DiNic's To Take Over Ochs' Spot at Reading Terminal Market
Merchants will be playing musical chairs for the rest of the year as the Reading Terminal Market begins its major reconstruction project. One of the first moves will be by DiNic's to the center court stall vacated by Harry G. Ochs & Sons.
Before it's over, expect at least three more center court merchants either to move to new spots along center court or alter their footprint, according to sources who did not wish to be identified because details are not yet settled for any except the DiNic's move, which still awaits signatures. All the subsequent moves, as currently proposed, rely upon the DiNic's relocation.
The market will move Flying Monkey out of its current center court location to create a demonstration kitchen and meeting space along the Avenue D rear wall, and create additional retail space which will require adjustments to existing merchant footprints.
Additional moves of merchants along Center Court could be firmed up and announced as early as next week.
Alert shoppers may have noticed a sign at the now vacant Market Blooms spot on Avenue C, between Giunta's and Coastal Cave, announcing that L. Halteman's will shift its footprint to take over that space, since they will lose part of their existing footage to the Avenue D project. Preliminary plans call for Halteman's deli counter to front on Avenue C. Market Blooms continues to operate its Avenue A space along the 12th Street side of the market.
Paul Steinke, the RTM's general manager, emphasized that the market will retain the existing ratios of purveyors to food court businesses, although the locations within the market are subject to change.
Steinke said he is evaluating applications from a large number of potential vendors encompassing all four categories of merchants: Purveyors, Food Basket, Mercantile and Food Court.
The market's mission statement calls for it to provide a wide variety of produce, meat, fish, bakery and dairy products, and other raw and prepared food. Its Operating Policy Guidelines specify that in filling vacancies general preference be given to growers and purveyors of local and regional produce, and that businesses offering food intended primarily or exclusively for consumption within the market be limited to no more that the greater of one-third of the total businesses in the market, or one-third of the total leasable area of the Market.
DiNic's move will make its operations much more efficient, since Ochs is a considerably larger space and also features a walk-in refrigerator, which will eliminate the need to haul meats from storage areas elsewhere in the market. They will also be able to double seating capacity. A probable addition to the menu will be meatballs.
Since Michael Klein in his The Insider blog today picked up and added to my report yesterday on DiNic's forthcoming move to the vacated Ochs' location, here's the rest of the story (much of it also reported by Michael):
The prime reason for all the musical chairs is Flying Monkey's lease for its center court spot. Originally the market wanted to move Flying Monkey to a new spot where coolers are now located (behind the wall displaying photos from pubic markets around the globe), but that wouldn't be on center court. Flying Monkey proprietor Elizabeth Halen would have been put at a locational handicap, so with the opening of the Ochs' spot, the musical chairs began.
Getting the cupcakerie on center court will be accomplished by moving to the Spataro's spot once they move into DiNic's space. Flying Monkey will get some additional space from The Spice Terminal, which will extend a bit into the current seating area astride the existing Flying Monkey location.
Paul Steinke hopes that the move of DiNic's will reduce congestion at the nexus of center court, which long lines waiting for roast pork sandwiches create a traffic jam from for one or two hours every lunch time. DiNic's additional seating may help as well.