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Updated 3:40 p.m.
The more than 200,000 people expected to descend on the Ben Franklin Parkway for the NFL Draft this April are a different kind of crowd than the folks who came to Philly for other recent big events. Whether their team snagged a star or misused a pick, those fans gotta eat.
The NFL is ready.
To provide sustenance during what the league says is the largest free football festival it’s ever created — the whole fan “experience” covers an area spanning the size of 25 gridirons — organizers have lined up an impressive array of local food vendors. Seriously.
“[O]ur goal is to feature some of the best food Philadelphia has to offer,” said NFL spokesperson Kamran Mumtaz. “This includes menu items that local residents would be proud of being represented and that visitors want to try.”
Check and check. A look at the list, which is not finalized and is subject to change, proves he’s not just spouting PR platitudes. Although Billy Penn has heard that some food truck operators were upset they didn’t get chosen to participate after submitting the free application, there’s only so many spots available. The current lineup, which was selected with an eye toward local presence, vending experience and popularity of menu items, is a lot more varied and interesting than some other Parkway festivals (we’re looking at you, Made in America).
Food will be served during the entire NFL Fan Experience, which runs noon to 11 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, April 27-28, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, April 29. So far, here’s what to expect by way of eats:
All Of A Sudden Desserts
Baby Blues BBQ
Chickie’s & Pete’s
The Cow And The Curd
Di Bruno Bros
Dre’s Water Ice And Ice Cream
El Guaco Loco
Joe’s Steaks + Soda Shop
Lulu Bang Wangs
My Four Suns Korean Fusion
Nick’s Roast Beef
Oink And Moo BBQ
Pbon’s Pretzels & Waffles
Philly Pretzel Factory
Quick & Carmichael Barbecue
Texas Wieners Philly
So yeah, plenty of people will probably go gaga for Chickie’s & Pete’s trademarked crabfries with no crab, but they can also get the hookup on killer tacos from Temple fave El Guaco Loco. The Schmitter is never the same as at McNally’s in Chestnut Hill, but the mobile version is sure to be decent enough to give visitors an idea of why it’s so special. Oink and Moo makes some of the best BBQ in the region, and Di Bruno Bros. will be there repping the high end of South Philly Italian. There’s plenty of solid cheesesteak options, too, from Joe’s to Tony Luke’s, so unless you really want to battle traffic, there’s no need to drag visitors out to Roxborough.
And of course, since Dannon Oikos Triple Zero is the sponsor of the whole event, there will also be yogurt. Probably?
Update: The NFL confirms there will be free samples.