April is upon us, and up here in the Northeast, we are all smiling as the late-season snow has melted away. My beloved Yankees are sitting at .500, and the long campaign that is the Major League Baseball season is just beginning. And that means only one thing: it's time for my favorite blog post of the year. What's new with food at MLB stadiums in 2017?
First, let's get this out of the way. MLB fans are predicted to eat nearly 19 million hot dogs in 2017, according to the National Hot Dog & Sausage Council, and this should probably surprise no one. Hot dogs are indelibly linked to the national past time. The Council believes 4.1 million sausages will be consumed during the 2017 season, reported Feedstuffs.
Now, with that out of the way, our starting lineup:
The Atlanta Braves are batting lead-off this year with their Tomahawk Chop Sandwich. Who doesn't want a humongous fried pork chop, collard green slaw and white BBQ sauce sandwich? The Braves are betting some people will be willing to drop $26 on the meal-in-a-bun, which they note can feed a group of four people. Other new options include an A-shaped pretzel, a tomahawk shaped ice cream bar, and blackened cod Po Boy tacos, reported 12UP.com.
In the two-hole, the New York Yankees are going prehistoric with their Brontosaurus rib that costs $38, which may be more than the price for a ticket to the game. The Bronx Bombers will also launch new fare, including fresh mozzarella sandwiches, meatloaf burgers, caramelized onion French dip sandwiches and s'mores cups, reported The New York Daily News.
Division rivals the Boston Red Sox will play upon their regional reputation with a number of seafood inspired dishes. The Lobster Melt, lobster poutine and a surf and turf kebab are among the new food items available at Fenway Park. According to Aramark, who provides the foods at the stadium, the melt is made with "fresh, steamed Yankee Lobster Co. lobster with melted Muenster cheese and sliced tomato," reported MassLive.com.
Batting clean up are the New York Mets, who have long had a reputation of providing some of the best foods in MLB since Citi Field opened in 2009. New foods to try include chicken parm sandwiches, stromboli roll-ups, pepperoni sticks and Bayside Loaded Fries. David Chang is still in on the action, providing chicken sandwiches at Fuku, reported Eater New York.
The Philadelphia Philles installed self-ordering kiosks behind Section 126, allowing customers to just swipe a credit or debit card at a color-coded kiosk, grab the receipt, and head to the pick-up area. Foods will include Primo Hoagies, the Mac Shack, signature hot dogs and the South Philly Shareable Stak, reported Eater Philadelphia.
Last year, the Arizona Diamondbacks arguably made more noise with their Cheeseburger Dog than their 69-win team. This year, the $25 Chicken Enchilada Dog looks to up the ante. The 18-inch chicken enchilada sausage is blanketed with white cheese, enchilada sauce, pico de gallo, black olives, sour cream and tortilla strips on a telera roll. As if this wasn't enough, the Tot Dog is also available, which is topped with tater tots, chili and cheese sauce, reported AZ Central.
Looking for a crabmeat meal with nacho-style kettle chips, white cheddar cheese sauce and chopped scallions? Look no further than Camden Yards in Baltimore, where the Orioles will also serve bacon and pulled pork versions. True to their hometown, the team hasn't forgotten the Old Bay, either. Additional options at the stadium include foods from vendors like Ole Mole, Esskay Gourmet, Smithfield Corners and Pizza Boli's, reported Eater.
Executive chef for Dodger Stadium Jason Tingley introduced six new items for Los Angeles fans in the 2017 season. New options include a Shock Top bratwurst, a smoked BBQ wings bundle, a gouda kobe burger, a chicken verde sandwich, specialty nachos verde and loaded tater tots, reported True Blue LA.
Just because they are batting last in this line-up doesn't mean they don't have some pop: the Chicago White Sox are selling a 16-inch brisket mac & cheese grilled cheese sandwich with syrah barbecue sauce, a nod to options at popular Chicago bars The Scout and Pony Inn. The White Sox will also offer a jalapeno cheddar sausage called "The Heater." The White Sox also win with the most clever product name in 2017 with "The Wok Off," a bowl of egg lo mein noodles mixed with vegetables and grilled chicken, reported South Side Sox.
Clearly, going through all 30 teams' food options for 2017 would be a massive undertaking, but I'd be remiss to leave out the 2016 World Series teams. Wrigley Field will celebrate the end of the Chicago Cubs' 108-year World Series drought with a partnership with "Sandwich King" Jeff Mauro to bring an assortment of sandwiches to the stadium. To keep the good momentum going, the company will retain products produced by Hot Doug's, Giordano's and Buona Beef, reported Eater Chicago.
According to the team website, World Series runners-up the Cleveland Indians will serve a large variety of products this year, ranging from pop corn to nachos to hot dogs to pretzels. However, the Club Lounge is where the real foodies will want to be, with chefs creating entrees like seared chicken with herb tomato, turkey vesuvio and herb-roasted pork line with pineapple sauce.
A fan-sourced poll from ESPN found that the Braves are the foodie winners in the early season. The Tomahawk Chop Sandwich took in 7,105 votes out of a total of 23,011, representing 31% of the vote. The Lobster Melt sandwich available at Fenway Park is the second most sought-after new product this season, garnering 3,584 votes. The Phillies' Italian Roast Stack, the Brisket Mac & Cheese sandwich available at White Sox home games and the Mets' loaded Bayside Fries were in a virtual tie for third, with each garnering about 9% of the vote. (Editor's note: this data was compiled at approximately 10:00 A.M. on April 5.)
Until next year!