In Philly, Dollar Dog Night is king, an overflowing scoop of ice cream in a baseball cap is sought after, and a bat full of beer is becoming a new staple.
Except maybe for those who have food allergies.
Ballparks can be a tricky place for people who have at least one of the FDA’s top nine food allergens: milk, eggs, fish, crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, soybeans, and sesame — nearly all commonplace at stadiums.
When Greens and Grains opened at Citizens Bank Park in April, its three veganized versions of typical ballpark food gave people with allergies some new options.
“We just want to make plant-based eating accessible to everyone,” Jared Kane, director of development for Greens and Grains, told Billy Penn. It’s the first plant-based brand at a Philly sports venue, but “we don’t hold ourselves out as a health food store,” he said.
Citizens Bank Park also already had a gluten-free stand, where fans can purchase items that may be safe for them including hot dogs, cheesesteaks, beers, salads and more.
There are also some options at other stands, but you have to know what to look for. Seasonal staffing can hinder the effectiveness of training on cross-contamination guidelines, said Tiffany Leon, assistant director of training and professional programs at advocacy nonprofit Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE).
Aramark, which runs concessions for the Phillies, does recognize the importance of the issue, said district safety manager Leigh Maida.
“Aramark takes food allergens seriously at Citizens Bank Park, and we work very hard to make sure every chef, food handler, and worker at every level is well trained on how to prevent cross-contact … to ensure those with allergies stay safe,” Maida said.
Managers emphasize hand washing, cleaning and sanitizing, and dedicated preparation and cooking spaces for shellfish, according to Maida. Staff also maintain a list of items that contain at least one of the top nine allergens or corn.
It’s also helpful for fans to alert concession staff members of their allergies by asking questions, she said.
Among other big-city ballparks, Citi Field has gluten-free options and a “Vegan City” stand offers stadium favorites sans animal products. Wrigley Field and Fenway Park also offer several gluten-free options and Yankee Stadium has oat milk-based soft serve.
Phillies fans with allergies are welcome to BYO food, per Sheena Weinstein, a director of external communications at Aramark, but if you want to try out what’s available at 1 Citizens Bank Way, here are some concession highlights to get you safely started.
Chk’n parm pesto panini — Greens and Grains
Free of: Eggs, dairy, fish, shellfish, peanuts and sesame
The panini contains a vegan chicken patty, melted vegan mozzarella cheese, marinara sauce and/or cashew pesto. $15.99
Gyro pita sandwich — Greens and Grains
Free of: Eggs, dairy, fish, shellfish, peanuts, sesame, tree nuts
The Gyro Pita features a seitan gyro as an alternative for the typical gyro meat, in addition to vegan tzatziki, tomato, onion and shredded lettuce on a grilled pita. $14.99
Vegan ballpark hotdog — Greens and Grains
Free of: Soy, eggs, dairy, fish, shellfish, peanuts, sesame, tree nuts
A plant-based take on a baseball classic, the Vegan Ballpark Hotdog features a plant-based hot dog on a toasted bun. $5.19
Pizza — Manco’s & Manco’s
Pass and Stow, Miller Lite Liberty, and Section 137
Free of: Gluten
Known for shops at the Jersey Shore, Manco’s & Manco’s, which has three different locations at CPB, offers a gluten-friendly pizza. $16.49 plus $2 for pepperoni or sausage
Hot dog, cheesesteak, beer (!) — Gluten-Free Dedicated Stand
Free of: Gluten
Gluten-free fans can purchase a hot dog ($4.63) or cheesesteak ($14.99) on a gluten-friendly roll, gluten-free beer ($10.99) or a Caesar salad kit ($9.99)
David’s Cookies’ brownie — Gluten-Free Dedicated Stand
Free of: Gluten, nuts, dairy
A gluten-free Brownie from the brand David’s Cookies that also happens to be free of nuts and dairy. $3.99
Federal Donuts at Section 141, Chickie’s and Pete’s at Section 103 in Ashburn Alley
Free of: Eggs
At Citizens Bank Park, chicken tenders, a stadium staple, do not contain an egg wash, making them a potential option for fans who have an egg allergy. Fans can find them at two different locations at the ballpark. $12.49 at Federal Donuts, $13.49 at Chickie’s and Pete’s.
Crab fries — Chickie’s and Pete’s
Throughout the stadium
Free of: Shellfish
Believe it or not, Chickie’s and Pete’s famous crab fries don’t contain any shellfish, despite the name. A basic among local sports venues, fans can find them offered at various places throughout Citizens Bank. The fries also include one cheese sauce, but luckily it’s on the side for any folks that don’t do dairy. $14.77
(Note: Aramark uses the term “gluten-friendly” on ingredient lists because it can’t guarantee that an item didn’t have cross-contact with gluten after being unpackaged.)