tangy vegetable with sliced Granny Smith Apples and a flaky piecrust for a flavor that’s out of this world. Stop by our produce merchants mentioned above for the freshest ingredients.

We hope that these recipes have you excited to ring in spring with us. Spring is only here once a year, so let’s make it count! At Reading Terminal Market we love trying new things, so please share your favorite springtime recipes with us. Happy spring!

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