Sunday, October 4, 2015

Batter up! Phillies to debut Federal Donuts and beer garden

Fried chicken and doughnuts will make their way onto the roster at Citizens Bank Park.

Batter up! Phillies to debut Federal Donuts and beer garden


Let’s revise that old baseball song: “Buy me some chicken and dough-oh-nuts…”

The Phillies and Aramark have drafted Federal Donuts - the chicken and carb shops in South Philly and Pennsport - to host a stand in Ashburn Alley at Citizens Bank Park this season.

The official announcement was made midday Tuesday, March 19.

Kevin Tedesco, Aramark’s general manager at the ballpark, said he and colleagues visited FedNuts both announced and unannounced several months ago to sample the wares. “We like to see the excitement from working with local partners,” he said, noting that Aramark started working years ago with a sports-bar upstart named Chickie’s & Pete at Veterans Stadium. At the time, it had one location.

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Talks began immediately.

Steve Cook, one of the FedNuts partners, said he initially had misgivings. “The products are so simple, they’re so easy to screw up,” he said. “The product has to be what they can get in one of the stores.”

Aramark assured them that the quality would be the same.

Initially, Cook said, Aramark would sell the plain doughnuts – not the fancies – made on site with a “doughnut robot." The chicken will be fried on-site.

Think this combo is out of left field? It will be, literally, as FedNuts will take the place of McNally’s Tavern’s Schmitter stand, which will move about 50 feet.

“When you hear ‘doughnuts and chicken,’ you don’t put them together until you see them at their shop,” said Jeremy Campbell, Aramark's director of concessions at the ballpark. During a tasting, he said, he started with the most basic and by the time he realized it, “I had like 4 doughnuts. The maple bacon is one of the greatest things I’ve ever eaten.”

New: The Federal Donuts food will be sold as two pieces of chicken with one doughnut and as a two-pack of doughnuts. Retail price was not set.

Federal Donuts is just one new feature at the ballpark from Aramark managers, who know they have to throw a change-up every year to keep the food roster fresh.

The plans for 2013 also will include a covered beer garden near the bullpens with a line of beers including a proprietary beer from Victory called Alley Brewing Company Lager.

Aramark also is expanding the menu to include wings, which might not sound like a big deal. But at a baseball stadium, wings can be a huge mess in the seating area, said Tedesco. To help solve that, they have added more tables and seats in Bull’s BBQ to accommodate.

The hot dog will get special treatment, as Aramark, the Phillies and Hatfield are rebranding the hot dogs as “Phillies Franks.”

Especially at Harry the K’s, the complement will expand to include Harry’s Double Dog (extra-long hot dog, pickled red onions, tomato relish, jalapeño cheddar cheese sauce) and a Chicago Dog (Sweet green relish, diced tomatoes, onions, peppers, poppy seeded bun).

Harry the K’s also will sell hickory-smoked pulled pork (bourbon barbecue sauce, coleslaw, potato bun), chicken burger (red onion slaw, pickled tomatoes, citrus-Dijon aioli, griddled brioche bun); roast beef (wilted baby spinach, fontina cheese, roasted red peppers, horseradish aioli); smoked turkey wrap (applewood smoked bacon, tomatoes, bibb lettuce, black pepper aioli, whole wheat wrap); and toasted chicken grinder (roasted peppers, mozzarella, baby spinach, oven dried tomatoes, house-cured pickles, spicy chili garlic relish, extra virgin olive oil).

Tedesco said Aramark would add new carts for hot and cold condiments, including different mustards and hot sauerkraut.

Also new this year will be a stand dedicated to gluten-free items (behind Section 136) such as hot dogs, pizza, cheesesteaks, and pork sandwiches .

Addendum: Federal Donuts is looking in University City for a new location.

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