New Food in Chicago

I’m not a big eater at ballgames. I almost always eat something elsewhere before going into the ballpark, so if I do get something during the game it’s usually a hot dog just for the hell of it or some peanuts to munch on or, if it’s really hot, maybe a small dish of ice cream or something. Most of the time though I’m just having a beer or ten. Certainly nothing like these new offerings at the Chicago ballparks:

At the Cell, Illinois Sport Service will unveil build-your-own-burrito (or nacho grande) kiosks on the upper and lower decks; fans will be able to choose a meat (chicken or beef) and select from a wide range of toppings for $7-$8. At the various grill stations in the park, the menus will be augmented by a half-pound turkey burger on a multigrain roll ($6.25) . . .

. . . On the North Side, Levy Restaurants will be adding a few new dishes. The Northside Twist (so new it doesn’t have a price yet) is a 4-pound pretzel served in a pizza box with three mustard dipping sauces; it feeds three to five fans. At the Sheffield Grill, there will be chicken and barbecue pork Quasi-dillas ($7), and footlong Buffalo dogs with Buffalo-wing dipping sauce and blue cheese slaw ($6.75).

You can’t swing a dead cat in Chicago without finding all kinds of awesome food, so why on earth would I subject myself to a four pound pretzel or a Buffalo dog? A ballgame is three hours on the outside. If you can’t go that long without a big honkin’ meal, you got some problems.

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  1. Richard in Dallas said...

    I remember the days at Shea before the apple was installed.  The extensive menu was pretty much this:

    Hot Dogs (with packets of Gulden’s mustard)
    Cracker Jacks
    Cotton Candy
    Malted Milk Ice Cream cups
    Soda (or sodER in the local vernacular)

    I remember the big deal addition of french fries, and that was the beginning of the end of simplicity (and affordability) of ballpark food as I recall.  In the old days, there was nothing on that menu other than beer that was more than $1.00!

    I would gladly trade all the extreme options available around today for those prices……

  2. MooseinOhio said...

    An italian sausage with peppers and onions outside Fenway worked well for me with several beers inside the ball park to tide me over until heading to a local pub after the game.

    Here in the mid-west I substitute a brat for the sausage – the rest stays the same.  Of course in Pittsburg I hit Primanti instead.

    BTW Craig – Is it kosher to reference a dead cat when writing anything about food?

  3. Eddo said...


    I’m confused by your last two sentence: “A ballgame is three hours on the outside. If you can’t go that long without big, you got some problems.”  Did you leave out a word or two?  Three hours “on the outside”?  Can’t go that long without big what?

    Oh, and despite all this added food, Chicago is losing the single best food item in either park: the Best’s Kosher dogs at U.S. Cellular.  That alone means there was a net loss in food quality this offseason.

  4. Craig Calcaterra said...

    Moose: it’s kosher.  A rabbi observed and blessed the killing of the cat.

    Eddo: thanks for the catch.  I went ahead and fixed it (I meant to say “without a big meal”).  Cold medicine is coursing through my veins today, so not all pistons are firing.

  5. Eddo said...

    No worries, Craig.  Thanks for the fix.  Incidentally, I agree with you; at baseball games, I’ll eat a hot dog (or maybe two if I’m particularly hungry) and have a beer or two.  That pretzel just sounds…excessive.

  6. Harry Pavlidis said...

    When I go from work to the ballpark, a brat is in order upon arrival.  Well, even if I just had a meal, I still have my Wrigley brat every game. I won’t be going for the buffalo dog or uber pretzel anytime soon, sorry.

  7. Sal Paradise said...

    Maybe I’ve been in Japan too long, but a 4-pound pretzel only feeds 3-5 people? That’s a pound a person!

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