by Elena Bittinger | photography by Walter P. Calahan
Since 1888, Central Market House, a public, local market, has been the heart of York for many people. Designed by architect John A. Dempwolf, he created a Romanesque Revival style building people would appreciate for generations. All one would have to do is step outside and simply look up. For 130 years, it has kept its shape, standing tall, as a reminder that its strength helped revitalize Downtown York with its commercial operations and its availability for community gathering.
Cindy Steele, COO of the Market House, describes the place as a destination spot. She says, “We offer an outside setting and a courtyard with a pond, as well as a large seating area so you can sit and eat your finds.”
After all these years, people have wondered what else has contributed to its sought-after location, other than its beautiful architecture, noted by Barbra Fitz, local vendor and owner of Dennis Fitz Produce.
Barbra added that this “is a nice family atmosphere with lots of children. And many families have a longstanding tradition of coming to market on Saturday mornings to grab breakfast and buy their produce and meats.” She says, “It’s a friendly atmosphere that makes people want to come for a visit.”
Catalina Ruiz, local vendor and owner of Cupcakes & More, shared that this place “is a very historic place and is a melting pot of many cultures. Each stand has its own unique culture and flavors.”
Cindy, too, expressed, “We keep a diverse mix of vendors so that customers have lots to look at and try.” Some diversity Central Market House offers include sushi, gyros, teriyaki, and burritos. Cindy says, “We have everything from crepes, homemade soups and salads, Korean BBQ, burgers, cheese steaks, fried pickles, smoothies, fresh cut fries. We have candles, teas, fresh cut flowers, candy, brooms, baskets, pottery, several artists, and a woodworker on site.”
However, the family-friendly atmosphere and diversity aren’t the only contributions Central Market House has to offer. Vendors, themselves, provide signature specials, along with promotions and special events.
Barbra, a third-generation farmer, and her family farm produce more than 40 different types of fruits and vegetables. She says, “Picking our fruits and vegetables and selling them the next day at York Central Market provides our customers with the freshest possible product,” which is true for their popular Summer strawberries, carrots, “because of their sweet flavor,” and their “beautiful cut flowers from July through October.”
In the Fall, they have other crops to eat and decorate, too, such as pumpkins, gourds, and flowers.
Catalina bakes traditional cupcakes, cakes, cookies, and more, along with seasonal cupcakes and cookies for holidays. But her signature dish “is el pastel de tres leches” or “the three milk cake” either filled with peaches or strawberries,” she says. “The cake is made using a family recipe that has been modified over the years to have the best consistency and flavor.”
She explains that she began making this cake, because she wanted to try it herself, but found nowhere in the area that served it. She then decided to learn how to make it herself, and she did. “It started out as a dessert that my family and I enjoyed, but now I can say it has become a favorite to all those that have tried it.”
As for the Conrad’s Delicatessen, new owners, Laura and Andrew Graver offer an assortment of delicious meats, “domestic and imported cheeses,” a variety of salads, and more. “We also offer our customers freshly made subs and sandwiches on locally made rolls, as well as some extra household staples, including eggs, bread, and butter,” Laura says.
Their favorite product is also their customers favorite, which is their extra sharp, 6-year aged cheddar cheese. “In the coming weeks,” though, she says, “Conrad’s will be launching a new line of beef jerky and snack sticks that will include up to 15 different flavors,” which will, hopefully, become a new customer favorite, too.
Besides these signature specials, Central Market House, also, hosts special events, like Pumpkinfest this October and its monthly First Fridays.
Pumpkinfest, “where all things are pumpkin,” Cindy says, will be on October 20, from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Other vendors will have specials, too, throughout the month celebrating the harvest season.
First Fridays, though, are held on the first Friday of every month from 5 p.m. – 9 p.m. All shops are open, refreshments are available, and live entertainment is provided, creating a fun, friendly, family nightlife. Something that really hasn’t been done with other longstanding traditional market houses.
By melding longstanding tradition seen in the morning with new age tradition seen in the evening, Central Market House has effectively adapted to the new age world, with the hope that the new age tradition will build off the longstanding tradition and create something new and exciting for the people of York to enjoy for years to come.
WHERE TO FIND US!
Central Market House
34 West Philadelphia Street, York
Central Market House is located in a structure that comprises nearly an entire city block. Central Market has entrances on both West Philadelphia Street and North Beaver Street.