Best Food Option at Each MLB Ballpark
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A ballgame is an experience. Be it Yankee Stadium or Safeco Field, Fenway Park or Tropicana Field, man does not live on wood and leather alone. Hardcore fans can get lost in the rhythm, magic and feel of the game, but sooner or later, they all want something extemporaneous as well.
That's where ballpark food comes into the equation. For as long as "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" has been baseball's anthem, stadium fare has been deeply woven into the game's culture. But we've come a long way since peanuts and Cracker Jack satisfied every baseball patron. Today's ballparks, in addition to luxury suites and wireless Internet, provide their customers with top-flight dining options and a wealth of variety.
Here, then, is the best food option at every big-league ballpark.
Chase Field: Arizona Diamondbacks
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By no means is Phoenix the gourmet capital of the baseball world, but it does have a concoction called the Arizona burger, which consists of an Angus patty with pepper jack cheese, bacon and barbecue sauce. Try it with the garlic fries.
Turner Field: Atlanta Braves
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Don't look for the vegan options or diet-friendly fare in the Deep South. Atlanta does well what most Southerners do, which is fry things and season meat perfectly.
At Turner Field, the best bet is the deep-fried turkey leg. It's delicious, hearty and makes one feel like a true carnivore.
Oriole Park at Camden Yards: Baltimore Orioles
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We need not get tangled in a web of details or debate over favorites. As long as everyone agrees that Boog's BBQ, the stand beyond center field from which Orioles great Boog Powell himself serves up baseball's best smoked barbecue fare, is the place to be, what each patron purchases there is not a major issue.
Fenway Park: Boston Red Sox
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With a new and improved seasoning process that makes their Fenway Franks taste more "of garlic and smoke," the company has revived the old-time connotations of the traditional Fenway fare.
Wrigley Field: Chicago Cubs
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Wrigley Field's concessions are years, perhaps decades, behind the developmental curve of the modern game. Even with the transition to all-beef hot dogs, not much at Wrigley stands out.
However, they make fine nachos, with hot cheese sauce and surprisingly fresh, flavorful jalapeños. For value, the nachos are the slam-dunk choice.
U.S. Cellular Field: Chicago White Sox
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Oddly, though hardly a regional delicacy, nachos are the best bet on both sides of town. The loaded nachos, with a choice of meat and tons of toppings, are a bit heavier than at Wrigley, but well worth it.
Great American Ball Park: Cincinnati Reds
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Cincinnati is all about tradition, and when it comes to food, the greatest Cincinnati tradition is Skyline Chili. The Reds serve it up best as part of the Skyline Cheese Coney, bringing together the city's love of chili and baseball's love of hot dogs.
Progressive Field: Cleveland Indians
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The Indians go bold at the ballpark, serving up a bunch of somewhat strange specialties one might not normally find there. Perhaps the boldest, and the best, is the green curry chicken stir-fry with a dozen or more options to build the perfect dish.
Coors Field: Colorado Rockies
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Comerica Park: Detroit Tigers
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Tigers owner Mike Ilitch also owns Little Caesars Pizza, but Little Caesars is about the same no matter where one eats it. The real specialties at Comerica can be found at the LaBatt Blue Light Jungle, where the best option is the smoked beef brisket sandwich.
Sun Life Stadium: Florida Marlins
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No single food prepared at Sun Life Stadium stands out, but that doesn't mean the Marlins don't do anything special for hungry fans.
The best option there is to buy a ticket in the All You Can Eat seats, wherein you have access to an unlimited buffet of hot dogs, nachos and more from the time you arrive until two hours after the first pitch.
Minute Maid Park: Houston Astros
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Bryan Caswell, a celebrity chef out of Houston, has teamed up with the Astros to bring a better brand of burger to the ballpark. His Little Bigs stand features handmade burgers that make the mouth water.
Kauffman Stadium: Kansas City Royals
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You can't go wrong with Kansas City barbeque, but the best bet is the Designated Hitter option at Royals All-Star Barbeque, which offers two meats and two sides.
Dodger Stadium: Los Angeles Dodgers
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What's better than a Dodger Dog? As many Dodger dogs as you can throw back as you watch the game from the right-field cheap seats. That's the delightful option Dodgers fans have these days, and the All You Can Eat Seats are far and away the best value to be found at Dodger Stadium.
Angel Stadium: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
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California Pizza Kitchen does not make the traditional brand of ballpark pizza. It makes pizza much better than that. Located at several points throughout the park, the creative pizza people make a pie fans can feel good eating.
Miller Park: Milwaukee Brewers
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Home of the sausage races, Miller Park is all about meat—and victories, of course. But mostly, it's about meat, and which meat you choose matters relatively little. Personally, I prefer the Polish, although the park also serves above-average Italian sausage.
Target Field: Minnesota Twins
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Murray's Steakhouse is a Twin Cities fixture, and at Target Field, they have hooked up Twins fans with a portable rendition of their best stuff. The steak sandwich, on a ciabatta roll and served with provolone cheese, is a near-delicacy.
Citi Field: New York Mets
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Nachos are hard things to mess up, and at venues where the food is otherwise forgettable, they're a safe bet. Citi Field serves its best nachos at the Promenade Club behind home plate, where they load you up with toppings and shredded meat.
In most other areas of the park, and even elsewhere on the Promenade's menu, the Mets try to get too fancy.
Yankee Stadium: New York Yankees
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Brother Jimmy's BBQ has a name that sets sensitive sensibilities a bit ill at ease, but it makes very fine Southern fare. The best stuff is likely the Carolina pulled pork sandwich.
Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum: Oakland Athletics
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The stadium bowl suggests a dump, and the A's might never be good again, but the food at the Coliseum actually isn't bad. There are many options, but the best and most adventurous is to try the fish sandwich at Your Black Muslim Bakery.
Citizens Bank Park: Philadelphia Phillies
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Oddly, the reviews for the Bank's Philly cheesesteaks are far from raves. They rank tops in the league, conversely, in vegetarian options, which is counterintuitive. The best choice at the park is the middle road, specifically, the crab cake sandwich at Connie Mack's.
PNC Park: Pittsburgh Pirates
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Not only the most beautiful park in the league, PNC also features perhaps the best and broadest variety of delicious ballpark food anywhere in MLB. In a very close vote, the nod for the best pick goes to Primanti Brothers, sandwich artisans extraordinaire.
Busch Stadium: St. Louis Cardinals
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The Food Network teamed up with the Cards to make two different steak sandwiches available at portable stands throughout the park. The St. Louis rendition is fine, but the Red, White & Blue sandwich (steak with blue cheese and a roasted-pepper mayo) has it beat.
PETCO Park: San Diego Padres
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The fish tacos and Randy Jones's BBQ are great, but the Padres get the most credit for doing something every other park does, but doing it better: They season their garlic fries perfectly, neither leaving them in need of salt nor making one's eyes water as they eat them. It's great to see a fine art perfected, and San Diego has done it.
AT&T Park: San Francisco Giants
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Safeco Field: Seattle Mariners
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Safeco, naturally, features a number of vegetarian and fish-based options, but the best-kept ballpark concession secret there is the panini. It has veggie, ham and turkey, but the beef is by far and away the best.
Tropicana Field: Tampa Bay Rays
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The Trop is a horrible cave, bereft of both personality and color. Building a stadium at half the usual expense because of a lack of commitment from any team was a bad idea. But the food in St. Petersburg is not as bad as one might expect. The Cuban sandwich is worth your while and then some.
Rangers Ballpark at Arlington: Texas Rangers
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Unfortunately, the Rangers are associated with the wrong Kenny Rogers as food goes, but that does not keep them from serving up some delicious food at Rangers Ballpark. In particular, their chicken-fried steak is exactly what one would expect a Texan's chicken-fried steak to be: delicious.
Rogers Centre: Toronto Blue Jays
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Toronto is a fantastically international, cosmopolitan city, and that's reflected along the open concourses at Rogers Centre. You'll find stir-fry, souvlaki, Mediterranean platters and BBQ chicken nachos, but the cream of the crop is the classic gyro.
Nationals Park: Washington Nationals
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Chicken-and-waffle sandwiches are frequent punch lines, but they're spectacularly tasty. The Nationals serve a terrific one, especially at Change Up Chicken.