The Culinary Delights Of 'The Schmitter' It's baseball's opening day, and Phillies fans are headed to the ballpark to take in the game and Philadelphia's unique culinary offerings. Robert Pie from Philadelphia talks to host Robert Smith about a sandwich called "The Schmitter."
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The Culinary Delights Of 'The Schmitter'

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The Culinary Delights Of 'The Schmitter'

The Culinary Delights Of 'The Schmitter'

The Culinary Delights Of 'The Schmitter'

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It's baseball's opening day, and Phillies fans are headed to the ballpark to take in the game and Philadelphia's unique culinary offerings. Robert Pie from Philadelphia talks to host Robert Smith about a sandwich called "The Schmitter."

ROBERT SMITH, host:

Tonight is opening night, not just for the baseball season, but for the hotdog slingers, the beer men, the crackerjacks of all trades that work the ballparks. The honor of opening night, of course, goes to the city that did this last fall.

(Soundbite of baseball game)

Unidentified Man: (Unintelligible) them out, the Philadelphia Phillies are 2008 world champions of baseball.

SMITH: And at Philadelphia Citizens Bank Park, the vendors are getting ready for a fattening season. Joe Piae(ph) is on the line from the city of brotherly love. What exactly are you serving at the park tonight?

Mr. JOE PIAE (Sandwich Vendor, Philadelphia): Well, I'll be serving Schmitters.

SMITH: The Schmitter. So what is a Schmitter?

Mr. PIAE: A Schmitter is a combination of a lot of things. Foremost among them is beef. You know, Philadelphia, land of cheesesteaks. This is thinly sliced beef that's cooked on a flat grill, but we add cooked salami to it. We add fresh tomatoes and fresh onions. We add a lot of cheese. And it's all put on a very heavy kaiser roll, and then it's slathered with Schmitter sauce. It's basically tomato, mayo, relish, Worcester, a little of this, a little of that.

SMITH: Of course.

Mr. PIAE: And it goes all together. And when it comes off the grill and into that roll, folks just swoon. They love it.

SMITH: Now, I understand invented by your father-in-law and named after the former Phillies great Mike Schmidt.

Mr PIAE: Not at all, not at all. You had the first part right. My father-in-law put this together. However, he named it for a young man who came into the bar every night after working at the hospital across the street, and the young man drank Schmidt's beer, and they called him Schmitter. So that's where the name came from.

SMITH: So flash back to last season, the World Series ran by the Phillies. Can you tell how well the Phillies are doing by the number of Schmitters you sell?

Mr. PIAE: Yes, I can tell if the Mets are in town. I can tell if the Phillies won. I can tell if the Phillies lost.

SMITH: Seriously, how do you tell this?

Mr. PIAE: Well, we've been tracking the data since 2004 when Citizens Bank Park opened. And what I do is I just meld a bunch of piece of information, mostly it's box-score information, into the sales history. And so now we can just look at one piece of it, like how pounds of onions did we go through, and we can sort of get within 100 sandwiches of how many sandwiches went out that night. Or if the guys call in and tell me we did 892 sandwiches, then that probably means the Phillies were well ahead in the game, well in hand, because the fans were leaving their seats to come up and see us at the stand.

SMITH: How much does the Schmitter cost?

Mr. PIAE: The Schmitter costs - I believe it's $8.25.

SMITH: $8.25. That's a lot of dollar hot dogs.

Mr. PIAE: That's almost eight-and-a-quarter dollar hot dogs.

(Soundbite of laughter)

SMITH: Almost exactly.

(Soundbite of laughter)

SMITH: I had read that your ballpark had been voted one of the best ballparks for vegans by PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

Mr. PIAE: Mm-hmm.

SMITH: Is this a big competition for you? I mean, people are trying to decide between the Schmitter and the tofu?

Mr. PIAE: I don't know that anybody is trying to decide. I think some folks, you know, some folks root for the Yankees, some folks root for the Red Sox. And some folks root for the Phillies, some folks root for the Mets. I think some folks who are vegans root for the tofu. And those that are not, you can pretty much find them in our line or someone else's. But we've never been picketed by PETA, and I attribute that to the fresh ingredients, the tomatoes and the lettuce and the onions and the sauce.

(Soundbite of laughter)

SMITH: Sure, it's a virtual salad on there.

Mr. PIE: A virtual salad. All your major food groups are represented.

SMITH: Joe Piae makes and sells the Schmitter. He joined us from, where else, Philadelphia. And if you're at tonight's game, you can find the Schmitter stand where?

Mr. PIAE: The Schmitter stands out in Left Field Plaza, right behind the left field foul pole.

SMITH: There you go. Thanks so much, Joe.

Mr. PIAE: Thank you.

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