Spring has sprung in the United States, which of course means one thing: It’s baseball season. And for Delaware North Sportservice, which has 11 clients in Major League Baseball, that means the grills are fired up, the retail shelves are stocked, and it’s time to put months of preparation into action.
As we have featured in recent weeks, Delaware North’s creativity in MLB kitchens has been a hit with media and on social media. Delaware North and officials with several of its MLB partners last week provided regional media with a sneak peek at what’s cooking and what’s new along the retail front.
Delaware North’s new food and retail efforts have garnered several headlines, with local media joining the likes of ESPN.com, which has featured the company during the buildup to Opening Day.
O, the heat
At the Baltimore Orioles’ Oriole Park at Camden Yards on April 4, Delaware North’s onsite leadership team – including General Manager Michael Geczi, Executive Chef Ryan Farrell and Retail Director Sean Gury – discussed the ballpark’s new offerings on local talk shows (television and radio) and were featured by both The Baltimore Sun and Baltimore Magazine.
“In Baltimore, the new items this season include the High Heater Burger ($10; $13 for a double stack), served at Bud & Burgers along Eutaw Street,” The Baltimore Sun said in its piece, which was complimentary of the addition of spicy menu items. “Roma Sausage is putting a new twist on a classic: chorizo sausage ($9) topped with tequila-lime caramelized onions and cotija cheese. For an over-the-top take on a dog, there is Esskay Gourmet Hot Dogs' new jalapeno bacon-wrapped hot dog ($9). The dog is deep-fried, wrapped in jalapeno bacon and served on a bun with American cheese.”
“The O’s headquarters – which was named one of the seven best places to eat in Major League Baseball by USA Today in 2014 – has diversified its options to include everything from Korean tacos to vegan burgers in recent years,” Baltimore Magazine said. “This season, concessions have been upgraded yet again, with new fare like dressed-up kettle chips and brisket sandwiches being thrown into the mix.”
Going big in Minnie
Minnesota Twins fans can look for a variety of new options at Target Field – where Delaware North Sportservice operates food, beverage and retail services – including the Cluck & Moo Bloody Mary, which can be upgraded with a burger slider, and comes standard with a chicken wing, celery, blue cheese, a pepperoni stick, a pepperoncini and an olive.
The ballpark also added a wide variety of local favorites and now features a renovated center field experience, dubbed Catch – a new all-inclusive club and social space named in honor of the legendary catch made in Game 6 of the 1991 World Series by former Twins center fielder Kirby Puckett. The casual space will hold about 120 season-ticket holders and will feature two rows of movable chairs and drink rails, along with lounge-style seating and a full-service bar.
The additions were previewed April 5 to local media (watch a video piece here) by the Twins and Delaware North’s team at the ballpark, which is led by District General Manager Pete Spike and Executive Chef Kurt Chenier.
“New partners include Pizza Lucé and Red Cow. A Twins-themed pub called Minne & Paul’s will also be located under the center field celebration sign and will feature Minnesota-branded food,” said KSTP.com reporter Jennie Lissarrague, in a piece that can be found here. Attendees will also find a new Hot Pretzel Bites and Brews cart in Section 101, which will offer three types of pretzel bites: the savory pretzel bites are topped with beef gravy and Monterey jack cheese; the sweet pretzel bites have berries, a Nutella sauce and whipped cream; and the local pretzel bites are smothered in a Summit beer cheese sauce, candied bacon and cayenne pepper.
‘Bite Sox’ roll into Chitown
The Delaware North Sportservice team at U.S. Cellular Field – led by General Manager Joey Nigro – introduced several new menu items, including adding to its already strong selection of local craft beer (more about the beer here) at the home of the Chicago White Sox.
But it was the new food truck that really turned heads, especially with its creative branding: “Bite Sox.” The introduction of the truck added to the notion that White Sox fans are treated to a better ballpark food experience than fans of the crosstown Chicago Cubs.
“Whether you're a Sox fan or a Cubs fan, one thing most Northsiders and Southsiders can agree on is that the White Sox serve the best ballpark food in our town,” said ChicagoNow.com. “And even now with Major League Baseball franchises around the country ramping up their food offerings, the White Sox are still hard to beat on the field of food.”
Meatballs under the Arch
In St. Louis, the Delaware North Sportservice team – led by General Manager Rory Schroeder and Executive Chef Larry Johnson – introduced several new items and concepts to Busch Stadium, where the company operated food, beverage and retail services for the Cardinals.
“Inside the stadium, men in hard hats were expanding the concourse entrance to the Team Store and building out a new concept, the 8th Street Market, a convenience store that will feature healthy options such as yogurt, hummus and fresh fruit,” the St. Louis Post-Dispatch said in its piece. The store will be situated behind Section 152, taking the former spot of Build-A-Bear, which can now be found at Ford Plaza.
From the Delaware North Sportservice kitchens, meanwhile, came a unique new item that garnered several headlines and got the attention of ESPN business reporter Darren Rovell – The Italian Bread Cone, which features four meatballs, topped with mozzarella and parmesan cheeses. As pictured at right, Rovell tweeted about the item, sharing the photo with his 1.3 million followers.
At San Diego’s Petco Park – home of the Padres – General Manager Susan Hawke and Executive Chef Carlos Vargas bolstered what was already an impressive lineup of local flavors and partners.
Padres fans can look for local favorites, such as Gaglione Brothers cheesesteaks, Board & Brew sandwiches, and the Brigantine Seafood & Oyster Bar. Other newcomers include Rimel’s Surfer Burritos, Yogurtland, Mister Softee, Peet’s Coffee, Bumble Bee Poke Bar, Paradise Bowls and Estrella Cantina.
CW6 San Diego was among several media outlets to feature Delaware North’s new ballpark fare this week – featuring Vargas and his culinary team in a video segment that includes a short cooking demonstration, featuring Gaglione Brothers cheesesteak.