With all of the choices of food available at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, it can be difficult to figure out what to eat at a Phillies game, especially if you don’t visit often. The ballpark has four different kinds of cheesesteaks, BBQ sandwiches, fries, funnel cakes and on and on.
So as someone who has been to the home of the Phillies a few times and has learned about all of the food choices, I’ve picked out three that I would highly recommend to someone visiting for the first time. None of them are items featured at Tony Luke’s or Campo’s; nothing against them, but if you’re in Philly and have the time, it might be better to visit those actual restaurants for their specialties. Neither is terribly far from the ballpark.
Here we go—three great food items at Citizens Bank Park:
The Schmitter – The Schmitter is a variation on the classic Philly cheesesteak that was made famous by a Philly tavern named McNally’s. And no, it isn’t named after Mike Schmidt.
A Schmitter contains beef, cheese, salami, tomatoes, onions and Schmitter sauce (similar to thousand island), and it’s placed on a Kaiser roll rather than the submarine version. It’s the tomatoes and sauce I think that make it work so well, but it’s a great blend of flavors all around and it’s great for someone who really wants to sample Philly.
The Schmitter can be found near the left field entrance on the lower level, tucked underneath the escalator so you have to look for it a bit. It’s got a cool diagram at the stand of how the sandwich is made.
Chickie’s and Pete’s Crab Fries – Chickie’s and Pete’s is a chain of taverns in the Philly and South Jersey areas, and they’re even in PNC Park in Pittsburgh now, so they’re becoming less of a local thing. The crab fries are a very popular delicacy.
Crab fries are thin crinkle-cut fries jiggled in an Old Bay type of seasoning (although they once informed me that it’s not Old Bay itself), and served with a cup of cheese sauce that is something of a mixture of American cheese and ranch dressing. You’ll want an extra cup of the cheese sauce, even though it costs a couple bucks. The crab fries can be found in Ashburn Alley on the right field side. The lines get long, but they move fast.
If you’d like to save a buck or two and not wait in line, you can visit the nearby Chickie’s and Pete’s on Packer Avenue and order them there. They’ll come with two cups of sauce and they’re a few bucks cheaper. Then take the Taxi Crab shuttle to the ballpark.
The Bull Dog – Former Phillie star Greg “Bull” Luzinski sits at his perch at Bull’s BBQ, also in the right field area of Ashburn Alley. He greets and poses for pictures with fans who buy a sandwich or other items from his very large BBQ stand.
But even then, the best part of Bull’s BBQ is the food…turkey and beef and large “Bull Dog” kielbasa sausages cooked on a huge grill in full view. Everything I’ve had from Bull’s is great…and I’ve actually sampled more from Bull’s than Boog’s in Baltimore…but the extra large “Bull Dog” is a great variation on baseball’s perfect food. No sense in settling for that puny $4 hot dog.
And you can shake the Bull’s hand and take a picture of his classic Phillies jersey too.
There you go…some guidelines to work with if you’re visiting Citizens Bank Park for the first time. This isn’t to say that there isn’t anything else worth trying—most all of it is good—but these are my three favorites and what I would recommend to first time visitors wanting a real taste of Philly to go with their Citizens Bank Park experience.