The trademark savory aroma wafting from the vendor stalls at Reading Terminal Market has reached all the way to the Midwest.
The American Planning Association (APA), a Chicago-based nonprofit, tapped the terminal as one of the "10 Great Public Spaces in America for 2014." The group will make its official announcement this morning.
The list is part of its yearly "Great Places in America" program, which acknowledges the country's best streets, public spaces and neighborhoods. The group makes its choices based on a specific criteria, such as places ingrained with culture, historical significance, community involvement and vision.
Carol Rhea, APA president-elect, said what stood out about the terminal was the 80-odd vendor spaces, "and all of those are 100 percent locally owned and run."
"What I look for, what my husband and I crave, is authenticity and local culture and flavor," she said. "We love the food items that are unique to Philadelphia. That's what attracts us. This is local, this is Philly, this is different."
Paul Steinke, Reading Terminal general manager, called the terminal a combination of "history and food and culture, the likes of which you don't find under one roof in many places in this country."
In regards to the terminal's vision, so far, he said, the market has created new vendor spaces. But expansion-wise, it's maximized its footprint.
So, why not build an addition on top of the market?
"It's an idea that has been talked about informally," Steinke said. "And it's something where we'd have to partner with the Convention Center, and there's really no immediate plans to do that, but it's a very intriguing vision."
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