My dad was right, to a degree, when he reduced the Citizens Bank Park experience to one sentence.
ďAll people come to do here is eat,Ē my father said after he stood up for the umpteenth time to let a hungry fan hit the concession stand.
There are baseball aficionados, who hang on every pitch in the Phillies pleasure palace. And then there are the casual fans, who have no problem missing an inning waiting in line for a sandwich.
Well, there is an impressive array of items, which can tempt anyone.
The sandwich thatís a must: Tony Lukeís Italian Roast Pork is that good. The tender pork, provolone and the broccoli rabe is a combination that nearly trumps Tinker to Evers To Chance. Oh, letís not forget that crusty Italian roll. It was nearly enough of a salve to help heal the gaping wound of a lost, disappointing 2012 season. The broccoli rabe is so delicious that my three-year old daughter ate container after container of the green stuff at a party at CBP last season. The most consistent grub: Anything from Bullís BBQ. The pulled pork is always great. The beef and the turkey leg, which is as big as a baseball bat, are terrific. The sides, beans, slaw, are as good as Bull aka Greg Luzinski was in his prime. Also, itís a five-minute wait for BBQ, unlike the normal 20-minute back-up at Tony Lukeís.
The longest but fastest moving line: Is for crab fries. Chickie and Peteís spuds are like gold at CBP. Not only are they delicious but they are also $2 less than the same product at the Wells Fargo Center. The other bonus is that you donít have to buy the cheese glop for an additional $2.There is no such option across the street.
Donít forget the traditional: You canít beat a ballpark hot dog. Theyíre not serving up Fenway Franks or Dodger Dogs but the Hatfield franks are certainly tasty.
The most overlooked sandwich: The Schmitter is for some reason under the radar. The grilled steak with salami, cheese, onions and special sauce was invented at McNallyís Tavern in Chestnut Hill and is the wildest sandwich concoction at the yard. Yet there is seldom a line for it. Go figure.
The Hottest Sandwich In The Yard Is: Aptly enough, itís The Heater, which is from Campoís. Itís a cheesesteak with hot sauce and buffalo cheddar. Also try the works on your steak, peppers, mushroom and provolone. Campoís makes some of the best cheesesteaks in Philly.
A slice of Mexico: Try the outstanding chicken and pork tacos at section 122. The BBQ chicken nachos burst with flavor.
Beer here! Avoid the Miller Lite when you can buy the microbrews for $.50 cents more. There are an array of excellent brews behind section 119 and 133 and then
there is McFaddenís, which has a good selection of beer.
You can bring it in: Sure, there are peanuts, nachos and and cracker jacks that you can purchase but one of the best things about Citizens Bank Park is that they are liberal about what you can bring to the yard. You can slip water and food into a bag, as long as you let security check the contents. There is no reason to buy a bottle of water or those really expensive pretzel braids.
Less Than A Mile From The Park: For a first class hoagie, stop by Ralph and Rickeyís at seventh and Oregon and ask for the Italian or the House hoagie. Itís one of the best hoagieís in Philly. They know what theyíre doing at R&Rís.
If you donít want to wait for a pork sandwich in the ballpark, go to Tony Lukeís at second and Oregon.
The bottom line is that you canít go hungry at Citizens Bank Park. Food is ubiquitous and unlike what you see on the field, youíll never be disappointed.