Portnoy and Penn National Make Play to Save Beloved Reading Terminal Market

Written By Katie Kohler on October 22, 2020 - Last Updated on August 5, 2022
Barstool and Penn National Bet on Saving Reading Terminal Market

“One bite. Everyone knows the rules,” is a repeated line Barstool Sports‘ “El Presidente” Dave Portnoy uses during his “One Bite” pizza reviews.

At the Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia, it’s hard to stop at one bite. As one of the largest and oldest public markets in the county, it’s filled with vendors whose specialties take your taste buds to ecstasy.

Portnoy and his pals have been spending a lot of time in the Philadelphia area since the Barstool sportsbook app launched in Pennsylvania in mid-September. He’s been betting, rallying support to save the La Salle baseball program, eating pizza and also weighing in on cheesesteaks.

Reading Terminal in danger of closing

On Oct. 22, he tweeted about his plan to help save the Reading Terminal Market. The 128-year-old market and its vendors have been hit hard by the loss of tourism because of coronavirus. The Reading Terminal Market started a GoFundMe on Oct. 7 to raise $250,000.

Penn National pledges support

Wyomissing-PA based Penn National Gaming acquired a 36% stake in Barstool Sports for $163 million in cash and stock in January 2020. Penn National, through the Hollywood Casino license, launched Barstool Sportsbook in PA. It’s the first state for the highly anticipated app, with more to follow.

In a Thursday press release, Penn National announced its intentions to help sustain operations and support the recovery of the Reading Terminal Market.

“We are proud to support this historic institution, one of America’s largest and oldest public markets,” said Jay Snowden, president and CEO of Penn National Gaming. “When Dave Portnoy first suggested the idea, we jumped at the chance to work together to help save this beloved icon in the heart of Philadelphia.”

Barstool’s Reading Terminal promo

For users making a first-time deposit of $100+ into an account on the recently launched Barstool Sportsbook app, Penn National will match the deposit with a $100 donation to the Reading Terminal Market until it hits its GoFundMe goal of $250,000.

The current remaining balance in the fund was approximately $147,446 as of 4:15 p.m.

Why save the Reading Terminal?

It’s about more than memories, although many have spent days leading up to holidays stocking up on ingredients or getting their “Philly fill” when they are back in town.

The Reading Terminal Market is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that is filled with multigenerational family businesses and local entrepreneurs. It’s also one of the biggest sites for redemption of SNAP benefits in Pennsylvania and provides educational opportunities for low-income Philadelphia youth, including after-school and summer programs.

According to its GoFundMe, about 30% of the Market’s foot traffic comes from tourists. COVID-19 has canceled most events at the Pennsylvania Convention Center next door, and tourism has decreased.

Throughout the pandemic, the Market remained open. Many vendors offer curbside pickup/delivery and are available on Mercato.

Favorites at the Reading Terminal

If you are as tired of menu planning and the same old takeout as we are, you are open to suggestions. The Reading Terminal Market has been near and dear to this PlayPennsylvania writer’s heart (and stomach) ever since her father would take her there when she was a kid, and she still makes the trip at least once a month.

I won’t pick a winner or favorite prop bets for tonight’s New York Giants vs. Philadelphia Eagles game, but I will give you my favorite places at the Reading Terminal.

  1. DiNic’s
  2. Dutch Eating Place
  3. Hershel’s East Side Deli
  4. Umi Seafood and Sushi Bar
  5.  Sweet Nina’s
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Written by
Katie Kohler

Katie Kohler is a Philadelphia-area based award-winning journalist and Managing Editor at PlayPennsylvania. Katie especially enjoys creating unique content and on-the-ground reporting in PA. She is focused on creating valuable, timely content about casinos and sports betting for readers. Katie has covered the legal Pennsylvania gambling industry for Catena Media since 2019.

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