A friend recently wanted to visit her brother in a suburban Philadelphia hospital and asked if I would come along for the ride to keep her company. She told me we'd stop at the famous Philadelphia 9th Street Italian Market for a quick lunch before heading home, so I was excited for a chance to see what that market was all about. I love visiting ethnic markets and in the past I've blogged about many different ethnic markets in Brooklyn, NY and also the Bronx's Arthur Ave Italian Market, so I was curious to see if the Philly Market would measure up to my expectations.
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It certainly did! I learned Philadelphia’s Italian market was the oldest and largest working outdoor market in the United States. Located in the heart of this historic Pennsylvania city for over one hundred years, the Italian Market is located on 9th Street and runs from Wharton Street to Fitzwater Street. The market features bright colorful metal awnings which cover the sidewalks where vendors of fruit, vegetables, fish, and housewares, both inside and outside on wooden tables, and conduct business year round. Ground floor shops in traditional Philadelphia row houses line the street. Many owners still live above their shops. The broad awnings across the sidewalks shield outside market shoppers from sun, rain and snow.
There is definitely a wonderful old world patina appearance to the storefronts and streets. The area continues to attract new immigrants, as there are now a number of Asian and Mexican run businesses which have joined the traditional Italian shops in the market. The market hours of operation are Tuesday through Saturday, 9 AM to 5 PM and Sunday 9AM to 2 PM.
We stopped at Paesano's, located at 1017 South 9th Street, for what they describe as a "Philly style sandwich with Italian inspiration." Click on the highlighted words to look at their unique sandwich menu!
Paesano's may be a small, casual counter service establishment, but they are famous for their home made lamb sausage and Sicilian style chick-pea pancakes. They have won numerous awards for being the Philly's best sandwich shop and for having the best "hoagie" in Philadelphia. My friend and I both ordered their "Zawzeech" sandwich, which was made with a crusty Liscio bakery sesame seed bread, sweet Italian sausage, caramelized peppers and onions, sharp Provolone and pepperocinos. It was a delicious and hearty meal!
We wanted to beat rush hour traffic back to New York, so we did not have too much time to shop in the market, but one place I had to see was the legendary Fante's Kitchen Wares Shop, located at 1006 South 9th Street. It has been in the Italian Market since 1906, and is one of the United State's oldest and most distinguished resources for cook wares. Julia Child, Emeril Lagasse, Jacques Pepin, Lydia Bastianich, and Guy Fieri are among the famous chefs who have shopped here.
It was jam packed with a full selection of cookware, cutlery and many thousands more quality products and kitchen utensils for both professional chefs and home cooks. I went into sensory overload just looking at every imaginable gadget, pasta maker, serving dish, bottle, baking pan, appliance, rolling pins, etc. I was so overwhelmed that I wanted to spend hours just looking around, and I couldn't decide on what to buy! I'm making a list so the next time I visit I will be prepared. Fante's has an online catalog of just a small portion of their goods, but I think you will agree that if you can't find what you are looking for at Fante's, you can't find it anywhere else!
The Philadelphia Italian Market is definitely worth a visit as it is a fun shopping and dining experience!
I'm linking this post to "Outdoor Wednesday" on Susan's Blog A Southern Daydreamer
"Rednesday" on Sue's blog It's A Very Cherry World
Foodie Friday on Michael's blog Designs by Gollum
Many thanks to all the hosts!