Saturday, February 04, 2012

Vendors Lining Up For RTM: Wursthaus Schmitz, Nut Vendor

New temporary seating to become Wursthaus Schmitz
With work on additional leaseable vendor space at the Reading Terminal Market scheduled to wrap up by early April as part of the Avenue D project, General Manager Paul Steinke is busy lining up vendors to fill the new spots.

The latest announcement is that the owners of Brauhus Schmitz will open a German food shop -- Wursthaus Schmitz -- in the general area of where the Spice Terminal had been located, at the intersection of Center Court and Avenue D, opposite the new La Cuchina at the Market. They'll sell prepared food for consumption at the market and take-away, deli meats, as well as imported products, including mustards.

The market has been without wide-ranging German food products (beyond the limited Pennsylvania Dutch merchant offerings) since Siegfried's departed in 1990. Steinke has sought to fill that niche for years (Rieker's of Fox Chase declined the opportunity shortly after Siegfried closed). 

Owners Kelly Schmitz-Hager and Doug Hager are hot to trot and hope to be open by Memorial Day.

(I heartily welcome the renewal of a German food purveyor at the market, but it raises a question about the sudden mushrooming of German restaurants in center city. Once upon a time the only German restaurant around was Ludwig's Garten on Sansom. When it closed we were Gem├╝tlichkeit-less. Now, however, we've got Brauhaus Schmitz, Frankford Hall, and the newly opened Bierstube in Old City. Even Jose Garces and has threatened to get into the act with a Wurstmacher in the old Letti Deli on 13th Street.) 

Spice Terminal Successor Nears Dotted Line

Although negotiations are not completed, Steinke is optimistic to sign a new bulk spice vendor, who would occupy space beneath the market's administrative offices one aisle north of center court. The prospect is a long-standing suburban vendor of nuts, spices, herbs, coffee, grains, and condiments -- the same lines carried by the Spice Terminal. Looking at the potential vendor's existing website, it appears this outfit has greater depth of stock than Spice Terminal's.

Steinke said he decided to go after the suburban vendor because of its 30 years of experience, which trumped an otherwise attractive offer from employees of the Spice Terminal. He acknowledged that part of his decision mix was the tens of thousands of dollars it would cost the market to move the Spice Terminal to a new location, as required by the Avenue D Project. Extensive carpentry for the shelving would have accounted for much of that cost; a new vendor under a new lease is responsible for those costs.

Steinke also expects to sign Valley Shepherd Creamery within the next few week. In addition to selling its great artisinal cheeses (primarily sheep, but some cow and goat and mixed milk cheeses), Valley Shepherd plans to make fresh cheese on-premises.

With Spice Terminal's closing last Sunday, Steinke made quick work to turn it into additional seating, if only on a temporary basis, just in time for the last two days of the auto show. The extra seating will stay in place for the flower show in early March, than give way for Wursthaus Schmitz.


Anonymous said...

Brauhaus Schmitz's success led to the other places opening. German Beer gardens have been popping up all over NYC as well. It is a new trend that will fizzle. Not to worry though, Frankford Hall is a nice Beer Garden but is not a restaurant. Bierstube doesn't know what they are yet. Garces' place (if it ever opens) isn't really German but more of a place to buy sausages. Hop Angel hasn't hit the German food right, at the end of the day there is still only 1 German "Restaurant" in the city. There is plenty of room for German themed drinking establishments in this city, we already have 50 Irish bars and there are more people in Philly of German decent than Irish.

Anonymous said...

Let's hope the "suburban" purveyor of nuts, spices and coffee is Ardmore's Head Nut. They are awesome. They had a brief stint at East Falls Market until it closed, and that exposure won me over as a lifetime coffee customer (French Roast, mmmm). But I'm tired of traveling to Ardmore and bumping up against the Snooty McSnoots. Here's hoping.

Anonymous said...

I am truly sad to see the Spice Terminal go. I loved picking through the spices and specialty condiments and thought the employees were always lovely.

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