- Barb. H. May 3, 2000 11:10 AM
Sorry if I seem ill informed, but I'd love to know more about the Italian Market. Is it like Reading Terminal Market (which I managed to find on my last trip to Philly)? Is it nearby, open weekends? The mentions in your various posts make it sound intriguing, so I'd like to be able to find it the next time I visit.
Since no one more well informed has answered yet, I will try. It's at 9th and something in South Philly. It's a number of blocks south of South, - maybe 6 blocks?
You can't miss it. It's not like Reading Terminal in that it is outside, under overhanging roofs. It's much rougher with trash and such along the curbs. The guys selling the stuff are also sometimes a little rough and in a hurry, but it's all part of the ambiance. There are stores along the street - spices, Fante's, etc. Plus there are some Italian bakeries in the area and meat stores. My husband must get his pork roast sandwich when we go. Also, unfortunately a fair number of junk stores and stands. I haven't been there much so I am not the best source of info. It's open on Saturdays - I don't think on Sundays. It's best to go in the morning - if I remember, it seems to start shutting down in the afternoon.
Again, I haven't been there in a while. I must make a trip now that the weather is good. It's fun to walk through, but again it is NOTHING FANCY!
And I might add, the produce is very inexpensive, but the sellers generally won't let you pick through their wares. You tell them what you want, and they pick it out ang bag it for you. And it's "traditional" to expect a few less then choice specimens among your purchase. As they get to know you, you get better produce, and eventually they may even let you pick your own out.
The cookware store is called Fante's, and it is very good. I might not agree that it's the county's best, but so what, it's the best I've seen in the area. Much better than the Kitchen Kapers outlets you see around here.
During Philadelphia's annual The Book And The Cook festival, walking tours are sometimes run to the Italian Market, with "backstage" visits to various shops, along with samples. Highly recommended!
the Italian market is located primarily on 9th street between Washington and Catharine, but it spills out onto surrounding blocks, so feel free to explore. It's generally still reasonably priced, though, in my opinion, some vendors are starting to cater to the suburban white-collar demographic (yuppies), which means correspondingly raising prices to what that market is willing to bear. One thing I've always liked is the Chevaletti (sp?) at Cappucio's meats. They're thin pork sausage on a wheel, stuffed with parsley and provolone.