Reading Terminal Market

Reading Terminal Market

Market Blog

A blog about what's happening at Reading Terminal Market.

“18 Phascinating Phacts about Philbert the pig sculpture, the Market's Favorite Pork Product Not Topped with Broccoli Rabe and Provolone,” By Carolyn Wyman

philbert 768x1024

1. Wendy Smith Born of Metropolitan Bakery got the idea for Philbert when she saw the Pike Place Market Foundation's giant piggy-bank sculpture, Rachel, on a visit to Seattle.


2. Rachel (b. 1986) was another great idea from the founder of the Sur La Table cookware chain (which started as a single shop at Pike Place Market).


3. At the time of Born's Seattle visit, The Food Trust was a program of Reading Terminal Market and Born was chair of its board, looking for new ways to raise money.


4. Rachel is more of a traditional piggy bank with a slot for coins on her back but local sculptor Eric Berg wanted donors to "feed" his pig -- with money going into his mouth and coming out his rear end, something that kids love but that some potential funders found hard to swallow.


5. CoreStates Bank (now part of Wells Fargo) did eventually agree to pay $25,000 to get the 3-foot-tall, 225-pound bronze Philbert made in 1995. The food-decorated tile base that helps Philbert rise above the Market trash cans was crafted by sculptor Berg's then-girlfriend Victoria Davila and cost an additional $15,000.


6. Philbert and Rachel have had a longtime, long-distance love affair, initially conducted via the U.S. Postal Service or via mash notes found in their respective cash boxes and most recently, this Valentine's Day on Facebook (see


7. Philbert is a potbellied/domestic pig hybrid that sculptor Berg says he "did not sex, though I do refer to him as a him" (and there is that abovementioned romance with Rachel ...).


8. Philbert got his name in a student contest. It was inspired by Reading Terminal Market's Filbert Street location but with the f changed to ph as per local (i.e., the Phillie Phanatic) custom.


9. In 2013, Philbert raised $6,807.99 towards The Food Trust's mission of increasing needy families' access to healthy food and healthy food information.


10. Philbert contributions are also occasionally designated to help out with natural disasters like Hurricane Sandy, the 2010 Haiti earthquake and the 2004 Indonesian tsunami (for which this pig-lanthropist raised almost $4,300 in a single week).


11. Among the more unusual, less obviously useful items that people put into Philbert: foreign currency, Chuck E. Cheese tokens, straws, forks, gum, chicken bones and half-eaten French fries.


12. Rubbing Philbert's snout is supposed to bring good luck and is the reason it's so shiny.


13. Next to the Welcome Desk, Philbert is the Market's most popular meeting place.


14. Philbert dresses up for special occasions, wearing a wreath at Christmastime and pink in support of the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, for instance. He's also a favorite place for Market visitors to park misplaced hats and scarves.


15. Philbert's throat was originally so narrow that a ramrod was used to make it easier for him to "swallow" dollar bills. But so many things (see No. 11) got stuck on the way down, that Berg widened it into more of a chute and also added a slot for bills at the front of the cash box.


16. Other famous local animal statutes by Berg include the Drexel dragon and the Academy of Natural Sciences tortoise.


17. A year after making Philbert, Berg was commissioned to make several pig sculptures for State College Borough, one of which was stolen in a student prank. The student's plan to stash the pig at the home of his out-of-town girlfriend was thwarted by a UPS employee who remembered seeing the outline of a pig while screening packages.


18. Berg has an exact replica of Philbert (cast at the same time) in his studio which he says he'd be willing to part with (should anyone long to legally own a Philbert).


Philbert phacts courtesy Eric Berg (, Sarah Levitsky and Michael Anthony of Reading Terminal Market, Caiti Rothenberg and Meghan Walsh of The Food Trust (www.the, Wendy Smith Born of Metropolitan Bakery ( and Suzanne Spencer of Pike Place Market Foundation.


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

Continue reading
7742 Hits

Meltkraft and Valley Shepherd Creamery Celebrates Spring Fest and National Grilled Cheese Day

Saturday, April 12th will be a big day at the Market!  We are holding our first-ever Spring Fest to celebrate the end of the dreary winter with delicious spring foods!  Saturday also happens to be National Grilled Cheese Day, and to commemorate the occasion, our friends at Meltkraft and Valley Shepherd Creamery will be debuting a brand new creation: Grilled Gelato!  This decadent sandwich features a scoop of their own sheep & goat milk gelato, a dollop of chocolate, and sprinkles sandwiched in a brioche roll.  Their special machine seals the bread and toasts it.  The result - delicious!

Photo1 768x1024

Photo2 768x1024

Photo3 768x1024

Photo4 768x1024

Continue reading
4507 Hits

Down Home Diner Owner/Chef Reunites with Chef Bobby Flay

Last night on the Food Network, our own Jack McDavid, chef and owner of the Down Home Diner, reunited with his old friend Chef Bobby Flay on an episode of the new show Beat Bobby Flay  In case you didn't know, Jack was the co-host of Chef Flay's first tv show Grillin and Chillin in the 1990s (see a photo below).  On last night's episode, Jack and Chef Alex Guarnaschelli were tasked with choosing which chef they thought could beat Chef Flay.  It was great to see the two chefs together again!


Continue reading
7671 Hits
1 Comment

Look Who Visited the Market Today!

Today, Keven Parker's Soul Food Cafe celebrated its first anniversary, and we were so excited that the legendary Patti LaBelle was able to join the celebration! 

Photo 3-28-14 2 07 54 PM 768x1024

Continue reading
4663 Hits

St. Patrick's Day at the Market

Monday is St. Patrick’s Day, and many of the merchants are making special products to celebrate! Check out the drunken cupcakes at Flying Monkey Bakery, drink specials at Molly Malloy’s, homemade life-size Irish Potatoes at Chocolate by Mueller, and look for other St. Paddy’s day candies at the Pennsylvania General Store and Sweet as Fudge Candy Shoppe. Erin Go Bragh!

DrunkenCupcakes 1024x768


irishpotato 1024x768

Continue reading
4547 Hits

Fasnacht Day at Reading Terminal Market

In Pennsylvania Dutch culture, the day before Lent (also known as Fat Tuesday) is known as Fasnacht Day.  Traditionally, the Pennsylvania Dutch made Fasnachts (potato-based donut without a hole) to get rid of ingredients like sugar and butter that people often give up for Lent.  For more information on these sweet treats, click here to read KYW's Steve Tawa's piece on how Beiler's Donuts keeps the Fasnacht tradition alive:

Keith Beiler makes fasnachts at his family’s bakery stand in the Reading Terminal Market. Photo by Steve Tawa.

Keith Beiler makes fasnachts at his family’s bakery stand in the Reading Terminal Market.  Photo by Steve Tawa.

Continue reading
5180 Hits

The 4th Annual Party for the Market was a Huge Success!

Thank you to everyone who made Saturday's Party for the Market a huge success!  We thought we would share a few photos of our guests partying the night away, courtesy of PhillyChitChat and


Continue reading
5040 Hits

Vote for Carmen's Vegan Cheesesteak

The Philadelphia Daily News is hosting the V for Veg/Daily News Vegan Cheesesteak Contest to name the best vegan cheesesteak in the Philadelphia metropolitan area. The plan is for the public to write in and nominate their favorite restaurant that sells vegan cheesesteaks and then to vote for the best one. The top three nominated restaurants will face off in a blind taste test in a few weeks, and the winner will be announced on March 20th.

Our own Carmen’s Famous Italian Hoagies and Cheesesteaks is in the running, so please take the time to vote for them by March 11th. To vote, e-mail the following line to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.: "I vote for Carmen's Reading Terminal for best vegan Cheesesteak."  One submitter will be chosen at random to receive a certificate for dinner for two at New Hope’s vegan Sprig and Vine restaurant.

For more details, click here:


Continue reading
8500 Hits

Recipe for French Onion Soup

It's been the coldest winter in decades, and what better way to warm up than with a hearty bowl of French onion soup! Even better – all of the ingredients are available here at the Market!


½ cup (1 stick) butter (Available at Hatville Deli, L. Halteman Family Country Foods, and Jonathan Best)
2 lbs yellow onions, halved and thinly sliced lengthwise (Available at Fair Food Farmstand, Iovine Brothers Produce, and OK Produce)
1 tsp. Kosher salt + more if desired (Available at The Head Nut)
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper + more if desired (Available at The Head Nut)
8-10 sprigs fresh thyme leaves, chopped (Available at Fair Food Farmstand, Iovine Brothers Produce, and OK Produce)
6 cups broth (beef is traditional but chicken or vegetable will work too) (Available at Jonathan Best)
1 cup dry white wine (Available at Blue Mountain Vineyards)
1 French Baguette or Italian Ciabatta bread (Available at Market Bakery and Metropolitan Bakery)
3 cups Gruyere cheese, grated (Available at Downtown Cheese, Salumeria, and Valley Shepherd Creamery)

In a large heavy-bottom pot, melt the butter over low heat. Add the sliced onions, thyme leaves, salt, and pepper and continue to cook, stirring occasionally until the onions become a deep golden brown and very soft, about 30 minutes.

Add the white wine and scrape up any dry bits on the bottom of the pan, increasing the heat to a boil for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the broth and simmer for 30 minutes. Season the soup with salt, and pepper to taste.

Preheat the oven to 400F. Slice the bread, arrange on a baking sheet, and toast until crispy.

Pour the soup into 4 to 6 oven-safe crocks or bowls. Top with the toasted bread and a generous amount of grated Gruyere. Place the crocks or bowls under the broiler for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and begins to brown.

Continue reading
9476 Hits

4th Annual Party for the Market

Saturday, February 22, 7:30-11:30pm

Show your love for the Reading Terminal Market! Join us for an evening of food, drink, dancing, and live entertainment to celebrate Philadelphia's extraordinary public market. Net proceeds will be dedicated to the preservation of the historic Reading Terminal Market, as well as to exciting new programming in performing arts and nutrition education. For more information and to purchase tickets visit

Thank you to this year's sponsors:

Sustaining Sponsors:
Green Mountain Energy
Nelbud Services Group
PPL EnergyPlus LLC
Fisher & Phillips, LLP

Supporting Sponsors:
Albert M. Mezzaroba
Beneficial Bank
Esh Foods
Iovine Brothers Produce
Martin's Quality Meats & Sausages
Old City Coffee

Market Friends:
ABM Security Services
Beck's Cajun Café
By George / Mezze
Carmen's Hoagies and Cheesesteaks
Contessa's French Linens
Cozen O'Connor
Famous 4th Street Cookies
Fox Rothschild LLP
Hershel's East Side Deli
John Yi Fish Market
Larry C. McCrea, Inc.
Metropolitan Bakery
Parkway Corp.
Paul R. Levy & Carrie Rickey
Saul Ewing LLP
Sebastian Properties
Shanghai Gourmet
Sirlin, Lesser & Benson, PC
The Gallery at Market East
Western Pest Services

Continue reading
6399 Hits

Find Merchant/Product