Philadelphia, PA

Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia Announces Local Soul Food Vendor

Diana Dopheide

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Reading Terminal MarketJ. Smith/VISIT PHILADELPHIA

Last month, Philadelphia’s Reading Terminal Market launched a new soul food vendor, Ma Lessie’s Chicken and Waffles, serving a variety of comfort food such as chicken wings, macaroni and cheese, vegetables, turkey and peach cobbler.

Ma Lessie’s Chicken and Waffles is owned and managed by Perry Ison, who previously managed KeVen Parker’s Soul Food Café; his cousin Stacy McCarthy is also helping to run

the new market. His soul food business initially began as a food truck back in 2019. After the death of his former employer, Ison inquired about housing his business at the terminal market.

“Perry brings the desirable combination of industry experience, arsenal of authentic recipes, and understanding of Reading Terminal Market to this role,” said Annie Allman, CEO and General Manager of Reading Terminal Market. “We anticipate customers will be excited to hear that someone who knew and learned from KeVen Parker will be continuing the tradition of excellent soul food at the Market. We look forward to having visitors enjoy Perry’s take on soul food.”

The soul food business is named after Ison’s grandmother, and each dish is inspired by her cooking. Other items available for purchase consist of fruit-infused waffles, baked southern turkey wings, rice and gravy, and a waffle ice cream sandwich. The restaurant opened last month and is serving customers seven days a week with both dine-in and carry out options.

Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia is known across the county for being one of the biggest and oldest community markets. The market supports small businesses that represent the city’s history and culture. Reading Terminal Market has been in businesses since 1892 and offers a daily selection of produce to meats, fruits, cheeses, flowers and crafts.

The market was recognized as “One of the 10 Great Public Spaces in America” in 2014 by the American Planning Association, and in 2021, the market was named “Best Public Market” by USA Today’s 10Best.

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Diana Dopheide is a communications graduate from Penn State University. She is an aspiring journalist who loves to write and takes great pleasure in being able to share interesting stories with the local community. Her features include outdoor activities, community and lifestyle news in Greater Philadelphia.

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