Saturday, September 24 2022

The Big Piece returns to first base at Citizens Bank Park this season as the fried chicken restaurant part-owned by Ryan Howard opens a concession stand at the ballpark.

Colbie’s Southern Kissed Chicken will be in the main hall just behind first base, where Howard held for more than a decade with the Phillies. The “Big Piece” sandwich – a tribute to Charlie Manuel’s nickname for Howard – will be the signature item.

“I kind of just threw it out there like, ‘Man, I think it would be really cool to have the restaurant inside the ballpark. That would be amazing,'” Howard said. “We here is. They give us the opportunity. I thought it was very, very cool to have him on the first base side.

Colbie’s is a fast casual chain offering chicken sandwiches, wraps, salads and milkshakes started by brothers Mike and Craig Colby with celebrity chef Fabio Viviani. Howard’s signature chicken sandwich is topped with bacon, lettuce, tomato, pickles, American cheese, and garlic aioli on a sweet Hawaiian bun.

“Hey, that’s on point,” Howard said. “It’s a big sandwich. You might need a cot afterwards. I always want to take a nap after going there.

Howard invested in Colbie’s after receiving a phone call from former Phillies reliever Chad Durbin, who knew the Colby brothers. They opened their first restaurant in March 2021 in Mount Holly and expanded last fall to Newark, Del. Colbie’s will soon open a location in Kissimmee, Florida near Walt Disney World.

“I loved the concept,” Howard said. “I loved tasting the food and seeing something from scratch and watching it take shape. Getting in with these guys, having conversations and tasting the food, I wanted to try my hand at that.

Howard spent 13 seasons at Citizens Bank Park, has the most career home runs in stadium history, and played the second most games of any CBP player. He won a World Series there in 2008, accepted the 2009 NLCS MVP award and was a powerful force in an era that made Citizens Bank Park a great place.

The stadium is already a special place for Howard. And now he returns to South Philly for a new chapter.

“It’s been a go-to for me,” Howard said. “I’ve spent a lot of my life here, and both of my daughters were born in Philadelphia, so Philadelphia will always be a special place and always a second home. I’ve embraced Philadelphia’s sports teams; the Eagles are my team. and I always watch the Sixers. Philly is also going to have a special place in my heart. He provided so much for me and my family. So many life moments and opportunities. They took a chance on me, a kid from Saint -Louis, and I just tried to make the most of it.


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