post

The 100 Best Foods in Baseball

In this summer of COVID-19, my 14-year-old son’s games are the best live baseball I get to see.  Given the shutdown of minor league baseball, he’s been able to play at few fantastic facilities. I’ve even been able to enjoy a stadium beer while watching him play.  But it’s not the same as being at an MLB game.

Part of what I truly miss is the underrated joy of a good meal at the ballpark.  In that absence, I decided to rank my Top 100 concessions at MLB stadiums.

All choices were available in 2019, though there’s no guarantee they will all be there once fans are allowed back into ballparks.  All were available to the general public; if the item was only available in an exclusive club area, it was disqualified from the rankings.  The item had to be sold INSIDE the stadium, meaning near-park foods were not considered.  One item per vendor (e.g. you can’t have three types of pizza from the same place).  All-star Game rules apply in that each team needed at least one representative.  And I had to have personally tried one. While this is highly subjective, I feel solid recommending any of these items: eat from this list, and you won’t go wrong.

Some highlights:

  • The top three parks account for 25% of the items: Petco Park led the way with 10 entries, followed by T-Mobile Park with 8 and Citi Field with 7 (including 4 in the top 16).  All three received a Food Score in my Ballpark ratings of 10 out of 10 as did Philadelphia, which had 4 items in the top 17. 
  • The team with the fewest entrants was the Angels with 1.  Because a few items counted for multiple teams, the average number of items per team was 3.5.  19 of the 30 teams had 3 or fewer entrants.
  • The most popular items on the list were encased meats (i.e. sausages or hot dogs) accounting for 14 entries.  There were 13 steak sandwiches, 10 taco/burrito/nachos, 9 pork sandwiches, 9 seafood dishes, 8 burgers, 6 BBQ, 6 chicken entrees, 6 ice cream desserts, 6 fries, 5 cheesy delights, 3 pizzas and 5 “other”.

THE LIST

100. Chaupulines (Toasted Grasshoppers): T-Mobile Park (Mariners)

A novelty snack that’s surprisingly tasty once you get over the fact that you’re eating bugs.

99. Yankee Lobster Roll: Fenway Park (Red Sox)

While not Boston’s finest, it’s still a pretty good lobster roll.

98. Churo Dog: Chase Field (D-Backs)

A overhyped item that’s still really tasty.

97. Vienna Beef Chicago Dog: Wrigley Field (Cubs)

“Run it through the garden” but don’t you DARE put ketchup on it.

96. Short Rib Grilled Cheese: Tropicana Field (Rays)

A strong mash up of two comfort foods.

95. Quaker Steak & Lube wings:  PNC Park (Pirates)

Regional chain offers the best wings in baseball.

94. Ballard Pizza:  T-Mobile Park (Mariners)

A little tricky to find, but it’s one of the better ballpark pies.

93. Bash Burger: Citi Field (Mets)

Despite being only the 7th best item at Citi Field, it’s a fantastic burger.

92. Mega Pizza Slice:  Busch Stadium (Cards)

Busch Stadium Mega Slice
This 16-inch behemoth is a gut buster, but also offers quality.

91. Fathead’s South Side Slope sandwich: Progressive Field (Indians)

A kielbasa and pierogi sandwich that’s as big as your head.

90. Elote: Guaranteed Rate Field (White Sox)

Corn off the cob with butter, cojita cheese, lime, cayenne pepper and (if you must) mayo.

89. Fried Tomahawk pork chop: Truist Park (Braves)

Part of the Taste of Braves Country menu, this is the Alabama entrant.  A massive dish featuring a fried chop, collard greens, slaw and white barbecue sauce.  Bring a friend to help.

88. CREAM Homemade Ice Cream Sandwich: Oracle Park (Giants)

I was tempted to list their do’sant (i.e. a cronut), but my custom sandwich of white chocolate macademia cookies, salted caramel ice cream and heath bar topping was stupid good.

87. Baked Bear Ice Cream Sandwich: Petco Park (Padres)

I made mine with a brownie on the bottom, butter brittle cake ice cream, a snickerdoodle on top, doused in hot caramel and whipped cream.  Salivating yet?

86. Goetta Burger: Great American Ballpark (Reds)

Is it a sausage or a burger?  German sausage patty served up hamburger style in this regional delight.

85. Buona Italian Beef Sandwich: Wrigley/Guaranteed Rate

Both Chicago parks carry this Second City staple of seasoned roast beef, giardiniera and sweet peppers on an Italian roll.  If wearing a dark shirt, order it wet: they dip it in the au jus for even more flavor (and more mess).

84. Chesapeake Crab Cake: Nationals Park

Nationals Park Chesapeake Crabcake
A good take on this regional delight served in a generous portion.

83. Chicken Shawarma: Comerica Park (Tigers)

Detroit has a large Middle Eastern population, so it makes sense that they can pull off a good ballpark shawarma.

82. Smoked Meat Sandwich: Rogers Centre (Jays)

This unique cured meat is a cross between corned beef and pastrami and is transcendently delicious.  It’s more a Montreal thing than a Toronto thing, and while the Jays’ version is hardly the best version of this dish, it at least scratches the itch. 

81. Ribs and Things: Oakland Coliseum (A’s)

Decent ballpark BBQ in hearty portions.

80. Taste of North Beach meatball sub: Oracle Park (Giants)

There’s a remarkable paucity of good Italian dishes at MLB ballparks.  This is one of the better ones.

79. The Slice: Truist Park (Braves)

Perhaps the best pizza in a MLB ballpark is in a market not known nationally for its pizza.

78. Sausage Sundae: Globe Life Park (Rangers)

The banana split-looking dish features a split sausage, a scoop of mac n cheese, a scoop of pulled pork and a scoop of mashed potatoes, and is served with a red pepper on top.  Great photo op and decent grub.

77. Antique Tacos: Guaranteed Rate Field (White Sox)

Local taqueria opened a stand in Sox Park in 2019 and elevated the park’s already outstanding Mexican food offerings.  The Air Stream is amazing (smoked brisket, queso, grilled onions, cilantro, mustard-like “Beware” sauce).

76. Coliseum Dog: Oakland Coliseum (A’s)

A bacon-wrapped dog with some good snap and flavor.  Among the better hot dogs in baseball.

75. King’s Hawaiian Pork Sliders: Dodger Stadium

You could put almost anything on those sweet Hawaiian rolls and it would taste great.  Serve it at a ballpark, and that’s just plain Happy.

74. Biker Jim’s Elk Jalapeno Cheddar Dog: Coors Field (Rockies)

Denver staple Biker Jim’s has a stand at Coors Field offering many different gourmet dogs, but this was my fave. 

73. Jackson BBQ fried mac and cheese: Minute Maid Park (Astros)

The name of this dish alone makes me salivate.

72. Nicoletta Chicken Parm Hero: Citi Field (Mets)

Citi Field Nicoletta Parm
Italy has brought us banking, the calendar, eyeglasses, jeans, pasteurization, and the radio.  But the chicken parm may be their greatest gift to the world.

71. Medium Rare Steak Sandwich: Nationals Park

Grilled Steak covered in crispy shoestring fries and signature gravy on a fresh baked roll.  Yum!

70. Dilly Dog: Globe Life Park (Rangers)

Large dill pickle hollowed out and stuffed with a frank on a stick, then deep fried.  Pickle-y goodness.

69. L’il Woody’s Burger: T-Mobile Park (Mariners)

Beloved Capitol Hill burger joint, L’il Woody’s opened a stand in the Pen in 2019 and joined the litany of amazing T-Mobile Park food stands.  Simple flame-grilled quarter-pound burgers with good fries and shakes.  (My inner Gronk giggles that “L’il Woody’s” is #69 on the list).

68. Grilled Dodger Dog: Dodger Stadium

A controversial high rating, but if you get the grilled version rather than the steamed version, it belongs.

67. Shibe Tavern Ahi Poke Bowl: Oakland Coliseum (A’s)

A tad effete for the gritty Coliseum, but it was probably the best poke bowl I had in a stadium.

66. Chickie & Pete’s Crab Fries: PNC Park & Citizen’s Bank Park (Pirates & Phils)

A Philly special so good, it migrated across Pennsylvania.  Crinkle-cut french fries sprinkled with a blend of crabby spices and served with a unique White Creamy Cheese Sauce for dipping.

65. Artisan Fried Chicken Sandwich: Kauffman Stadium (Royals)

Kauffman Stadium Chicken Sandwich
Fried chicken, roasted garlic aioli, candied bacon, pepper jack cheese, tomato, lettuce, avocado and fried egg, on a split top glazed roll.  Just writing that made me want one.

64. Gilroy Garlic Fries: Oracle Park (Giants)

Repel vampires and enjoy Oracle Park’s much-hyped signature dish.

63. Toasted Ravioli: Busch Stadium (Cards)

Would be higher in the ranking if it were always available, but it comes on and off the menu.  It’s St Louis’ culinary gift to the world, and you should accept that gift.

62. Ivar’s Grilled Salmon Sandwich: T-Mobile Park (Mariners)

Seattle institution has had a stand in the Mariners’ park since opening.  Their standard fried fish sandwiches are good, but salmon lovers will rejoice here.

61. Classic Poutine: Rogers Centre (Blue Jays)

The original Quebecois poutine is still the best.  Gastropubs have made this a fancy dish, but the basics still rock: fries, squeaky curds, brown gravy.  If the ballpark had better french fries, this would rank even higher.

60. Blake Street Burrito: Coors Field (Rockies)

Denver knows how to burrito, and this one is pretty darn good.

59. Gaglione Brothers Cheesesteak: Petco Park (Padres)

I love cheesesteaks.  This is the best ballpark cheesesteak outside of Philly.

58. Burrata Burger: Yankee Stadium

Yankee Stadium Burrata Burger
Burger topped with Italian burrata, pancetta, oven-roasted tomato relish, and baby arugula.  To quote the big guy next to me after he polished one off, “This is a f*cking great burger”.

57. Miguel’s Cocina Surf N Turf Burrito: Petco Park (Padres)

One pound of deliciousness.  This monster comes loaded with carne asada, shrimp, salsa, French fries, cheese and topped with sour cream and guacamole. 

56. Crab dipped waffle fries: Oriole Park at Camden Yards

They move around from year to year, but you can normally find these addictive bad boys featuring a crab dip made from crab meat, cream cheese, butter and (apparently) crack.

55. Tres Leche Milkshake: Yankee Stadium

You may have a Pulp Fiction moment when you see a $15 milk shake (“That’s a shake.  It’s milk and ice cream.  You don’t put bourbon in it?).  But a beer will cost you that here, and the shake is WAAAAY better. (Plus you keep the souvenir glass).

54. Din Tai Fung Pork Buns: T-Mobile Park (Mariners)

Chinese dumpling expert whose steamed pork buns taste like “more”.

53. Burnt Ends Mac N Cheese: Kauffman Stadium (Royals)

The best of the BBQ offerings in a park in the BBQ capital of the world.

52. AJ Bombers Burger: Miller Park (Brewers)

Outpost of top-notch local burger joint.  You may be tempted to do the Barrie Burger (Bacon, cheese and chunky peanut butter), but that’s just silly. 

51. Barrio Tacos: Progressive Field (Indians)

This food truck staple made to the Big Leagues.  Good tacos and great sauces.

TOP 50

50. Ghiradelli Hot Fudge Sundae: Oracle Park (Giants)

If you had one outside a ballpark you know it’s a near-orgasmic experience.  Add a ball game and you’ll be searching for a cigarette.

49. Indurrito Indian Burrito: Target Field (Twins)

The Hot Indian Food stand is fantastic and an unexpected gem in Minnesota.  Enjoy the flavors of India in a burrito shell.  Wear a dark shirt.

48. Bobak’s Italian Sausage: Guaranteed Rate Field (White Sox)

Top notch Italian sausage, grilled onions, sweet peppers, marinara sauce.  Wear a dark shirt.

47. Wisconsin Ultimate Cheese Fry: Miller Park (Brewers)

Miller park Wisconsin Cheese Fry
Crispy craft beer battered twister fries topped with cheddar cheese sauce, chopped apple wood smoked bacon, and fried cheese curds.  Defibrillator not included.

46. 505 Southwestern Fry Bread Taco: Chase Field (D-Backs)

Native fry bread is good on its own.  Top it with ranch beans, carnitas, cheese, lettuce, tomato, sour cream and Green Chile Sauce and you have a veritable delight. 

45. Sushi from SuViche: Marlins Park

This Miami Peruvian restaurant’s ballpark outpost offer the best rolls in the MLB.

44. Chronic Tacos: Angel Stadium

Popular taco bar offers their yummy wares.  The helmet nachos are good, but the tacos are the real winners.

43. Seaside Market Cardiff Tri-Tips: Petco Park (Padres)

Tender marinated Tri-Tips on a brioche bun with housemade BBQ sauce.  Its nickname is “Cardiff Crack” which is all you really need to know.

42. Fenway Frank: Fenway Park (Red Sox)

My choice for best “regular” hot dog in baseball.  Simple Kayem frank with a little spice served on a New England roll. As ALL hot dogs should be.

41. Hand-Carved Gyros: Comerica Park (Tigers)

Detroit’s large Greek community wouldn’t allow a mediocre gyro at the ballpark.  These are gooood.

40. Carvery Steak Sandwich: Truist Park (Braves)

They dub it “The Best Darn Sandwich in Baseball” and it almost lives up to the hype.  Herbed beef tenderloin sandwich on a brioche roll topped with roasted portobello mushrooms, fried onions, balsamic glazed arugula, and blue cheese sauce, served with a side of truffle chips.

39. Pulled Pork Pierogi Hoagie: PNC Park (Pirates)

Just the name of this dish makes my mouth water.  I love pierogis and when combined with pulled pork and crispy fried onions, you have a winner.

38. Brigatine Fish Tacos: Petco Park (Padres)

Brigatine Fish Tacos
While Brigantine also offers fish and chips, clam chowder, coctel del mar and a fresh catch of the day, the fish taco seems like the most ballpark-y food.  And they’re delicious.

37. Torchy’s Tacos: Minute Maid Park (Astros)

Their Green Chili Pork, Beef Fajita and Fried Avocado tacos are all good.  But the kicker is their Trailer Park: fried chicken, green chiles, lettuce, pico de gallo.

36. Momocho Nachos: Progressive Field (Indians)

Ballpark outpost of an Ohio City mod Mex eatery, these nachos feature chicken, pulled pork, or chorizo, and are topped with pickled jalapenos, green salsa and a funky cilantro lime. And you can get extra queso or beans.

35. Luche Libre California Surfin Burrito: Petco Park (Padres)

Another mammoth burrito at Petco Park.  This one features carne asada, shrimp, cheese, french fries, creamy avocado, pico de gallo and a secret chipotle jammed into a 14-inch tortilla.

34. Hot Dog with Bertman mustard: Progressive Field (Indians)

This is the highest ranking “plain” hot dog on the list, but the real star is the mustard, a stadium staple for nearly a century.

33. Kramarczuk’s sausage: Target Field (Twins)

Hard to pronounce, but easy-to eat.  This James Beard Award winner offers Polish and Hungarian varietals, as well as some kooky concoctions (one year there was a hot dog inside a brat all wrapped in bacon).  But the classic brat, onions and kraut is the play.

32. Arancini Bros rice balls: Citi Field (Mets)

Fantastic ballpark finger food.  Fried rice balls served in a 6-slot egg carton coming in a mix and match assortment.  Flavors include meat ragu, pizza, buffalo chicken, taco, and cinnamon-dusted Nutella.  The perfect ballpark food; these should be everywhere.

31. Choripan from Novecento: Marlins Park

This Miami Argentine restaurant offers a killer sausage topped with onion-drenched salsa criolla.

30. Frozen Rope Ice Cream Sandwich: T-Mobile Park (Mariners)

The best of the ballpark homemade ice cream sandwiches.  Combines killer cookies and/or brownies with ice cream from Snoqualmie or Lopez Island Creamery.  The secret’s out on this one, so expect long lines once the game starts. 

29. Hot Doug’s Sausage: Wrigley Field (Cubs)

Local encased meat legend Doug Sohn offers three rotating sausages a game.  Any will be fabulous.  Only available for fans sitting in the bleachers.

28. Paseo Caribbean sandwich: T-Mobile Park (Mariners)

T-Mobile Park Paseo Caribbean Sandwich
Beloved Seattle sandwich with intense flavors: roasted pulled pork shoulder, aioli, cilantro, romaine, jalapeños, & caramelized onions on a crusty roll.

27. Phil’s BBQ Ribs: Petco Park (Padres)

Until Killeen’s opens in Houston, Phil’s has the title for the best BBQ ribs in MLB. These are legit.

26. Cha Cha Bowl: Oracle Park (Giants)

Available at Orlando Cepeda’s stand, this Caribbean delight is a bowl of rice, beans, chicken or carnitas topped with a pineapple-zucchini salsa. Relatively healthy and yummy.

25. Murray’s Steak Sandwich: Target Field (Twins)

Minneapolis institution offers its signature amazing steak sandwich featuring strip sirloin, bacon and provolone.

24. Hodad’s Burger: Petco Park (Padres)

A Guy Fieri favorite, this killer burger stacks high with crunchy fixings on a soft bun.

23. New England Clam Chowder: Fenway Park (Red Sox)

World class chowder nicely cuts through the New England nip on those cool nights at Fenway.

22. Stuffed BBQ Baked Potato: Minute Maid Park (Astros)

Big spud stuffed with butter, sour cream, pulled pork, BBQ sauce and jalapeños. 

21. Bao to the Pork: Wrigley Field (Cubs)

Hickory-smoked pulled pork sandwich served on a steamed bao bun with pickled daikon and carrot, cucumbers, and jalapeño relish.  At Wrigley Field!  It’s proof God once loved us.

TOP 20

20. Boog’s Pit Beef: Oriole Park at Camden Yards

A staple of Camden Yards since its opening.  When they’re clicking on all cylinders, it’s fantastic BBQ.

19. Carnitas’ Snack Shack Triple Threat: Petco Park (Padres)

Petco Park Carnitas Snack Shack
May be the ultimate homage to the pig.  Breaded pork loin, pulled pork and crispy bacon, topped with pepperoncini relish and served on a fresh, locally baked Kaiser bun.

18. Blue Water Seafood Fish Taco: Petco Park (Padres)

Among the many great fish tacos at Petco, I like this one the best.  Light enough to save room for more.

17. Campo’s Heater: Citizen’s Bank Park (Phillies)

While only the second best cheesesteak in the ballpark, it’s still an amazing dish.  As the name implies, this sandwich packs some heat thanks to the Jalapeno hot sauce.

16. Pat Lafrieda Steak Sandwich: Citi Field (Mets)

Filet mignon, sharp Vermont cheese and sweet onions on a baguette soaked in au jus.  Good God!

15. Medianoche Cuban Sandwich: Tropicana Field (Rays)

Classic Cuban sandwich done well.  Pork, ham, swiss cheese, dill pickles, bread and olive oil on a pressed sweet egg bread bun.  Delicious!

14. Shake Shack Shackburger: 4 teams (Mets, Phils, Astros, Nats)

Four ballparks now offer this increasingly ubiquitous burger.  But lack of scarcity shouldn’t make it any less delicious.  It’s a near perfect burger that’s not too filling, allowing for a second course and/or several beers.

13. Crazy Crab Sandwich: Oracle Park (Giants)

Crab meat salad, tomato, lemon, on garlic-buttered sourdough bread. Simple. Fresh. Delicious.

12. Kuku Fries: T-Mobile Park (Mariners)

Tastes collide in this inventive take on loaded fries.  French fries topped with togarashi Japanese seasoning, red tobiko (flying fish roe), chili sauce, horseradish crema and chives.

11. Fuku Hot Chicken Sandwich: Citi Field (Mets)

David Chang’s famous sandwich is a juicy, crunchy delight.  Made from thigh meat, it packs extra flavor and a good kick.

10. Skyline Coney Dog: Great American Ballpark (Reds)

I love these things.  Regular dog in a smallish bun, smothered in Cincinnati chili, then piled high with shredded cheese, and I mean PILED.  Messy but delightful.  Order 2 at a time.

9. Mama’s of Corona Italian Hero: Citi Field (Mets)

Citi Field Mamas of Corona
Flavor bomb of a sandwich that’s so Italian, it would feel more at home at a Juventus game.

8. Parmageddon from Melt: Progressive Field (Indians)

Grilled cheese AND pierogies in one sandwich?!  Sign me up.

7. Ben’s Chili Bowl Half Smoke: Nationals Park

A coarse sausage smoked then grilled and covered in chili, mustard, onions, shame (as you dribble some down your shirt) and delight.

6. Federal Donuts Fried Chicken Sandwich: Citizen’s Bank Park (Phillies)

Crazy good chicken sandwich.  Boneless chicken breast, buttermilk ranch seasoning, American cheese, dill pickle and spicy sauce on a potato roll.

5. Tony Luke’s cheesesteak: Citizen’s Bank Park (Phillies)

Classic Philly cheesesteak.  Thinly cut ribeye steak topped with onions and Cheese Wiz, served on a chewy roll. 

4. Brat with Stadium Sauce: Miller Park (Brewers)

A Milwaukee baseball tradition and still the best encased meat in baseball.  The Italian and Polish sausages are also good, but the Secret Sauce (and optional kraut) works best with the classic brat.

3. H&F double stack burger: Truist Park (Braves)

One of the best burgers you’ll have in the country, let alone in a stadium.  Simple double stack that just seems to dance with your taste buds.

2. Lobel’s steak sandwich: Yankee Stadium

When perfectly medium rare, this relatively simple sandwich featuring USDA prime rib, au jus and horseradish sauce on a brioche bun is about as good as it gets.

1. Primanti Brothers Cheesesteak: PNC Park (Pirates)

The combination of the meat, cheese, slaw and fries in the sandwich is perfect.  The bread is perfect.  And the perfect setting of PNC Park makes this the best $10ish you’ll spend at a ballpark.

Bon appetit!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *