With few exceptions, I have eaten breakfast at Reading Terminal Market almost every Saturday of my entire life. Even after moving to the suburbs, Reading Terminal breakfast remained a family tradition.
At Penn, to fulfill my nostalgic yearnings, I only need to make a short trip to 12th and Arch. But even over the course of 20 years of weekly breakfasts, I’ve never gone to the iconic Dutch Eating Place. The long lines and nominal reference to the Pennsylvania Dutch always made this spot seem like such a tourist trap. As a local, I still feel like Eating Place is a tourist trap, but a rare tourist trap with satisfying eats.
Considering the large crowd, the line moves quickly enough, but since all the seating is at the counter, big parties repeatedly get passed over. The menu is mostly classic diner fare. Everything is well done, but nothing to write home about. The blueberry pancakes ($3.95 for a not–so–short stack of two) are sweet and indulgent — doused in butter and full of fruit that tastes local. The eggs ($4.50 for two with a side of scrapple) were perfectly cooked — no small feat — but even having been raised on scrapple I still found the deep–frying to be completely unnecessary.
The highlight of the meal was the Dutch Eating Place’s much–deserved claim to fame: the hot apple dumpling ($2.80). Although technically a dessert, I wasn’t going to let a little thing called the early hour keep me from giving in to temptation. A whole apple is cored, baked in a pie dough encasement and served with whipped or heavy cream. The gooey result smells like the holiday season and tastes like the most decadent dish ever to claim affiliation with an apple.
As a culinary landmark, the Reading Terminal has many more exciting options for breakfast. But if you’re in the mood for classic fare — or an almost–apple pie — the Dutch Eating Place is worth the wait.
The Dutch Eating Place Reading Terminal Market 12th and Arch St. Hours: Wednesday 8 a.m–3 p.m. Thursday–Saturday 8 a.m.–5 p.m. Don't Miss: Hot apple tart Skip: Scrapple