You’ve probably heard of Reading Terminal Market as this “ah-mazingg” place you “just have to go to.” But when you walk inside, and that’s assuming you actually venture to try it out, it can be very overwhelming. So we’re bringing you a series of articles called Reading Terminal Exposed that will hopefully dissipate the mystery surrounding this giant food market heaven. We will cover different vendors so you can walk in, walk around, and have a better sense of what you really should eat. First stop: Bassett’s and Meltkraft (aka two of our favorites).
Bassett’s Ice Cream
Bassett’s Ice Cream is America’s oldest ice cream shop. It opened in 1861, and was the first vendor to sign a lease in the new Reading Terminal Market in 1862 (who even knew that ice cream was around back then)? Although Bassett’s is known for its historical, family-owned business, the shop still holds as many Philadelphian’s favorite ice cream shop. Whether it’s a humid, sticky day in July or it’s December and you’re just in the mood for ice cream, this rich and creamy delight will satisfy your sweet tooth cravings (while getting in that dairy and protein, which is always a plus). With over forty different flavors, everyone will find something they like. A common favorite is the peanut butter Moose Tracks, which mixes creamy vanilla ice cream, warm chocolate fudge, and pb cups; what’s not to love? My personal favorite is the double chocolate, which contains 50% more cocoa than the regular chocolate giving the ice cream a rich chocolatey kick. The store also has homemade sorbet and frozen yogurt. If you’re already too full by the time you reach Bassett’s, they have pints that you can take home and save for later. Bassett’s is a definite must try when visiting the Market.
Hours of operation: Mon-Fri: 9am-6pm, Sat: 8am-6pm, Sun: 9am-5pm
Meltkraft (Valley Shephard Creamery & Meltkraft Grilled Cheese):
Warm melted cheese separates as you pull apart the brioche bread of the delicious grilled cheese at Meltkraft. We’re telling you, this grilled cheese could not be more heavenly. Meltkraft is an artisan grilled cheese stand in Reading Terminal that is a product of Valley Shephard Creamery, meaning that the selection of cheeses used in the sandwiches comes from its own old-fashioned creamery.
Each grilled cheese is prepared on the spot and comes out just-grilled with a side of kettle chips. My favorite grilled cheese is the “Brielle” which is made of brie cheese, caramelized onions, cranberry chutney to sweeten it up, and pine nuts to to add some texture. I could eat this sandwich every meal and be content. Whether you try the “Shephard Classic,” spice it up with the “Melter Skelter,” or any other grilled cheese, your taste buds will thank you. Bonus: you can add bacon (and other extras) to any grilled cheese on the menu. Don’t miss Meltkraft when you visit Reading Terminal.
Hours of operation: Mon-Wed: 10am-5pm, Thurs-Fri: 10am-6pm, Sat: 9am-6pm, Sun: 9am-5pm.
Location: 45 North 12th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107