An innovative farm-to-table venue is making its debut at Penn Street Market in the heart of downtown Reading.
As the market closes each Thursday in September, Urban Bistro will open as a pop-up outdoor bistro, serving a three-course meal using fresh, locally sourced ingredients from Penn Street Market vendors and artisans. The dinners will be presented by Adam Cocuzza, co-founder of Say Cheese Restaurant and Cheese in West Reading, and Neil Patel, owner of Momma Patel’s, a vendor at Penn Street Market.
The concept for the Urban Bistro was created by Lucine Sihelnik, manager of the Penn Street Market, with the help of Cocuzza and Say Cheese.
The Penn Street Market started in 2008 at the 800 block of Penn Street in Reading’s downtown, and in 2014 was in jeopardy of closing.
That’s when Brian Kelly stepped in. Kelly is the executive director of ReDesign Reading, a community development corporation of directors of five authorities who work together to facilitate initiatives that promote community wealth-building in the city. ReDesign Reading investigated and spoke with vendors, and in June moved the market to the center of downtown at Fifth and Penn streets.
According to Kelly, vendors say they have made more money since the move.
“Downtown Reading is an exciting place to be, and it’s great to see local food entrepreneurs adding to that energy,” Kelly said this morning.
The open-air farmers market features a variety of local products, crafts and entertainment. Included are fruit, vegetables, produce, dairy products and breads.
Reservations for the Urban Bistro are required. Tickets include dinner, live music and free garage-parking provided by the Reading Parking Authority. Seating begins at 5:30 p.m. Tickets are $25 per person.
Proceeds from the Urban Bistro will be used to support funding the Penn Street Market for 2016. A portion of the proceeds will be given to the I-LEAD Charter School of Reading.