For many a hardcore Flyers fan, heading to the arena to watch a game is something of a ritual. From the jersey you wear, to the route you take to the arena, to the entrance to The Farg you use, to the snacks and bevs you grab on your way to your seat, you’ve probably done nearly the same thing every time you’ve treated yourself to a Flyers game. We’re creatures of habit, we hockey fans.
Danny Briere jersey. The el to the BSL. The Broad Street Entrance. Crab fries & a Miller Lite.
This season, the culinary staff at the Wells Fargo Center is hoping to change at least one part of that routine with some genuinely cool new food offerings debuting at Friday’s Flyers season opener. It’s been a while since the food and beverage experience at a Flyers game has been, well, remarkable. For most of my very-long-time as a Flyers fan, the food at The Farg has been, you know... fine. Rarely bad. But also rarely good. Not worth mentioning.
This season is going to be different, I think. Listen, we here at Broad Street Hockey are connoisseurs of two things: hockey players and foodstuffs. You can trust us when we tell you that something is worth eating.
I’ve never much thought about the process behind sports arena menu development, but while speaking with Aramark Executive Chef Anthony Campagna, I found that it was much more of a creative passion project than I imagined. When I asked Chef what his starting point was for this menu revamp, he had a simple answer: “Philadelphia.”
Chef Campagna and the classically trained culinary staff he works with started by going out into the city and just eating. Everywhere. Hole-in-the-wall taquerias on Washington Ave. Big-name fancy pizza places. Ramen joints in Center City. And then, when they had tasted their way around the city, they locked themselves in a kitchen and they cooked. And tasted. And cooked and tasted again. And the result is a selection of food that is more diverse, accessible, and high-end than we’ve ever seen at a Flyers game.
Alright enough of this exposition. Let’s get to the good stuff and highlight the best things we got to taste at the menu unveiling this week.
Let me tell you people: I friggin’ love a good taco. It’s one of nature’s most perfect foods. But tacos are often... meh. So my expectations for a sports arena taco were, admittedly, pretty low. But I was blown away. There were three tacos on offer for us to try: Adobo Pork (hatch hot chilies, pickled red onion, cotija cheese, & lime), Chicken Mole (cotija, avocado smash, pickled chiles, cilantro crema, & lime), and Buffalo Cauliflower (scallions, ranch mayo). I tried the pork, my co-taster Maddie had the chicken. The pork taco was outstanding. 8/10, would absolutely eat again, points deducted for a little bit of sogginess in the tortilla. The taco stand, located at section 112, will also have a Korean beef taco and “street corn” dip & nachos. AND MARGS.
Behind section 109 will be a stand called The Coop which will offer, among other things, a crispy chicken bao bun that absolutely slapped. Perfectly crispy fried chicken breast, a spicy sriracha-based sauce (tasted a little sweet to me too, which really worked), a spicy pickle, and cilantro. No idea what they’ll charge for these but you could easily eat quite a few of them; they’re very, very good. 9/10, would order several of these, point deducted because the chicken-to-bun ratio could be a liiiiiittle better. But the flavor is tops.
Okay, pizza isn’t a new thing. It’s true. A lot was made of the arena not renewing their agreement with the local big-slice king, Lorenzo’s, and rightfully so. The guy makes good pizza. But Chef Campagna made the arena’s pizza into his personal mission and has developed pies using imported Italian flour that will be made fresh every single day, and the results speak for themselves. The slices are still big but the quality seems way, way better. The pepperoni slice I tried was delicious, falling somewhere between Your Favorite Neighborhood Pizza Place and Pizzaria Stella on the quality scale. There are plans to offer specials like white pizza throughout the season, but the regulars will be plain cheese, pepperoni, and buffalo chicken. 7/10, points deducted because Beddia is in my neighborhood and as such I have become an absolutely insufferable pizza snob.
This is the part where my mind was completely blown. Ramen?? Am I at a San Diego Padres game?? Never in my life would I have guessed that a bowl of ramen would be on offer at a Philadelphia Flyers game, but here we are. And it rules. The Omori Ramen Bar, located in section 202, will offer three kinds of ramen: Cashu Pulled Pork Bowl (sweet soy braised pork, crispy onion, smoky shoyu pork broth, soy, egg, nori, scallion, & ramen), Curry Chicken Katsu Bowl (crispy chicken katsu, bok choy, curry chicken broth, soy, egg, nori, scallion, & ramen), and Mushroom Miso Bowl (soy shiitakes, corn, mushroom miso broth, soy, egg, nori, scallion, & ramen). I didn’t have the opportunity to actually taste these, so no rating, but they looked really yummy. Does the thought of a Flyers fan with a hot bowl of liquid on their lap worry me slightly? Yes. Yes it does. Is it still neat? Yes. Yes it is.
Some other cool things worth mentioning are the selection of “shore treats” you can find in section 120, which include corn dogs and fudge, an expanded menu of plant-based items located in section 107, Federal Donuts will now have donuts to go along with their chicken sandwich in section 207, and some really fun new beverage options including brunch cocktails for day games and the greatest invention of the last decade, boozy freezy pops. Also, you’ll now be able to place a mobile order from your seat and pick it up at one of the designated pick-up spots, which is pretty cool. Check out the video below for a look at some of the foods described above and, if you’re heading to a game this season, think about wearing pants with some stretch to them.