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In what can only be described as a brazen act of snack food appropriation, Yankee Stadium is serving cups of hot and crispy Crabfries to New York fans.
The concession at the NYC ballpark is an official Chickie’s & Pete’s licensee, not some knock-off operator trying to steal the brand’s Old Bay-dusted potato thunder. Good thing, because the name and recipe for the spice-covered crinkle cuts with white cheddar sauce are registered trademarks, and protected vigorously in court.
Located on the main Yankee Stadium concourse, the Crabfries stand opened at the start of the current MLB season after nearly two years in discussion, according to Joe Carpinella, Chickie’s & Pete’s vice president of operations.
“They are a great organization and really know what makes a great fan experience, just like here in Philly,” Carpinella said of the Yankees. “We have had great success in their minor league team stadiums … and the word got back to the Bronx.”
Despite many Philadelphians’ emotional connection to the Mayfair-invented snack — their origin on Robbins Avenue in Mayfair has been legally defended over the course of several lawsuits — Crabfries are already sold in more than 50 locations across the country, Carpinella said.
The level up to fame dates back to 2007, when the words “crab fries” were combined into one capitalized brand and matched with a special logo. Within two years, there were dozens of locations.
Crabfries’ popularity has mostly eclipsed other national awareness about Chickie’s & Pete’s, although there were several headlines in 2014 about the company’s $8 million payout to settle complaints about wage left. A recent plan to bring sportsbetting to the South Philly restaurant was rebuffed by neighbors.
But the meteoric expansion of the fried and seasoned potato snack continues apace.
Amusement parks have been deemed a good match, and the fries are available at venues in multiple states, including Hershey Park and Dorney Park in Pa., North Carolina’s Carowinds, and Valleyfair in Minneapolis. That last meant it was relatively easy to get them on the concession list for Super Bowl 52 at U.S. Bank Stadium. They’re also in the BB&T Center in Florida and PNC Park in Pittsburgh.
More Crabfries stands are on the way. Starting this fall, ticket holders at Ravens games will be able to snag them from two separate stands at M&T Bank stadium, per Carpinella.
That’s nothing compared to the Linc, which offers fans nearly two dozen opportunities, but something about finding the Philly sports bar specialty in Baltimore feels off. There are plenty of “crab” things in Maryland, did they really need to import another one?
Then again, if you’re a Phillies fan who has gone 90 miles north to catch a game and are missing the lauded food options of Citizens Bank Park, you might welcome a taste of home.
Currently the Yankee Stadium concession doesn’t offer any food items other than the traditional fries and dipping sauce, but that could be coming.
“The response from the fans has been great,” said Carpinella, the spokesperson, “and we look forward to expanding the offerings and locations next season.”