From gluten-free selections to stands branded with famous local eatery names, the food offerings at major league ballparks continue to expand in quality and variety. The four main major league concessions operators each have rolled out special new products, services and alliances for the delectation of baseball fans this summer.
Aramark, which operates food concessions at a dozen major league venues, is expanding the dedicated gluten-free concession stand it debuted last season in Denver to four other venues (New York Mets, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Atlanta).
In New York’s Citi Field, the stand carries the Kozy Shack brand, part of a branding strategy at the two-year-old venue that has Aramark also partnering with noted local culinary operators like Drew Nieporent’s Myriad Restaurant Group, Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group and Dave Pasternack of Esca.
The fruits of those alliances include concession items like a crab cake sandwich, Peking Duck bun and lasagna Bolognese. At its other venues, selections developed by Aramark’s Menu Innovation Program making their debuts include “old fashioned” milkshakes, an “everyday classic” double cheeseburger, “grilled bistro” chicken sandwiches and “homemade” kettle corn.
Sportservice, a division of Delaware North Companies, which operates at 10 major league ballparks, made its biggest splash by announcing a partnership with the Food Network to develop new menu, restaurant and retail concepts for its locations across North America.
The first phase of the multiyear agreement involves the creation of signature dishes for suite menus at Sportservice client sites.
Sportservice also has alliances with commercial operators like Lettuce Entertain You, which this season brought its Wow Bao Asian bun concept to the Sportservice operation at U.S. Cellular Field, home of the Chicago White Sox.
In St. Louis, new additions include the famous local Mama Toscano’s Toasted Ravioli as well as a Waffle Supreme station that turns the traditional breakfast favorite into a ballpark concessions item.
Sportservice also operates in the Major Leagues’ only brand new ballpark, Target Field in Minneapolis, where the concessions lineup is full of local brands like Angie’s kettle corn, Vincent burgers, Murray’s steak sandwiches, Kramarczuk’s sausages, Loon Café chili and J.D. Hoyt cajun pork chops.
Centerplate, which operates at four major league ballparks, debuted an alliance with celebrity chef/author (The Young Man and the Sea) David Pasternack on a pair of concepts at Tropicana Field in Tampa, FL: Fresco Fish Taco and Ti Dave’s Po’ Boys.
Other new Centerplate offerings include vegan soups, organic fruit smoothies, vegetarian hot dogs and a charcuterie stand offering sausages, meats and cheeses.
At its Seattle operation at Safco Field, Centerplate’s offerings include poutine, the Canadian delicacy that consists of french fries smothered with beef gravy and cheese curds.
Levy Restaurants, which now operates at four venues, is debuting a chicken and waffle sandwich, the two-pound(!) Victory Knot pretzel (served with three different dipping sauces) and a Healthy Cart with low fat/high fiber options like a cajun chicken wrap.
At Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, the company runs a popular promotion called My Town Nights during which a different community among the Dodger fan base is honored with menus of authentic cusines reflecting its culture.
The schedule includes My Town Nights honoring Taiwan (shacha sauce spiced pork, jasmine steamed rice and lychee), Venezuela (pabellon criollo, shredded beef and black beans served over white rice, and plantain chips) and Cuba (sandwich Cubano and plantain chips).