These days, baseball fans are chomping at the bit to get to the park. And the food is part of the fun. We asked travel writer and avid baseball fan James T. Black to have a look around the concession stands and see what he could find. He definitely went way beyond hotdogs and hamburgers.
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(Bragan Field at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville/Jacksonville, FL)
When you turn out for a Jumbo Shrimp game, have a bowl of homemade jambalaya at the Sundowner Lounge. The recently enlarged restaurant and bar behind home plate offers unique observation-deck views of the park, downtown Jacksonville, and the St. John's River.
(Marlins Park/Miami, FL)
Get a taste of Little Havana at a Marlins game. Try a cup of homemade Azucar Ice Cream or a Velvet Creme doughnut, both served just as they are on Calle Ocho, the main thoroughfare through Miami’s Cuban community.
(SunTrust Park/Atlanta, GA)
The Braves know how to do it up right. At the Xfinity Rooftop area above right field, an Airstream trailer serves food-truck-style burgers, barbecue, and other baseball staples. The Rooftop also features an indoor bar with Ping Pong and Foosball tables—and a killer view of the game.
THE SLIPPERY BANANA
(Grayson Stadium/Savannah, GA)
Cheering on the Savannah Bananas is bound to make you crave some. Get them plain, frozen, or chocolate throughout the ballpark. The Slippery Banana, a drink made with banana liqueur, is available at the Beer Deck.
(Zephyrs Field/New Orleans)
You’ve got to love a baseball team called the Baby Cakes. While the field’s concession stands offer traditional ballpark staples, take a break from the peanuts-and-popcorn routine and try a bowl of homemade gumbo or crawfish etouffee.
(Orioles Ballpark at Camden Yards/Baltimore, MD)
Thank you, Orioles, for serving your fans Crab Mac-and-Cheese hot dogs from Esskay Gourmet near Gate H. (Esskay also offers a Bacon Chili Cheese Dog and Crab Dip Dog.)
OYSTERS ON A FRISBEE
(MGM Park/Biloxi, MS)
Between innings at your next Shuckers game, stop by the Aw Shucks Gulf Grill near Section 1B for local specialties such as a big platter of Peel ‘N Eat Shrimp or a bowl of homemade Bayou Jambalaya. Don’t miss the Garlic Butter Grilled Oysters, served on the half-shell with a slice of French bread—all on a Frisbee bearing the team logo.
75 CRAFT BREWS
(Kauffman Stadium/Kansas City, MO)
During your next Royals game, sample 75 craft beers, plus a rotating menu of great pub fare, at Craft & Draft in Section 301 near the left-field corner. A changing menu of pub fare includes homemade doughnuts covered with cardamom spiced sugar and a cinnamon ancho chocolate sauce.
(Busch Stadium/St. Louis, MO)
The Cardinals invite you to The Carvery, just behind Gate 2, where you can build your own sandwich from a selection of sliced turkey or ham on freshly baked bread from the local Fazio’s Bakery on the Hill. Or try the Plate Assortment, featuring house-prepared meats and served with homemade potato chips and coleslaw or a garden salad.
ORIGINAL RED CLASSIC
(Durham Bulls Athletic Park/Durham, NC)
The Bulls’ park features Bright Leaf’s Original Red Classic, a fresh frank from the Carolina Packers of Smithfield, North Carolina. The state-made pork and beef products are available at all park concession stands and from vendors.
(ONEOK Field/Tulsa, OK)
Brace yourself for the Wrecker, a locally made Andouille sausage with a choice of onion, pepper, sauerkraut, and Gouda cheese. That will sustain you as you cheer on the Tulsa Drillers.
DEEP FRIED CHEESECAKE ON A STICK
(Joseph P. Riley Jr. Park/Charleston, SC)
RiverDogs fans have it made, thanks to only-in-Charleston foods at the park’s RiverDogs State Fair concession. Among other things, it offers Deep Fried Cheese Cake on a stick, Chocolate Pepper Bacon, and Oreo Churros.
BLACK BEAN BURGERS
(AutoZone Park/Memphis, TN)
Of course the home of the Redbirds serves Barbecue Nachos. But other concession offerings include so many vegetarian specialties that a couple of years ago, PETA named AutoZone a Top 10 Vegetarian-Friendly Ballpark.
LOADED CHICKEN NACHOS
(First Tennessee Park, Nashville, TN)
You can eat and play while watching the Nashville Sounds at the Band Box in right field. The outdoor bar and restaurant includes Ping Pong, corn hole, Foosball and Shuffleboard. Try Nashville chef Jason Brumm's Loaded Chicken Nachos, or a special chicken sandwich made with Korean fried chicken, sorghum Tabasco glaze, and buttermilk dill dressing.
BACON ON A STICK
(Globe Life Park, Arlington, TX)
Globe Life Park uses its own smoker to cook 90 briskets a day for Rangers fans. The Homeplate Butcher Block concession serves a Brisket and Sausage Sundae, a slice of ribeye on a Ciabatta roll, and a Texas-sized Bacon on a Stick.
(Whataburger Field, Corpus Christi, TX)
Here on the home turf of the Corpus Christi Hooks, the star burger is “The Babe”—Cheddarwurst sausage wrapped in a hamburger and then wrapped in bacon is (barely) contained in an extra-thick roll.
(Minute Maid Park, Houston, TX)
Andrew Zimmer, host of the Travel Channel’s Bizarre Foods show, has created several dishes for the Astros crowd, including a tasty Korean Pork Belly sandwich. Find Zimmer’s eats at concessions in Sections 126 and 409, as well as the ballpark’s FiveSeven Grille.
SALUTE TO PORK CHALLENGE
(Harbor Park, Norfolk, VA)
Brave Tides fans can attempt the Salute to Pork Challenge, a five-pound mixture of pulled pork barbecue sliders, Cajun-smoked sausages, Smithfield pork wings, and various other fruits of the swine, served at the field’s Hits in the Park Restaurant.
BEN’S HALF SMOKE
(Nationals Park, Washington, D.C.)
The most famous offering at D.C. landmark Ben’s Chili Bowl has always been its “Half Smoke,” a quarter-pound of grilled pork-and-beef sausage on a steamed bun topped with mustard, onions, and homemade beef chili. The iconic dog also brings lines to Ben’s concessions at Sections 109, 140, and 317 of the Nationals’ ballpark.