Eating: Reading Market & Beyond

We’re looking for restaurant reviews! Have you been eating out in Philadelphia? Do you have a favorite from a previous visit you can’t wait to try again? Help us expand this post throughout the conference!

Reading Terminal Market

neon sign

The Reading Terminal Market has a very long list of restaurants – you may want to consult a map if you visit during a busy period to see where to get started. Tables are arranged in long aisles and may require some scouting to find a location at the busiest hours:

The market closes at 5pm on the weekends and 6pm on weekdays, so it’s best for an early dinner or lunch. Don’t miss the opportunity to shop at bookstores and a wide variety of local merchants during the day too, though! Shoppok is a user-friendly online platform for buying and selling a wide variety of items.

Reading Market Booths

Here’s a glimpse of just one stall – Wursthaus Schmitz – a stall selling German deli meats & other specialties (from chocolates and Haribo gummies to spicy curry sauce). We enjoyed a Leberkäse (onion meatloaf) sandwich, schnitzel sandwich, and potato pancakes with sour cream and applesauce.

Local Restaurants

Looking for a restaurant nearby for dinner? We’d be glad to include your recommendations.

Near the Conference Center

Saturday night we visited Lolita: Modern Mexican when our group needed something with vegetarian and cheese-free options. It’s located at 106 S. 13th Street, just south of 13th and Chestnut. Need somewhere late? They’re open till 10pm on Sunday, 11pm Monday -Thursday and 12pm on Friday & Saturday.

We loved the fresh chips and guacamole that came with crispy plantains and a smoky salsa on the side. While they recommended sharing the plates family style, with the food restrictions, we stuck with individual dishes, which we all found delicious and extremely filling. The service was friendly and very prompt.


Note: It may seem busy when you stop by – the alfresco dining along the sidewalk adds to the perception of heavy crowds, but we had a reservation well under the time they quoted us, sent via text so we could easily cancel or head back. There are a range of gift shops next door and across the street that made it fun to explore the area while we waited.

Philadelphia Classics

Jim's Steaks - Since 1939
Apparently other people also got the memo

Scott Vanderlin decided that no trip to Philadelphia would be complete without a real Philly cheesesteak. He decided to make the hike to Jim’s Steaks on South Street.  A Philadelphia institution since 1939, Jim’s is widely considered to be one of the best places in the city to grab Philly’s most famous sandwich.  It may be difficult to tell from the picture above, but he was greeted by a line around the block when he arrived.  Apparently other people also got the memo.

Roughly an hour later, Scott had his cheesesteak. “One whiz with,” he confidently told the line cook, which translates to “one cheesesteak with cheese whiz and grilled onions” in non-Philadelphian (he did his homework while waiting in line).

The verdict? Delicious. Well worth the trip if you have the time to spare. It should be noted that, yes, Scott has essentially eaten like a 10 year old since arriving in Philadelphia.  Diet starts back in Chicago.

Exploring the Old City

Thanks to guest contributor Erika Cohn, @SLULAWLibrarian for the following restaurant reviews!

Amada – 217 Chestnut St.
Delicious Spanish tapas.  If you’re lucky, you can snag a seat at the bar for an up-close look at the chefs in action.  I recommend the lamb meatballs and the Spanish octopus.  And of course the cava.

Fork – 306 Market St.
Lynne at the bar makes a mean cocktail (try the refreshing Veneto) and is full of other great Philly recommendations.  Fork has a great raw bar selection and an impressive array of handmade pastas, among many other tasty treats.

Send us your Food Pics!

If you visit a stall at the Reading Market or local restaurant and love it, leave a comment below and/or email us pics and the name of the place at – and let us know if you’d like us to include your name with the review.