Citizens Bank Park Food:
Tip#1 – The Schmitter
What, you say? The Schmitter? Over Tony Luke’s roast pork and provolone? Over the Campo’s “Heater” sandwich? The Bull’s BBQ turkey leg or Chickie’s and Pete’s fries? The Schmitter, with all of these other goodies at Citizens Bank Park? What the heck is a Schmitter, anyway?
Well the Schmitter is every bit as tasty as all of the above goodies, and it doesn’t get quite the accolades and trumpeting that they do. Maybe it’s product placement…all the others are featured prominently in Ashburn Alley at Citizens Bank Park, while the Schmitter is hidden in a small stand near the left field gate. Or maybe people just don’t know what a Schmitter is, so it fights for recognition in a ballpark stocked with outstanding food choices.
So, to your question about what the heck a Schmitter is. Like the offerings from Tony Luke’s and Campo’s, the Schmitter is another local delicacy, born at the venerable McNally’s Tavern in the Chestnut Hill area of Philly. It is something of a cheesesteak, but far enough away to have a different name.
Yes, there’s steak and cheese—but there’s also grilled salami, fried onions, tomatoes, and the Schmitter sauce (something like thousand island dressing), all on a Kaiser roll. If you’d like a diagram of the sandwich, McNally’s has a (copyrighted) map of it on their website and at its Citizens Bank Park stand.
To this observer anyway, what makes the sandwich is the mix of the sauce and tomatoes. This gives the Schmitter a pleasant juiciness not found in most cheesesteaks. And the salami doesn’t hurt things, either.
In case you’re wondering, no, the sandwich isn’t named after Phillies great Mike Schmidt. The name comes from a frequent customer of McNally’s who requested his sandwich this way. He washed it down with a Schmidt’s beer, so the sandwich became the Schmitter. (This makes the Schmitter at least 24 years old, since the Schmidt’s brewery closed in 1987. McNally’s has been in business since 1921.)
On McNally’s website, in addition to touting their positive ratings on Yelp, they quote others calling the Schmitter the “planet’s greatest sandwich”. I don’t know about all that, but it’s a pretty good one.
Citizens Bank Park is known more than most ballparks for local flavor. In an arena that features heavyweights Tony Luke’s, Campo’s, Chickie’s and Pete’s, Seasons, Turkey Hill and Planet Hoagie, it’s easy for a less prominent stand selling a less famous variation to get lost in the mix.
But you shouldn’t miss out on trying a Schmitter. It’s every bit as good as the others, with nowhere near the name recognition.
Tip#2 – Tony Luke’s Roast Pork and Provolone
When people come to visit Philadelphia from everywhere on the globe, usually a cheesesteak or four is on their itinerary, and Tony Luke’s is usually among the big names for the city’s most famous delicacy.
Tony Luke’s original location is on Oregon
Avenue not far from the Sports Complex, but they now have several locations in South Jersey, including a couple at the Shore. On the Food Network’s Throwdown With Bobby Flay, Tony himself took on Bobby Flay in a cheesesteak battle and luckily for Flay, Tony won.
At their Citizens Bank Park location, you can get the classic cheesesteak, adorned with that venerable Cheez Whiz and with or without fried onions (Philadelphians shorten “with onions” to simply “wit”, for some reason). And it’s perfectly good, if somewhat overpriced as all ballpark food is. But you can get a cheesesteak at any number of joints in Philly—try that roast pork sandwich.
The roast pork sandwich comes with sharp provolone and an optional and very garlicky broccoli rabe. They’ll usually throw in a hot pepper too, but be careful with this—I wouldn’t eat one of the peppers after they’d been sitting for a few innings (I speak from experience). For an extra buck or two you can get extra broccoli rabe, an extra pepper or a cheese cup (which is usually used for the curly fries).
What do you put on this? Well I would say barbeque sauce if you can find it—and the next time I go to a Phillies game, I promise I’ll look for some! (You could probably find some at Bull's BBQ nearby.) The sandwich is plenty tasty without any additional condiments, though. It is salty, as you can imagine; so you should have a drink of some kind with it.
Like I said, there’s nothing wrong with a Tony Luke’s cheesesteak except that they can be a bit skimpy with the beef (in fairness, Campo’s doesn’t pack the roll full either). But the roast pork sandwich is what really makes Tony Luke’s stand out at the ballpark.Share this...