Spring has (finally!) sprung in the United States, which of course means one thing: It’s baseball season. And for Delaware North Sportservice, which has 10 clients in Major League Baseball, it means the grills are fired up, the retail shelves are stocked and it’s time to put months of preparation into action.
As it has in recent years, Delaware North’s creativity in MLB kitchens has been a hit with media and on social media. Delaware North and four of its MLB partners hosted events Thursday for regional media to get a sneak peak at what’s cooking and what’s new along the retail front.
Delaware North’s new food and retail efforts in the aforementioned cities garnered several headlines in the past 48 hours, with local media joining the likes of ESPN.com, which has featured the company’s Texas and Milwaukee operations in recent weeks.
Under The Arch
In St. Louis, Delaware North Sportservice’s culinary team was a key element of the St. Louis Cardinals’ media day Thursday to show off everything that’s new at Busch Stadium – as well as at Cardinals Nation, the four-level restaurant and entertainment venue that Delaware North operates for the team at Ballpark Village across from the stadium.
Executive Sous Chef Michelle DeMarco took reporters from all of the major St. Louis television, digital and print media on a five-station tour of a dozen new concessions menu items, giving interviews and showing off the Extreme Bacon Sandwich, Quadruple Gooey Burger, Oreo Churro and other new delights. Each media outlet had a half-hour to gather content for features planned ahead of the Cardinals’ April 13 home opener.
DeMarco was supported during the five-hour media session by Executive Chef Larry Johnson, who also handled a number of interviews; Concessions Chef Jim Thomas; General Manager Rory Schroeder; and Food and Beverage Director Tom Schlaker.
At Cardinals Nation, General Manager Shawn Baker and Executive Chef William Ortmann showcased some of the whopping 27 new menu items as the year-round venue prepares for its second Cardinals season. The new menu features an increased variety of salads, wraps and burgers for the busy downtown St. Louis lunch crowd and Cardinals fans.
Everything’s bigger in Texas
The Delaware North team at Globe Life Park in Arlington (Texas Rangers), known for its culinary creativity, once again unveiled a larger-than-life menu, complete with the Nacho Average Taco – a 24-inch taco shell filled with ground beef, seasoned chicken, shredded lettuce, pico, nacho cheese, jalapeno and sour cream.
Also making a debut for media were a pair of new concessions outlets – State Fare (featured in the March 20 edition of 360) and Just Bacon.
“That includes bacon cotton candy and bacon lollipops, as well as bacon quesadillas, bacon macaroni and cheese, and a bacon-corn sauté,” Nation’s Restaurant News’ Ron Burgess said of the bacon-themed outlet in his piece. “Items range from $8 to $12. The menu even features a bacon-maple ale from an Oregon brewery.”
Delaware North’s Globe Life Park in Arlington team also continued its tradition of player-themed food items with the introduction of the Holland Hot Tot’chos – tater tots tosses in Buffalo-style hot sauce, with chicken or steak, sauted red and green bell peppers, pickled jalapenos and spicy hollandaise. The item is named after Rangers pitcher Derek Holland, who was on hand Thursday, along with his father, Richie, to experience the creation firsthand.
Delaware North's director of operations at Globe Life Park in Arlington, Casey Rapp (right), is pictured above with Holland at Thursday's event.
It’s Miller Time
At Miller Park, home of the Milwaukee Brewers, media got a firsthand look at several new additions to the ballpark’s food experience, including two new partners: local favorites Smoke Shack and Holey Moley.
The Brewers – who encouraged fans on social media to “come hungry” this year – published a piece detailing the new eateries on the team website, complete with a full array of images, which can be read by clicking here.
Among the menu additions is the 18-inch Down Wisconsin Avenue brat, which was billed by the Milwaukee Business Journal as challenging another Delaware North creation from Lambeau Field in nearby Green Bay, Wis.
“It’s not quite the 22-inch ring kielbasa Horse Collar sandwich introduced at Lambeau Field last NFL season, but baseball fans at Miller Park can indulge in the next gooey mega-sausage meal: the 18-inch ‘Down Wisconsin Avenue’ brat,” Milwaukee Business Journal writer Rich Kirchen said in his piece. “The concoction will sell for $20 starting Opening Day April 6 and was developed by Delaware North, which has the Miller Park and Lambeau Field foodservice contracts. The name comes from an expression by Milwaukee Brewers radio announcer Bob Uecker for a pitch that zooms right over the middle of home plate.”
Tapping into nostalgia in Motown
At Comerica Park in Detroit, Tigers fans can look for several menu additions with comfort in mind, including the much-discussed Coney Quesadilla – a natural-casing hot dog, topped with Coney sauce, cheddar cheese and onions, and grilled in a flour tortilla. But the big draw for media on Thursday was the surprise announcement of the new Corner Tap Room.
“The Corner Tap Room will seat 140, including patio seating when weather permits, and feature signage, seats and other nostalgia elements saved from the old Tiger Stadium, Szubeczak said,” Crain’s Detroit Business reporter Bill Shea said, referencing Delaware North’s executive chef at the ballpark, Mark Szubeczak. “That will include artifacts from when the old stadium was Navin Field and Briggs Stadium.”
Read the full Crain’s Detroit Business piece – which also highlights other additions to the ballpark’s culinary and retail landscape – by clicking here.
“When over 40,000 fans pack Comerica Park Monday for the Tigers’ Opening Day, they’ll find offerings of crispy chicken ramen bowls, foot-long Coney dogs, sushi, smoked pork, mac and cheese with waffles and thick wedges of smoked maple bacon and devilled eggs,” The Windsor Star’s Dave Waddell said in his piece, which includes a video interview with Szubeczak.