Skip to content
Neon signs light up over stalls inside of the historic Reading Terminal Market. Shoppers are shown in the aisle, workers are behind counters serving customers.

Top Must-Try Vendors at Reading Terminal Market

Date January 10, 2024

Top Must-Try Vendors at Reading Terminal Market

Reading Terminal Market has served as a public market since 1893 and is considered one of the best public markets in the nation.

At the market you’ll find a blend of the people, history, and flavors of Philadelphia. There are more than 80 shops, restaurants, and grocers found throughout the market. Here are some of the must-try vendors during your visit.


For one-of-a-kind gifts made by metal workers from around the world, head to Amazulu. This Black-owned business has been selling artistic creations at Reading Terminal Market since 1989. Their offerings include handmade jewelry, lamps, dolls, sculptures, and home décor.

A bunch of mannequin heads are shown wearing colorful headpieces. There are t-shirts for sale behind the mannequin heads. A sign reading Amazulu where cultures meet hangs above off to the left.

Amazulu at Reading Terminal Market. Photo by J. Ryan for PHLCVB.

Bassetts Ice Cream

Bassetts Ice Cream was the first merchant to sign a lease at Reading Terminal Market in 1892. It remains owned and operated by the original family to this day. Flavors vary from classic vanilla to matcha green tea. Their ice cream sandwiches are served on two freshly baked cookies from fellow vendor, Famous 4th Street Cookie Company.

Beiler’s Doughnuts

With nearly 50 flavors of doughnuts to choose from, Beiler’s Doughnuts is a must-visit for anyone with a sweet tooth. Beiler’s uses Pennsylvania Dutch recipes featuring creamy fillings made in nearby Lancaster, Pennsylvania. These doughnuts are among the most sought-after desserts in Philadelphia. The light, fluffy confections are rolled, fried, and decorated by hand daily. You can watch how the doughnuts are made while you wait for your turn to order.

Careda’s Caribbean Cuisine

Take your tastebuds on a trip to the Caribbean and savor authentic jerk chicken at Careda’s Caribbean Cuisine. This Black-owned business serves up dishes packed with flavor seven days a week. From jerked chicken, pork and turkey, to oxtails and seafood, Careda’s brings all of the Caribbean staples to one spot. Sauces and spices are also available for purchase.

A sign with a beach as the background hangs above a counter. A man in a blue and white plaid shirt sits and eats at the counter.

Careda’s Caribbean Cuisine at Reading Terminal Market. Photo by J. Ryan for PHLCVB.

Carmen’s Famous Cheesesteaks & Hoagies

No Philadelphia visit is complete without trying a cheesesteak. Carmen’s Famous Cheesesteaks and Hoagies has been serving up the iconic sandwich in Reading Terminal Market since 1983. Don’t miss their signature takes on the sandwich such as The Franklin, a cheesesteak topped with American cheese and Philadelphia cream cheese. The family-owned stand also offers vegetarian cheesesteaks made with seitan instead of beef, as well as an impressive selection of hoagies.

Down Home Diner

Down Home Diner‘s menu is inspired by meat and produce available in the Philadelphia area. Many breakfast, lunch, and dinner items are made using ingredients from vendors throughout the market. The diner serves scrapple (a regional dish made of cornmeal and pork scraps) in the form of fries, accompanied by a sweet apple dipping sauce.

Dutch Eating Place

Grab a seat at the counter of the Dutch Eating Place. Here you can enjoy a big breakfast complete with scrapple, a turkey dinner with the trimmings, or a plump apple dumpling served with a pitcher of heavy cream. The items on the menu are made in the traditional Pennsylvania Dutch fashion, meaning everything is made from scratch and with local ingredients.

El Merkury

El Merkury, whose original location can be found in Rittenhouse Square, brought their menu of Central American street food to the Reading Terminal Market. They specialize in Guatemalan, Salvadorian, and Honduran food made from scratch. Pupusas, taquitos, chips and guacamole, roasted corn with cilantro crema, and queso fresco are all on the menu. Not to be missed are the made-to-order churros. You can also add a churro to a cup of soft serve ice cream with your choice of toppings.

Famous 4th Street Cookie Company

The Famous 4th Street Cookie Company has been serving fresh-out-of-the-oven cookies at Reading Terminal Market since 1982. These warm, homemade cookies have been named some of the best in the country. Flavors include chocolate chip, peanut butter, oatmeal raisin, snickerdoodle, and more. Cookies are available individually, in assortments, or in gift boxes.

A black and white checkered tile wall lines underneath a counter with cookies in a glass case off to the left and right. A large sign hangs over the stall reading, Famous 4th St Cookie Co

Photo courtesy of Famous 4th Street Cookie Company.

Flying Monkey

More sweets await at Flying Monkey, which is known for its butter cake and an impressive lineup of whoopie pies. The centrally-located stand also offers fresh cookie and pie dough, along with fully decorated cakes, cupcakes, cookies, brownies, and other confections.

Hershel’s East Side Deli

Hershel’s brings a New York-style Jewish deli experience to the Reading Terminal Market. Take your pick of sandwiches piled high with corned beef, pastrami, brisket, and turkey that is carved to order. Other classic deli offerings include bagels and lox, matzo ball soup, and latkes.

Ma Lessie’s Chicken and Waffles

Black-owned business Ma Lessie’s Chicken and Waffles serves the ultimate comfort foods: baked mac and cheese, collard greens, peach cobbler, and of course, chicken and waffles. Customers can ask for their chicken fried or baked. You can also choose from fruit-infused or specialty waffles to really shake things up.

A stall is shown inside of Reading Terminal Market. A black and white sign with a woman's face drawn on it hangs above the stall and reads, "Ma Lessie's Chicken & Waffles." A woman in a winter coat stands off to the left in front of a register. There is another woman standing behind the register, helping the customer.

Ma Lessie’s Chicken and Waffles at Reading Terminal Market. Photo by J. Ryan for PHLCVB.

Miller’s Twist

The soft pretzel is one of the most well-known snacks in Philadelphia. Pretzels are prepared to perfection at Miller’s Twist, which rolls, twists, and fries the dough by hand each day. Traditional twisted pretzels are available, for sure, but don’t miss their savory options. They offer cheesesteak or bacon, egg, and cheese wrapped in pretzel dough. And if you’re craving something sweet, try their cinnamon sticks.

Molly Malloy’s

Molly Malloy’s offers a complete pub experience in the heart of Reading Terminal Market. Stop here for draft beer and dishes featuring ingredients found throughout the market. Not to be missed are the house made biscuits, served with a rotating lineup of fresh jams, or the jumbo pop tarts..

Old City Coffee

With two stands inside of Reading Terminal Market, Old City Coffee is a must-visit for locally roasted coffee. 100% of the company’s Arabica coffees are roasted inside and the market. Bags of beans are available to purchase for those looking to bring some home.

A pile of coffee beans are shown spilled out on a counter. An open bag is off to the back left. A coffee cup filled with coffee is in front to the right.

Old City Coffee.

Pearl’s Oyster Bar

Drawing from Philadelphia’s history as a port city, Pearl’s Oyster Bar is a go-to vendor for seafood classics such as snapping turtle soup or oyster stew. Fresh seafood is available for breakfast and lunch, with options like crab cakes benedict, fish tacos, and oyster sliders.

Pennsylvania General Store

Consider this your one-stop shop within the market. The Pennsylvania General Store is a great place to pick up a gift, souvenir, or sweet treat. Known for its collection of Pennsylvania-made products, this vendor is where you can stock up on Tastykakes, chocolate covered pretzels, and other baked goods.

Really Reel Ginger

Black-owned business Really Reel Ginger is known for its ginger-based beverages, based on an old family recipe. Their drinks are made with ingredients like fresh ginger, hibiscus, tamarind, baobab, mint, and lemon. These beverages are packed with antioxidants.

A wooden stall inside of Reading Terminal Market is shown. A man is standing behind the counter. The counter is filled with items and a fridge with drinks.

Really Reel Ginger at Reading Terminal Market. Photo by J. Ryan for PHLCVB.

Sweet T’s Bakery

Sweet T’s Bakery is the first Black-owned bakery in Reading Terminal Market’s history. They are known for their sweet potato treats. The bakery offers sweet potato pies, cakes, cheesecakes, and cupcakes, along with signature drinks. Customers have the option to order their sweet potato pie with a traditional butter crust or a graham cracker crust. Pair those sweet snacks with a cold glass of homemade iced tea or lemonade.

A bakery station is shown inside of the Reading Terminal Market. The sign outside of the stall reads Sweet T's Bakery. There are pink and white signs.

Sweet T’s Bakery at Reading Terminal Market. Photo by J. Ryan for PHLCVB.

Tommy DiNic’s

When it comes to sandwiches, Philadelphia is best known for its cheesesteak. But another option that is popular among locals is the roast pork sandwich. It traditionally features juicy cuts of pork, broccoli rabe, and sharp provolone on a freshly baked roll. Tommy DiNic’s serves one of the most mouthwatering roast pork sandwiches in the city. Other sandwich options on the menu include roast beef, Italian sausage, and meatball.

Neon signs hang from the ceiling. One to the right reads DiNic's Roast Pork & Beef. There is a bustle of people surrounding the stall inside of the market. There are bright red lights hanging over the counter where people are eating and ordering meals.

Reading Terminal Market. Photo by K. Huff for PHLCVB.


Looking for more things to do in Philadelphia? Check out our things to do page.