There’s more to baseball parks these days than cheering on the talented ballplayers and boasting about a home team win. More and more, ballparks are putting fresh, innovative and locally-sourced foods high up on the priority list. To be sure, it’s fun to eat the traditional ballpark fare—hot dogs smothered in chili, cheese or mustard and ketchup, nachos, ice cream and the like. But if you crave healthier choices, concession stands across the country give you plenty of reasons to leave your seat and search for some tasty options that can satisfy you nutritionally.
Traditionally, a good ole’ bag of roasted peanuts has gone hand-in-hand with baseball since the early 1900s. These days we’re enjoying our favorite Peanut Vendor (@PeanutsHere) slinging bags of peanut passion on Twitter and Instagram. With more protein, ounce for ounce, than any other nut; plus 30 essential vitamins and minerals, you can’t beat dry roasted peanuts for healthy ballpark food!
Now, concessions, food stands and restaurants around the stadiums boast healthy snacks, salads, farm-to-table featured food, fresh seafood and more. Here’s what you may find at your favorite venue this summer:
SunTrust Park, Atlanta, Ga.
As the newly-opened stadium for the Atlanta Braves, SunTrust Park has pulled out all the stops for this new venue. One example is Centerfield Market, called “one giant convenience store in the idle of the ballpark,” by Atlanta Magazine. Signage includes “healthy snacks” and “salads” and wraps, fresh fruits and vegetables and grab-and-go sushi are on the menus. There is even a gluten-free hot dog.
Carts selling Tomahawk Ice Cream Bars that feature locally made ice cream from High Road Craft Creamery, is dipped on the spot in chocolate sauce and rolled in crushed peanuts. Antico Pizza, a popular, local Neapolitan-style pizzeria, not only serves authentic Italian, fire-roasted pizzas, but also several flavors of gelato, with one of the flavors being peanut butter.
Nationals Park, Washington, D.C.
In 2005, Nationals Park (then called RFK Park) was the first major league venue to offer a veggie dog. Today the concessionaires have expanded and built upon this healthy-inspired direction with a farm-to-table program in several locations around the park. In one section, Field of Greens, healthier ballpark fare is offered such as veggie wraps, hummus and salads, and a vegan cheesesteak. Another food stand has a selection of homemade Virginia biscuit sandwiches, including ham and fried chicken biscuits. Each sandwich is made to order. Also featured are local Virginia peanuts; along with local wines and beer. Another fresh and local offering are jumbo lump crab cakes with mixed greens, tomatoes and Old Bay remoulade, from the Chesapeake Crab Cake.
Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Fla.
Home to the Tampa Bay Rays, Tropicana Field is the only major-league ballpark that offers boiled peanuts. Fans can find this distinctly Southern specialty in the Taste of Tampa Bay area in Center Field Street, along with other local fare.
Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas, exotic fruit is a feature at Goya Latin Café. This platter includes mango, kiwi, and array of berries and grapes. At Fenway Park in Boston, you can easily find veggie burger and veggie dog options as well as turkey wraps, and, of course fresh seafood sandwiches and lobster rolls. Coors Field in Denver features a section of the concessions area known as “Infield Greens.” Here, patrons can build their own salads with a variety of fresh vegetables, tofu, shrimp and chicken.
Source: The Joy of Ballpark Food: From Hot Dogs to Haute Cuisine by Bennett Jacobstein.