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April 04, 2023

Ranking the best new food available at Citizens Bank Park this season

Ranking the best food available at Citizens Bank Park from Manco & Manco Pizza to Federal Donuts chicken tenders and Charlie Manuel's cheesesteak.

Phillies MLB
Citizens-Bank-Park-Phillies-Cheesesteak-2 Shamus Clancy/for PhillyVoice

In a world where chefs, restaurants and eateries are trying to create the most Instagram friendly dishes possible, it's no surprise that sports stadiums are going beyond the traditional hot dog and burger fare. The Phillies are all about this. 

The Fightins will have their Home Opener on Thursday, April 6 as they look to make their way back to the World Series. When fans arrive at Citizens Bank Park, they will be greeted by new food options all over the stadium. It may seem overwhelming, but I'm here to guide you through it. I did a taste testing down at the ballpark on Monday and I'm here to rank everything I ate for your benefit. 

This is the type of assignment I dream of and after last year's ranking, fans have asked me when the 2023 version was dropping. It's time! Here we go with my rankings...

10. South Philly Disco Fries

Disco-Fries-Phillies-Citizens-Bank-ParkShamus Clancy/for PhillyVoice

As a South Philly native, I was immediately wary of the disco fries with this name. Could they live up to the authenticity of a classic diner dish? These ones had curly fries topped with roast pork, sharp provolone and peppers. Good ingredients, but they were a little soggy. I wasn't a fan. 

I would recommend hitting the Penrose Diner ahead of a Phillies game instead if you're really craving disco fries.

9. 1883 Burger Co. Cheeseburger

Phillies-Citizens-Bank-Park-BurgersShamus Clancy/for PhillyVoice

This burger wasn't messy. That's an important element of rating stadium food to me, as I discussed when I reviewed the food that was available at Super Bowl LVII in Arizona back in February. The reason this burger wasn't messy, however, was because the burger-to-bun ratio was so off. It was as if I was eating a bun rather than a burger.

I did, however, like the thousand island, Big Mac-style sauce they had on the burger.

The "1883" branding paying respect to the year the Phillies franchise was founded is a nice touch. 

8. Greens & Grains Gyro

Greens-Phillies-Citizens-Bank-ParkShamus Clancy/for PhillyVoice

So, the next two items on our list are pictured above and are a part of the Phillies' vegan food initiative. I love gyros. I'm all about Mediterranean and Greek street food. This wasn't bad! Nothing special, but it gets the job done. I do worry that it could get a little messy while sitting in your seats during the heat of the summer. How many of us have had a delicious gyro crumble in our hands as we've tried to scarf it down? It happens all too often. 

7. Greens & Grains Vegan Pesto Chicken Parm Sandwich

This is another vegan option. I believe the "meat" used here is seitan. I mean, you can tell that it's seitan and not actually chicken. That's not necessarily a complaint. I am not vegan, but I do enjoy vegan dishes from time to time. I try to keep a diverse palette and am open to new things. 

The difference between seitan here and literal chicken parm is that it's a bit mushy. The bread and pesto sauce were good though.

If you're vegan or vegetarian, the Phillies truly do have some worthwhile food options for you. 

6. P.J. Whelihan's Cheesesteak Egg Rolls

Egg-Rolls-Cheesesteak-Phillies-Citizens-Bank-ParkShamus Clancy/for PhillyVoice

P.J. Whelihan's has long been a staple for me at Sixers games across Pattison Avenue at the Wells Fargo Center. What I love there is that I'll get their boneless wings (I know that's a misnomer, but that's what they call them!) and eat them with a fork, eliminating the messiness that can come with some sporting event meals. I hate eating wings in public to begin with because I look like a complete slob. I'm supposed to do that while surrounded by tens of thousands of people while packed into a little seat? No shot there.

So, these cheesesteak egg rolls were pretty tasty and they're easy to snack on without requiring approximately 400 napkins to clean up after. This would be a great option to share with friends or family or a date at CBP. 

5. Miso Couscous 

Couscous-Philies-Citizens-Bank-ParkShamus Clancy/for PhillyVoice

The Phils are crushing it with their non-meat meals! I've always loved couscous and I'm a latecomer to digging eggplant. It's a little too acidic to eat frequently, but it's good. As you can tell, I put a premium on food not being messy when you're sweating and it's 95 degrees out after you just watched Aaron Nola have a fourth inning meltdown. 

This is something different and out of the ordinary for Philly sports fans. I'd recommend trying something new like this if it hasn't been up your alley previously. 

4. Federal Donuts Fancy Donuts

Federal-Donuts-Phillies-Citizens-Bank-ParkShamus Clancy/for PhillyVoice

Look, I love Federal Donuts, likely too much. Their fancy donuts are killer and I once again inhaled one at CBP on Monday. They're the best.

3. Manco & Manco Pizza

Manco-And-Manco-Pizza-Citizens-Bank-ParkShamus Clancy/for PhillyVoice

I gave Manco & Manco a relatively poor review in my Citizens Bank Park food rankings last year. The pizza they gave me simply was not good. I get your nostalgia for your childhood days down in Ocean City, but, frankly, it was not hitting last spring. This year? It was infinitely better.

I know the recipe itself for the pizza hasn't changed, but it came out so much better. I love cold pizza, but this slice was actually warm compared to the kind of slop they gave media members in 2022. The sauce was nice and thick without being overwhelming. I'm a convert and believer now.

If you're itching to get a pie at a game, I would suggest starting to wait in line immediately after Trea Turner is at bat. Ideally, you could maybe make it back to your seats by the next time he's up. That's the level of fanfare around this pizza joint. 

2. Uncle Charlie's Cheesesteak

Phillies-Citizens-Bank-Park-Cheesesteak-1Shamus Clancy/for PhillyVoice

I'm not a cheesesteak snob. I hate people who are. "Pat's and Geno's are terrible!" No, they're not. They're fine. Almost everything cheesesteak you're going to have in the Delaware Valley is. Have you ever actually eaten there or do you just follow the crowd without every stepping foot in South Philly Times Square down on Passyunk Avenue? Corner pizza shops can have great cheesesteaks, too. You sound like a New Yorker when you raise your nose up to certain segments of greasy meat and cheese combos. You're not drinking a glass of red outside the Eiffel Tower.

Anyway, rant aside, I was eager to try this cheesesteak more than any item. The "Uncle Charlie's" name is indebted to, of course, beloved former Phillies manager Charlie Manuel, who led the franchise to their 2008 World Series title and the most successful era in team history. If you're going to name a cheesesteak after a legend like Charlie, it better actually be good. 

What can separate a great cheesesteak from merely an okay one is the roll. This cheesesteak makes the wise decision to use a Liscio's seeded long roll that tasted just slightly toasted. I love me a seeded roll! There was a great crunch on my first bite and I was sold.

The steak was chopped meat and fairly high quality. They used sharp provolone cheese, which is always a favorite among Philadelphians. Throw some onions on that bad boy too and we have the best cheesesteak I've ever eaten at a sporting event. 

It comes with a bag of Herr's Kettle Cooked chips too. Bang. 

1. Federal Donuts Chicken Tenders

Federal-Donuts-Chicken-TendersShamus Clancy/for PhillyVoice

I believe these debuted in Federal Donuts shops last year. They're some of the best chicken fingers I've ever had, if not the best. I'm not exactly sure which dipping sauces will be available at CBP (if any), but I do wholeheartedly recommend the Everything Rooster sauce. So, so good.

Federal Donuts' tenders have the perfect level of breading with a great crunch encrusting some savory chicken. What more could you ask for? 

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