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If you’re restarting your commute into Center City, or find yourself near 12th and Arch streets early in the day, don’t miss the chance to stop into Reading Terminal for a quick and filling breakfast.
One of the country’s oldest and largest public markets, the historic indoor bazaar is probably best known for lunch or groceries. But doors open daily at 8 a.m., and several stands have special morning menus.
To-go options are varied, with dishes that tilt sweet or savory, fillings that are meaty or plant-based, and origins that range from Amish to Honduran. Best part: they’re all easy on the wallet.
Since mornings are often frenzied, we scoped out the scene in advance. Here are five picks for choice breakfast options at Reading Terminal Market.
Breakfast roll-ups at Miller’s Twist
Soft pretzel, but make it breakfast. This stand has served the local twist on egg-and-cheese since it opened 12 years ago.
Owner Roger Miller said he was inspired by Amish markets that carry similar morning snacks, but strived to make his more balanced, so the pretzel doesn’t overpower the egg. “We try to keep a really thin amount of dough, and I think we do it the best around.”
Inside that baked exterior is a fresh-cooked scrambled egg, cheese, and optional meat. Choices include bacon (most popular), sausage, and turkey sausage, which also has many fans, Miller said. “It’s got a little bit of a kick.”
Price, which varies according to ingredients, tops out at $4 per piece. That’s cheap enough for everyday eating, according to customer Danielle Earley. “I love pretzels!” explained the North Philly resident, who said the roll-ups have become part of her morning routine
Take note: the breakfast roll-ups are only available through 10:30 a.m.
S’mores donut at Beiler’s
New flavors are always popping up at the counter the Beiler family has operated since 1984, when current co-owner Kevil Beiler’s grandparents became some of the first Amish merchants in the market.
Kevin now runs the stand with his brother Keith and father Alvin, who thought up the campfire treat as their summertime seasonal. “We were like, ‘Could we somehow do a s’more — and what would that look like?’”
The end result sees a thick chocolate frosting topped with graham cracker pieces and a full toasted marshmallow at center. Choose from two variations: one with a peanut butter cream filling and one without.
Those join more than 40 other daily varieties, all made on site as you watch. “Our dough is wetter, so it’s more fluffy,” Kevin Beiler said, explaining the treats’ famously airy texture, “so after it’s fried, the dough itself is not as heavy and dense.”
Donuts at the popular stand — where there is often a line — sell for $1.50 apiece, $8 per half dozen, or $15.25 for a full complement. The s’mores flavor will be available until Labor Day.
Breakfast baleada at El Merkury
In the four months since opening at the market, the Central American breakfasts from this outpost of a Center City fast casual have gained a devoted following. No surprise: they’re not found many places around Philadelphia.
“People actually come here just to have our pupusas and the baleadas,” said manager Natalie Rangel. “And everyone’s just so excited.”
A common Honduran street food, the baleada is almost like a quesadilla, Rangel explained. “It’s a homemade flour tortilla, refried beans, mozzarella cheese and a fried egg in the middle.” It comes topped with sour cream and cotija cheese for $10. The breakfast pupusa sees a veggie- and cheese-stuffed, griddled cornmeal patty topped with a fried egg.
Owned by Guatemalan immigrant Sofia Deleon, the stand is run entirely by women and people of color, according to Rangel, who said she appreciates the atmosphere. “It’s fun to work in an environment where you all get along and respect each other.”
Both this and the 2104 Chestnut St. location serve a variety of dishes originating from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador — but only the market stand offers breakfasts, available through 11 a.m.
Nutella crepes at Profi’s Creperie
With the thin vanilla pancake folded around chocolate-hazelnut spread and dusted with sugar, this decadent breakfast option could double as dessert.
When owner George Profi learned how to make crepes from his Albanian grandmother, they were usually savory and filled with vegetables like spinach, onions and tomato. But since opening his market stand in 2004, he’s found the sweet versions to be best-sellers.
George’s son, Ornel Profi, said he grew up learning from his father as they took care of the stand.
“It was awesome,” he said. “I learned to cook so much at such a young age…I built up such a great work ethic just from that.”
Crepes are also available with classic breakfast fillings — think sausage, egg and cheese. But Nutella remains the most popular on the menu, Ornel said. Customers can choose a solely nutella version for $5, or add bananas and strawberries to the filling for $8.
Sausage, egg and cheese at LUHV Vegan Deli
According to manager Jazmin Turner, the breakfast sandwich is the top seller on the menu at this plant-based stand, which opened in the market in 2018.
The sausage consists of steel cut oats, flaxseed and brown rice, a mix that’s created in Hatboro, Pa., where LUHV has a sit-down location. The patties are then assembled on site, grilled, and paired with vegan cheese and an egg-like tofu puree. For the bagel, you can choose regular or gluten free.
All told, the $8.50 combo tastes pretty similar to a meat version, except for the texture of the egg. “It’s kind of hard to find good vegan breakfasts, that’s why people come here,” Turner said.
Staffer Jordan Hartsfield likes the sandwich with ketchup and hot sauce. They don’t eat dairy or eggs, which makes it tough to find breakfast on the go. “That’s usually the hardest thing to find around town,” Hartsfield said