Baseball season has begun! There’s excitement for this century-old tradition of going to the game, getting a hot dog, and enjoying a day or night of fun. However, something has changed…taking a closer look at regional trends, it seems that baseball food around the country has adapted to fit the palettes of those who desire more to eat than just a hot dog. Don’t get me wrong, there are still hot dogs to be had, but now, there are many more options.
Recently, there was a discussion among the National Geographic interns about what a BBQ means. In Colorado, California, and likely other West Coast states, it means having hamburgers or hot dogs–basically putting something onto a barbeque grill. In Kentucky, BBQ means eating food that has barbeque sauce on it, like ribs. This little miscommunication fueled an interesting discussion about what food was going to be served at our get together. Clearly, there are significant regional differences in food choices, and even food definitions, across the United States.
Some of these same variations can be seen in the food served at baseball stadiums, from sushi in Seattle to barbeque ribs in Baltimore. I took a closer look at five different stadiums to see how concession stands are supplementing traditional fare with local favorites.
For Mariners fans in Seattle, Safeco Field has undertaken the biggest menu change I have found. It has an organic concession stand with fruits, vegan soups, gluten-free snack bars, veggie dogs, and Seattle’s own Cucina Fresca pasta.
Moving a little further east, Target Field in Minnesota features Tex-Mex, bratwursts, sausages and Killebrew root beer. These menu items are state favorites that support local businesses in Minnesota. The variety of food reflects a list of nine themes that the concession stands have developed for the Twins fan base.
Next is one of America’s favorite stadiums, Wrigley Field, home to the loyal fans of the Chicago Cubs. The spread of food that the concession stands feature is moving beyond the traditional hot dog, but only slightly. There are Cub subs, pulled pork sandwiches, chicken sandwiches, and even veggie burgers. However, there is still a very traditional feel to the menu, from Cracker Jacks to peanuts.
Boog’s Barbeque is making its name in Baltimore. The Oriole fans at Camden Yards like their BBQ (the sauce kind). Even though Boog’s tent is outside the actual stadium grounds, it is a very popular stop that has become an important part of the games. Fresh lemonade is also a very popular item. The beautiful stadium, with its delicious food and overall positive atmosphere, is one of the happiest places in Maryland, according to fans.
Our final stop is one of the oldest stadiums in the U.S., Fenway Park. Here you can find food that reflects the Boston seafaring tradition, like lobster rolls and clam chowder. These are a few of the items that you find alongside nachos, hot dogs and other ballpark favorites.
I hope you have enjoyed this quick sampling of regional stadium selections. For those of you who are looking for more of an experience than just watching players run around the bases at a baseball game, check out the menu–you might be surprised at what you can find!