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Why Schmitter is out of Phillies lineup at Citizens Bank Park

Quality control, says McNally's.

The Schmitter - one of Philadelphia's iconic sandwiches and a regular at Citizens Bank Park since the stadium's opening in 2004 - is out of the lineup this season.

Joe Pie, who runs the concessions for the sandwich's home of McNally's Tavern in Chestnut Hill, said he elected to pull out of the game over quality control.

The Schmitter - which dates to the mid-1960s - is a marvel of engineering, consisting of seven key ingredients:  thin-sliced roast beef, Hatfield salami, Kraft American cheese, thick sliced tomato, thinly shaved onions, a special sauce that includes ketchup, relish, and Worcestershire sauce, all placed on a Conshohocken Bakery kaiser roll. (More history here.)

"That sandwich captured the imagination of a lot of pubs,"  said Pie, husband of tavern co-owner Anne McNally.

Its drawback is the labor involved in building it. From 2004 till 2012, the Schmitter was next to Section 140, with a proper kitchen setup. Then it was moved to an open-air stand in Alley Grill, near the left-field gate. Pie said being open to the elements, in a field-kitchen-type setup, was not ideal.

Pie said he and Aramark management had long talks about the setup, "and they have always been accommodating. But we're just a small piece of the puzzle there." He is cautiously optimistic that the sandwich will return.

"Since the opening of Citizens Bank Park, the Schmitter has played an important role in helping establish Citizens Bank Park's Ashburn Alley as one of baseball's premier food destinations," said an Aramark spokeswoman. "We had several conversations with Joe this off-season in an effort to continue serving the Schmitter at the ballpark. We respect Joe's decision and thank him for his partnership and for bringing the Schmitter to Phillies fans for over ten years. We remain hopeful of finding a solution that will allow us to offer the Schmitter in the future. We take great pride in showcasing and featuring Philadelphia's distinctive tastes and favorite sandwiches at the ballpark and we look forward to continuing to do so this season and beyond."

For now, you can get a Schmitter,as always, at McNally's. Or you can make one yourself; the august food publication Saveur published a recipe several years ago. Or you can wait till Eagles season; under a licensing agreement, McNally's employees staff the Schmitter concession at Lincoln Financial Field.