Phillies' Ballpark Offers Best Vegetarian Delights

Jul 10, 2012
Originally published on July 11, 2012 12:39 am
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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's been a disappointing season for Philadelphia fans after high expectations at the start of the season - and who doesn't have those. The Phillies are struggling just to post a winning record. But at least Phillies fans can brag about this - their ballpark is among the most vegetarian-friendly. From member station WHYY, Elizabeth Fiedler reports.

ELIZABETH FIEDLER, BYLINE: It's a beautiful sunny afternoon and Citizens Bank Park is packed with fans wearing Phillies shirts and hats who still have hope the team will beat the Dodgers. Not all eyes are on the field though. Plenty of fans are milling around between concession stands, searching for just the right meal.

JEREMY CAMPBELL: You can go over to the taco stand and get a vegetarian beef taco: vegetarian beef, guacamole, salsa, black beans, whatever toppings you want to add. Now, you're having an authentic taco that's vegetarian.

FIEDLER: That's Jeremy Campbell, ARAMARK concessions director at the park. He remembers the old days of ballpark food.

CAMPBELL: Hot dogs, hot dogs and hot dogs.

FIEDLER: There are so many vegetarian options at Citizens Bank Park these days; the park's first in the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals rankings of vegetarian-friendly parks. Campbell says it's no accident.

CAMPBELL: Every time we create a new concept, we take that vegetarian angle and say, OK, how is a vegetarian going to enjoy this as well?

FIEDLER: Decked out in Dodgers gear, Amada Armenta waits in line at a concession stand.

AMADA ARMENTA: I'm really excited that there's a veggie dog, actually.

FIEDLER: Did you know that they had veggie dogs, were you surprised?

ARMENTA: I looked it up online and then I asked for directions to this particular stand.

FIEDLER: There are also a lot of fans who prefer more traditional fare. Like Kristen Keel who came to the ballpark with some friends.

KRISTEN KEEL: I did not consider going for a veggie dog, as all-beef hot dogs are among my favorite foods in the universe. The all-beef goes so well with a beer.

FIEDLER: The man behind some of the award-winning fare says the park has a good selection for those who prefer no meat.

ANTHONY CAMPAGNA: I am chef de cuisine of Harry the K's. My name is Anthony Campagna.

FIEDLER: While the crowd cheers, he points to a table full of food.

CAMPAGNA: This is our toasted vegetable grinder. This is our eggplant cutlet. Here we have our black bean char-grilled burger. And over here we have our classic Caesar salad.

FIEDLER: Jeremy Campbell points to another plated item on the table. He says in this town where allegiances to specific cheesesteak empires run deep, there's a non-meat version at the ballpark.

CAMPBELL: Your Campo's vegan steak. OK? Looks like steak, tastes like steak. I've had this, I love it. It's a special item. It's something you don't see in most ballparks.

FIEDLER: Only in Philly. For NPR News, I'm Elizabeth Fiedler.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALL GAME")

INSKEEP: This is NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.