Cacia's Bakery is making thousands of green rolls for the 'Bird Dog' giveaway from Dietz & Watson

It’s that time of year: Eagles green will be strewn all over tailgates, restaurants, bars, and homes where fans will gather to cheer Philadelphia’s top-seeded playoff run.

What about the food?

Green will be there too, thanks to a pair of family-run local businesses with a combined history of more than 150 years.

Dietz & Watson is launching a promotion to give away “Bird Dogs” — a hot dog that pays homage to Philly hot sandwiches. It includes a Dietz & Watson beef frank, chopped long hots, provolone, crunchy fried onions, and an optional spicy cheddar.

But the key is what holds it all together: the roll made by Cacia’s Bakery, which is shot through with bright kelly green.

Don’t worry — the color doesn’t affect the taste, per Ray Cacia Jr., who runs two of Cacia’s New Jersey locations, including the big baking facility in Williamstown that services all the others.

“It’s basically our same exact roll that we always make,” Cacia Jr. told Billy Penn, “only it’s a little softer, and it’s green.”

Cacia’s Bakery is making thousands of green rolls for the ‘Bird Dog’ giveaway from Dietz & Watson Credit: Courtesy Cacia's Bakery

Opened in 1953 at Mole and Ritner streets, Cacia’s has become a South Philly staple, known for its pizzaz pizza, tomato pie, and Thanksgiving tradition of roasting customer turkeys in its giant brick ovens. Today, the company also has five locations in New Jersey.

Most of the Bird Dog bread will come from the Williamstown bakery, Cacia Jr. said, with 200 to 300 lbs. dough souped up with green food coloring and transformed into around a hundred dozen rolls.

Your chance to try them comes when the Dietz & Watson truck rolls up to various neighborhoods around the city to dole out the free food and other Eagles merch.

So far the Bird Dog truck is slated to be in University City today, in Center City next Thursday, and in South Philly next Friday (see below for more details). After a first-round bye, the Eagles play their first postseason game the following weekend — and if things go well, the truck will keep rolling.

“As long as [the Eagles] keep winning, they’re going to keep giving the stuff away, it’s definitely going to help,” Cacia Jr. said. With thousands of free dogs being handed out, they could even establish another local sports tradition:

“That’s our main thing around here; we eat sandwiches and watch sports.”

The business gets a huge bump around games, especially during the postseason. “Nothing’s quite like the Eagles,” Cacia Jr. said. “People wake up at 6 o’clock in the morning, they’re waiting here for when we open to get their stuff to go tailgate. That doesn’t really happen in any other sports.”

The whole bakery bleeds green. Cacia Jr. said he tries to take his kids to at least one game a season, and one benefit of supplying the food for tailgates is it’s not hard to find an invite to a good one.

That fandom will have to take a bit of a back seat next weekend. Cacia Jr. expects lines out the door, and everyone working to be busy till kick-off. “The playoffs are nuts.”

And if you want green rolls for your own Eagles watch party, well, you might be able to get them.

Feedback on the Dietz & Watson promotion has been so overwhelming and positive that Cacia’s will start offering the rolls directly to customers on game days as well.

“We weren’t actually sure if we were going to even sell them in the store,” Cacia Jr. said. “But now, we got so many calls, we kind of have to.”

Cacia’s Bakery is making thousands of green rolls for the ‘Bird Dog’ giveaway from Dietz & Watson Credit: Courtesy Cacia's Bakery

Dietz & Watson Bird Dog truck schedule

11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 13
3141 Chestnut St. (outside Drexel)

11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 19
1701 JFK Blvd. (outside the Comcast Center)

12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 20
1110 Federal St. (outside Federal Street Burial Ground)

2:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, Jan. 20
1901 Johnston St. (outside the Acme)

Co-workers in South Philly bonded over a trip to University City to get a free ‘Bird Dog’ on January 13 Credit: Kimberly Paynter / WHYY