So far it’s been business as usual for Reading Terminal Market’s Beer Garden in the two or so weeks since longtime market produce vendor Jim Iovine and his brother Vince took it over. But soon that’s all going to change. Iovine expects to close up shop on or around July 1 for some major renovations. Among them are expanding the watering hole’s footprint by a few hundred square feet and installing a full kitchen. When it reopens, it will be rechristened Molly Malloy’s (named after the Iovine’s mother), a sports-y, gastropub-y bar and restaurant. And no, you will no longer be permitted to bring your roast pork sandwich from DiNic’s or your Pad Thai from Little Thai Market in to enjoy with a beer. “Oh god no!” Iovine told Grub Street when asked about Molly Malloy’s outside food policy. “People have been asking us that a lot. It’s going to be Molly Malloy’s Restaurant when it reopens. It’s not going to be the same old beer garden.”
As a consolation, Iovine said he is pressing the market to allow him to sell beer to go, so patrons can enjoy a beer in the market’s center court with any food they want.
Other big changes coming to the beer garden include a 24-tap draught system, a new, center court entrance, several large TVs and a more open atmosphere, with clearer site lines on all sides. Bobby Fisher, who’s helped the Iovines with concessions at Merchantville Country Club, Lombard Swim Club and Bala Country Club, will oversee kitchen operations.