Every Stadium in MLB, Ranked by Its Best Food
The next time you take yourself out to the ball game, don't buy some peanuts and Cracker Jacks. For one, why would you buy peanuts and Cracker Jacks when Cracker Jacks already have peanuts in them? And secondly, food at baseball parks has gotten much, much better since Sultan of Swat served up dingers with a side of stale popcorn, inside a box featurinmg what we can only assume is an illustration of a child-slave sailor and his loyal attack dog.
Every modern MLB cathedral has more copious and varied food options than Babu's Dream Cafe, but some stadium fare simply slugs harder than the rest. Here, we took on the challenge of ranking every current MLB stadium by their food. But first, let's clear a few things up. We aren't including beer. So, apologies to everyone who sticks to a liquid diet during the ballgame. Secondly, while we are certainly taking the overall spread of stadium selections into account, we are heavily weighting our rankings with regards to each stadium's best overall dish. A rotation is only as good as its ace, after all -- and, when you do make it to any of these parks, you probably only have the stomach (and budget) to eat one meal, anyway. You deserve a winner.
And while -- as in life and baseball -- there are winners and losers on this ranking, all of these national-pastime meals add character and culinary ambience to their respective parks, and in their own little way, can make even the most boring of games (Marlins vs. Padres in mid-August, anyone?) somewhat bearable.
Now please rise and remove your caps.
30. Oakland A's: Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum
Best item: Ribs and Things (Section 104)
The team has seen better days. The Coliseum has seen better days. And as the city just across the Bay Bridge has the shiny new(ish) park and myriad banging food options (more on them, later), the old, "also-is-a-football-stadium" in Oaktown is a little rough around the edges... and scarce in food options. Things are scrappy. And not in a shrewd, Moneyball way. Alas, Ribs and Things comes through and saves the day, just as well as Ribs and Things can. Listen: You are far better off filling up at the food trucks outside the park.
29. Tampa Bay Rays: Tropicana Field
Best item: Cuban sandwich (All over the park )
Here's the thing: Tropicana Field is probably the worst stadium in baseball. Sometimes, balls actually hit the ceiling and stay there. And the team has one of the lowest budgets in the entire league, leading to the unfortunate nickname, "Tampa Bay Triple A's." Despite all this apparent bleakness, the home of the Rays has some legitimate foodstuff (that doesn't involve orange juice) for fans to enjoy while dodging balls falling from the roof. This year, they've added some iconic St. Pete's eateries like Park Shore Grill, 400 Beach, and the Hangar to their concessions roster. But the real heavy hitter here is the St. Petersburg-style Cuban sandwich that's available all over the stadium. You've got your ham, your pork, Swiss cheese, salami, the optional mustard/pickles, on toasted Cuban bread. You're not in Havana... or even Miami... but hey, as far as your tongue is concerned, you might as well be. Despite this stellar sandwich, and a new lineup of local favorites, there's still not enough here to place the Trop higher on this ranking.
28. Kansas City Royals: Kauffman Stadium
Best item: Belfonte ice cream (All over the stadium)
It is incredibly frustrating that a town so steeped in BBQ legend does not have a better selection of BBQ inside the park. There is no stand-out BBQ joint that can live up to what the town (and probably the tailgaters) can offer. This is a Mike Moustakas-sized let down, and a big reason Kauffman is so ranked so low. Shockingly, the best thing you can get at a Royals game is a few scoops from Belfonte -- a KC ice cream staple that's been around 1969, the same year the Royals themselves were founded. Coincidence? Yeah, probably. Still, this local ice cream legend is the ideal antidote to those hot Midwestern day games out on the boiling metal of Kauffman's bleachers. It's also a cure for empty stomachs and, if used correctly, malaise. It's even better than a loaded bullpen. Then after the game is over, you can go out and get some ribs. Things aren't so bad after all. Unless you are rooting for the Royals to win in 2018. Then yeah, things are kind of bad.
27. Detroit Tigers: Comerica Park
Best item: Chicken shawarma nachos, (Section 122)
If we were ranking craft beer selections, Comerica would probably edge its way to the top, as they were one of the first parks in the majors to truly embrace the craft beer movement and offer a balanced lineup of quality, local brews. But in true, bad luck Tigers tradition, we aren't doing that. Womp womp. The team traded away most of their valuable players last year (sorry Miggy), and their food options are equally vacant. They have some solid, quirky desserts, like the apple pie Eggroll and the Nutella egg roll at Big Cat Court (both new additions for 2018) and a new, uber-trendy Buffalo cauliflower dish at the Corner Tap Room (in section 115). But the true culinary equivalent of a Verlander heater (ouch, too soon?) are the chicken shawarma nachos, sold in Section 122. Basically, it's a deconstructed shawarma dish -- hummus, garlic sauce, shredded chicken, lettuce, tomato -- atop freshly baked pita chips. While Comerica is finally catching up with Detroit's surprisingly vibrant and diverse food scene, it still isn't fully there. We'll consider them to be in the "rebuilding" phase. You know, like the team.
26. Chicago White Sox: Guaranteed Rate Field
Best item: Elote/corn off the cob (Sections 104, 127, 142, and 529)
The Second City's second-favorite baseball team (but Obama's No. 1!) might have the worst-named stadium in any major American sport. But, they do have one of the best snacks in the Big Leagues in the form of a surprisingly fresh-tasting elote, available either straight on the cob or off it, in a bowl, loaded with toppings like chili, salt, butter, and mayo. (Pro tip: When the dude asks which of these you want on top of elote bowl, do the responsible thing and say, "all of them, please!") And while this elote is particularly delicious -- and the rest of the concessions are stacked with some local favorites like Beggar's deep dish and ice cream bars from Prairie Farms -- there's just not enough substance here to compete with the rest of the league. Kind of reminds you of the White Sox themselves, right? I'm seeing a recurring theme here...
25. Toronto Blue Jays: Rogers Centre
Best item: Dessert churro poutine (Section 141)
Canada's only ball club (RIP Expos) obviously needed to throw its maple leaf-adorned caps into the fray by going all out on poutine. And while there is a decent sausage poutine served throughout the stadium, the real standout here is a recently debuted dessert poutine that switches fries for churros, ditches gravy and cheese curds for ice cream and caramel, and swaps out savory for ridiculously sweet. Really, it's not poutine at all. It's more like a sundae with churro sticks. But ultimately that doesn't roll off the tongue as well as "dessert poutine," right? But again, like so many of these low-ranked stadiums, it's just a little disappointing that there's not a more substantial "best dish" to push the stadium formally known as the Skydome over the top. At any rate, now Jays fans can indulge in this hedonistic dessert as they watch their team screw up in the playoffs. O Canada!
24. St. Louis Cardinals: Busch Stadium
Best item: St. Louis dog (Food Network Hot Dog Bar, Section 144)
Oh, how original right? The St. Louis dog in St. Louis. Well, buddy, this wiener -- despite being from a place called Food Network Hot Dog Bar -- is pretty much the only thing at Busch Stadium that will beat can after can after can of fresh light beer (or as I call it, America Sauce). Let's go over the insides: potato chips, barbecue sauce, and shredded cheese atop a big ol' frankfurter. Wash it down with some America Sauce, and you have a perfect encapsulation of baseball, summer, and good old USA excess. But in an era when ballpark food has become so elevated, you'd like to see Busch offering up a better option than a simple wiener to make fans remember the good ol' days when the Cubs sucked, Pujols raked in Cardinal red, and the Cubs sucked. It's been a tough few years.
23. Los Angeles Angels: Angel Stadium
Best item: Chronic Tacos (Section 223)
The Angels have one of the most exciting young players in the league in Mike Trout. They also have one of the most exciting young tacos in the league in this carnitas taco. While Trout comes from Millville, New Jersey, the tacos come from Chronic Tacos, a local SoCal joint that has become the one of the most popular food stops in the whole park. Mike Trout is a five-tool player (hit for average, hit for power, catch, throw, run). These are five-tool tacos (delicious, cheap, pork, spicy, for sale). I'm seeing a correlation, and fans can only hope to see more excellence from both in the coming years. However, just as the Halo's roster is pretty much one awesome dude and a bunch of other just OK dudes, the concessions game is pretty much a one-dish show. Trout can't carry the Angels alone... and neither can Chronic Tacos.
22. Los Angeles Dodgers: Dodger Stadium
Best item: Super Dodger Dog (All over)
Thrillist LA contributor Jeff Miller might say it best: "OK, it's time for some true honesty: Classic Dodger Dogs -- the long, sort of mushy, very skinny, beef/pork-blended hot dog that's one of the most famous foods in baseball -- is sort of terrible, especially if you get the steamed version (available through most of the park) rather than the much more flavorful grilled version (available only at select vendors). But it's that processed, salty flavor that also sparks nostalgia for childhood summers and the smell of tee-ball tees and not-quite-broken-in mitts that makes going to Dodgers games, especially for local Angelenos, a must-do. The pro tip is to order the far better Super Dodger Dog, made entirely of beef, which is slightly fatter, way juicier, and is absolutely more palatable, but still allows you to leave the stadium feeling like you made the correct food choice. And then, drive through a nearby In-N-Out." OK! And while the classic Super Dodger Dog has its (obvious) admirers, and there are some substantial also-rans like the cannolis from Tommy Lasorda's Trattoria, or the elote from Think Blue BBQ, the overall effort is not worthy of the NL champions pedigree -- or LA itself, for that matter. Hey, at least they beat the Angels?
21. Cincinnati Reds: Great American Ball Park
Best item: Skyline Chili (all over the park)
Skyline Chili -- much like Reds legend Pete Rose -- is beloved by fans, but dramatically divisive, and sometimes controversial, pretty much everywhere else. While Cincinnatians (Cincinnatites? Cinncers?) consider their messy pseudo-chili a city landmark in itself, out-of-towners might not be able to grasp what makes the famous Skyline puddle so damn endearing to Queen City taste buds. So, while some might consider the Great American Ballpark to be a chili mecca, others might want to dry heave at the thought. Basically, this park lives and dies on the strength of Skyline. Which certainly handcuffs its standing on this list.
20. Colorado Rockies: Coors Field
Best Item: CHUBurger (The Rooftop at Coors Field)
For this one, we turn to Thrillist contributor and Denver dweller Lee Breslouer: "CHUBurger is weirdly not the burger place owned by Nobel Prize winner Steven Chu. Rather, it's a rooftop location of a burger joint opened by the stalwart Colorado beer maker Oskar Blues. OB got its start as a brewpub, so it's no surprise to anyone from the area that its burger joint is one of the best in a state full of 'em. To wit: the first year it was open in 2014, the hard-working staff flipped 50,000 burgers. Local, grass-fed Angus beef is the centerpiece of said burgers, and it can be paired with shakes, fries, and a few Oskar Blues." So the CHUburger is absurdly good... but unfortunately for fans in the Mile High City, where every baseball flies like it was hit by Barry Bonds standing on Aaron Judge's shoulders, most of the other offerings lack any semblance of pop.
19. Boston Red Sox: Fenway Park
Best item: Fenway Frank (Pretty much everywhere in Fenway Park)
Part of the charm of baseball is the nostalgia (also, the coaches have to wear full uniforms, which is hilarious). The game is essentially played the same way it was hundreds of years ago. It's like a historical reenactment every summer, with limited commercial breaks and zero boring butter-churning. Back when the Great Bambino was slinging fastballs in Fenway, they ate hot dogs. And the Nation still does. This is certainly the most charming wiener in the majors (especially since Jeter retired), and the rest of the roster is bolstered by quirky new additions like lobster poutine from Yankee (!) Lobster, and the surprisingly healthy inclusion of hearty salads from Fenway Farms. But just as the Sox lineup is lacking oomph since Big Papi hung up his cleats and profanity-laden speeches, we're not seeing a lot of compelling dishes in Beantown's old ballpark. Still, Fenway managed to escape the lower third of the ranking based on the strength of the Fenway Frank. They're wicked ubiquitous, brah.
18. Texas Rangers: Globe Life Park
Best item: MVT: Most Valuable Tamale (Section 141)
Everything, apparently, is bigger in Texas. And while that's a dumb cliche no writer should ever lead a paragraph about Texas with (oops), it definitely applies to this big-ass, 2-foot-long, "call the missus because I ain't driving home" Most Valuable Tamale. It's like A-Rod left some of his 'roids in Arlington and a local food vendor scooped them and put them to work. The dish itself is Globe Park's originally notorious "Boom Stick" -- a 2-foot-long hot dog soaked with chili and cheese that is probably the second best thing available in Arlington -- inside of a tamale. Yes, it's incredibly aggressive. The Rangers have made a name for themselves in the concessions-world by going all out (or maybe in?) with stunt foods that make heart doctors cringe. And while all this is definitely notable, it's not going to be the perfect fit for every prospective MLB-diner.
17. Milwaukee Brewers: Miller Park
Best item: Bratchos on a stick (All over the park)
There are some things in life you shouldn't try to explain or make sense of. They are things that just need to be accepted as what they are, nothing more, nothing less. Such is the case with Miller Park's Bratchos (get it?): a fried wad of cheese, seasoned ground beef, crushed Doritos, and sour cream on a 6-inch toothpick. "We've sold nachos before, but some people don't want to get messy," the concessions GM at Miller Park told ESPN. "I think this is going to be a big seller because you can eat this in one hand and have a beer in the other." It's like a deep-fried plastic bag, dancing in the wind. Aside from that, there's sausages from Klements, and a very Wisconsin-esque array of cheese curds all over the stadium. But if you prefer your arteries unclogged, you might feel a little stifled at Miller Park. But if that's the case, what are you doing in Wisconsin, anyway?
16. Arizona Diamondbacks: Chase Field
Best item: Churro Dog 2.0 (Sections 114 and 123)
The Churro Dog has more clout than anyone on the current D-Backs roster (Greinke is streaky and Goldschmidt... we'll just have to wait and see). This dessert dog, on the other hand, to paraphrase The Big Lebowski, is a churro-based snack for its time and place... it fits right in. It even won "donut-based food of the year" by MLB.com, which is pretty much the Academy Awards for donut-based ballpark foods. The Churro Dog 2.0 amps things up by throwing an Oreo churro inside the traditional donut bun (with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, chocolate sauce, strawberry sauce, and extra Oreos). It's one of the preeminent stadium foods and a benchmark for all baseball desserts. Because as ballpark food logic dictates, your dish is only as good as the heart attacks that should inevitably follow. But, it is a novelty. And when your number one food is a calorie-laden, saccharine dessert that would even make an 8-year-old at a birthday party a little hesitant, it's a little hard to crack the top half of this list. Sorry D'backs fans.
15. Washington Nationals: Nationals Park
Best item: Chili half-smoke hot dog (Ben's Chili Bowl, Sections 109, 140, 317)
Does it get any more patriotic than eating a hot dog while watching America's game in our nation's capital, in Nationals Park, watching the Nationals? The answer is maybe... but it involves riding a bald eagle through a tornado of cowboy hats and hard copies of the Declaration of Independence. So doing that first thing is much more realistic. The Nationals are a budding young team with a nice talent core. On top of that, their park has DC's legendary half-smoke hot dog soaked and smothered in the District's famous chili. It's sweeter than a Bryce Harper dinger, and only a fraction of the cost. For once, Congress is doing something right. And by Congress, I mean the guys who make food at the baseball stadium down the street from Congress. I'm sure Congress wasn't really involved at all.
14. Philadelphia Phillies: Citizens Bank Park
Best item: A cheesesteak (Tony Luke's, Section 104)
In the (very unfortunate) absence of the legendary "Schmitter," which was pretty much the only reason to go to a Phillies game since 2009, a cheesesteak should rightfully take its place on the Iron Throne of Philly's ball team. Citizens Bank has a few cheesesteak options -- including Campo's -- but the honor here goes to Tony Luke's, the sandwich that's always in the "Best of Philly" conversation. It's a cheesesteak. It's Philly. You get it. If there was a better selection of cheesesteaks to indulge in at Citizens Bank, Philly would have ranked much higher. But then again, if Ryan Howard actually decided to play baseball for the last five years of his contract, the Phillies might have actually won a few games in the past decade. It's best not to think in these hypotheticals.
13. Houston Astros: Minute Maid Park
Best item: Texas Smoke (Section 125, 406)
Texas Smoke and its legendary brisket get bonus points since celebrity chef and Texas Smoke owner Bryan Caswell is a legit Astros fanboy. It embodies local flavor (massive plus) just as much as any stadium offering, and is substantial enough to beat diminutive slugger Jose Altuve in a fist fight. There are two locations in-park, to ensure the crowds at Minute Maid are never too far from a banging plate of homestyle BBQ, and it's pretty much the go-to for locals and visiting fans. When the 'Stros moved from the NL to the AL, they luckily brought their trademarked brisket with them. They did add a designated hitter, though. Bad news for National League purists, good news for people who like to eat meat. The reigning World Series champs have an overall solid selection of concessions, including barbecue-stuffed baked potatoes from the Butcher, and a Shake Shack in center field. But the crown jewel is Texas Smoke. The good times are rolling for the 'Stros, and their fans can just sit back and watch... with a plate full of brisket, of course.
12. Chicago Cubs: Wrigley Field
Best item: Bao to the Pork (Pork & Mindy’s, Bleacher Platform 14)
Not only did the Cubbies recently break the century-long curse perpetrated by one pissed off goat owner, they also just swept the MLB Food Namies (which is an award I literally just made up) with the delightfully titled Bao to the Pork sandwich. The sandwich -- from Chicago-favorite Pork & Mindy's -- combines hickory-smoked pulled pork with pickled daikon, carrots, and jalapeño relish on a steamed bao bun. Traditionally, Wrigley was known as something of an antiquated black hole for quality food, but the organization has really turned it around of late with the help of local stalwarts like Pork & Mindy, beef sandwiches from Buona, and deep-dish from Giordano's. Now if the Cubbies faithful have to wait another century for their next World Series trip, they can do so knowing they have one of the most eclectic baseball snack lineups in the Senior Circuit. It should be enough to make every North Sider forget how much they hate Steve Bartman, or that Moises Alou used to pee on his hands before every game.
11. Miami Marlins: Marlins Park
Best item: Taco dog (Miami Mex, Section 5)
Is a hot dog a sandwich? Is a taco a sandwich? These usually loaded questions become even more of a mindfuck with the advent of the Marlins' taco dog: a Nathan's frank wrapped in a tortilla with chili, pepper jack cheese, jalapeños, and sour cream. It's a dish fit for the absurdly flamboyant Marlins Park, and a worthy distraction from what is sure to be another brutal season by the floundering club. Are hot dogs better in a tortilla? Perhaps. But they are definitely not worse. Either way, this thing's probably not a sandwich. But it is the best thing to snack on in South Beach, amid a loaded lineup. While new Big Boss Derek Jeter essentially gutted Miami's roster, fans still have reason to show up to games. If taco dogs are a little too confusing for your palate, you can still snag fresh ceviche at Taste of Miami, a Fluffernutter grilled marshmallow melt from The High Cheese, and beef brisket mac & cheese from MIA BBQ. Basically, you don't even need to pay attention to the field when you hit up Marlins park this summer. And you probably won't want to, anyway.
10. Atlanta Braves: SunTrust Park
Best item: Anything at Waffle House (Section 311)
The Braves now have a shiny new state-of-the-art stadium to accompany their God-awful ballclub. And since fans in Georgia need something to wash down the cultural insensitivity of the Tomahawk Chop, they can turn to the South's greatest export (aside from Juvenile, obviously), Waffle House. Yes, SunTrust Park has a Waffle House, in-house. And while you won't find the full menu here, the scaled-down effort is more than sufficient: waffles, hash browns of all styles, and the Texas Philly sandwich. It's enough caloric, down-home cooking glory to help fans forget they had Greg Maddux, John Smoltz, and Tom Glavine on the same team, in their primes, and only captured one championship (Damn, Yankees!) and basically the only thing you need to know about SunTrust Park. Oh, and they have a Chick-Fil-A. Just don't expect to hit it up before a Sunday matinee.
9. Baltimore Orioles: Oriole Park at Camden Yards
Best item: Chesapeake fries (The Flying Dog Grill, Section 27)
The picturesque, bay-side stadium that Cal Ripken Jr. built (but not really, they used city-paid construction workers) actually has some of the best food options of any ballpark in the junior circuit, in a town brimming with surprisingly choice eats. So, "best dish" was a tough choice, and respect must be paid to Boog's BBQ (don't be squeamish about the name, as Boog Powell was a former all-star for the O's) and the crab nachos at the Chipper. But in the end, the appetizer-meal Chesapeake fries -- which, in case you were wondering, is waffle fries covered with mounds of fresh Maryland crab dip -- won because of its regional representation (the Old Line State = crabs and Old Bay), and also because it's just really damn good. It's actually the best thing to come out of Charm City since The Wire wrapped. Apologies to Joe Flacco.
8. Cleveland Indians: Progressive Field
Best item: Melt Bar and Grilled (The Right Field District)
So last season was a success... but it obviously could have ended better. Namely, not losing to the Yankees in crushing fashion in the ALDS. At any rate, fans of the Tribe can look forward to eating what is consistently considered one of the best grilled cheeses in the entire nation at Progressive's newly renovated Right Field District. One bonkers sandwich from Melt -- try the Parmageddon loaded with pierogies -- is enough to shed the "Mistake by the Lake" label The Land was slapped with over the past quarter-century. You also have a build-your-own-taco situation by the Land's food truck darling Barrio, and a slew of idiosyncratic burger options from Zack Bruell's Cleveland burger concept, Dynamite burger. It's almost enough Cleveland-based pride to make you forget the Browns exist. Almost.
7. New York Yankees: Yankee Stadium
Best item: Lobel's Steak Sandwich (Sections 134 and 321)
For better or worse, the Yankees are the quintessential New Yorker sports team. And, for better or worse, the quintessential New Yorker thing is to charge a metric shit-ton of cash for the simplest pleasures -- something the Yankees and their stadium fully embrace. The Stadium is flush with hard-hitting sluggers this year, and as always, there's a ton of hyper-expensive, and high quality food to dig into in the land of dingers. NYY Steak is a literal steakhouse sandwiched inside the stadium. Jersey Mike's brings its legendary cheesesteak to the Pinstriped Palace. And Mighty Quinn's makes sure every entitled Yanks fan has a quality BBQ option while sitting amongst the ghosts of Ruth and Mantle. But the cleanup hitter in the concessions lineup is the thick-cut steak sandwich from iconic Upper East Side butcher Lobel’s. It's classy. It's egregious. It's wildly expensive. And at the end of it all, it's a winner. This is basically the Bronx Bombers in sandwich form. Start spreading the news.
6. Pittsburgh Pirates: PNC Park
Best item: The Pitts-burger from Primanti Brothers (Section 104)
Occasionally a sandwich will rise above the bread that holds it, to become something more than the sum of its sandwichy parts. Primanti Bros. was designed as a workingman's lunch, a full meal in the palm of dockworkers' and steelworkers' calloused hands. It has since evolved into a bona fide Pittsburgh icon. And there's no better place to bite into the quintessential yinzer classic than dahntahn at PNC Park with a beautiful view of the City of Champions over the outfield wall, n'at. Even if PNC had zero other food options, it would still rank high on the mighty back of the Pittsburgher. It is one of the most influential American dishes of all time, after all.
5. San Diego Padres: Petco Park
Best item: Ahi poke tacos (The Patio, Section 228)
Despite being served cold, poke tacos are so hot right now. And while it might be a little too trendy for grizzly old-school fans, you shouldn't reject this dish just because it's not a hot dog. And thus is the appeal of Petco's concessions. The cavernous park in beautiful San Diego is known for having some of the best seafood in professional sports -- and duh, you're in San Diego, after all. We get it, sushi at the ballpark is a little gauche. As is saying the word "gauche," by the way. But if you are going to do it, it might as well be in SD at a SoCal staple like Patio, where you can reasonably assume the fish is fresher than Wil Myers' babyface. If poke isn't your bag, you can snag incredibly great fish tacos (which are almost the same thing, really) from a plethora of outposts all around Petco. Embrace your good fortune. Embrace the fresh seafood. And don't be afraid to eat raw fish at a ballpark, anymore.
4. San Francisco Giants: AT&T Park
Best item: Crab sandwich (Crazy Crab'z, Centerfield)
While the Giants seem to somehow win the World Series every even-numbered year lately, their fans are kept satisfied during the odd years with one of the most eclectic and bountiful concession-stand lineups in the Majors, and it's consistently mentioned as one of the industry's standards when it comes to concessions. It's almost as if each food stand was injected with some sort of performance enhancer, much like that one dude who hit a bunch of dingers in McCovey Cove a little while back. And the whole lineup is just so incredibly balanced. There's freshly baked cookies and ice cream sandwiches from CREAM on the dessert front. If you want something healthy, there is literally a fresh produce garden behind center field that's used for smoothies and juices. There are Mission-style burritos. Jerk chicken nachos from Orlando's Caribbean BBQ. Pork belly potato skins courtesy of SF culinary legend Traci Des Jardins. But alas, there is one item, courtesy of Crazy Crab'z in centerfield, consisting of fresh crab meat stuffed between two slices of buttered, authentic Bay Area sourdough, that shakes off all contenders. This alone truly takes the Giants and their food to the upper echelon of ballpark concessions. Why? Did you not read "... consisting of fresh crab meat stuffed between two slices of buttered, authentic Bay Area sourdough?" It's enough to make MadBum swear off dirt bikes for the rest of his life.
3. New York Mets: Citi Field
Best item: Fuku chicken sandwich (Fuku, Section 102)
New York's NL squad lacks for quality food like it lacks for young flamethrowers who look like they're into Thor cosplay. That's a baseball-nerdy way of saying they have a smorgasbord of sexy food choices in the concessions at Citi Field... and a litter of blonde, long-haired starters. You have your Shake Shack. You have your legendary steak sandwich from Pat LaFrieda Meat Purveyors. You have your chicken Parm from Nicoletta. Any of these could easily be the best food option at the majority of Major League Parks. But the deep-fried crown goes to David Chang (duh) and his transcendent spicy chicken sandwich from Fuku. It's the best thing to happen to the Mets since Keith Hernandez and his mustache came to town.
2. Minnesota Twins: Target Field
Best item: Indurrito (Hot Spice, Section 120)
The safe (and obviously still delicious) choice would be ordering a sausage from one of Kramarczuk's many outposts around the park. Instead, be adventurous and try the "Indian burrito" from Hot Indian Foods, one of the Twin Cities' premier food trucks and purveyor of eclectic Indian dishes. Plus, in Minnesota it's basically only summer for most of July and half of August. So you could use a little spice out in those bleachers when it's snowing in April, June, and September. Overall, the Twinkies are so highly regarded on this list because they not only excel at traditional baseball fare -- and pack a roster full of local favorites -- they also aren't afraid to push the boundaries of what excellent ballpark food can be. Consider the vegan Sriracha brat from The Herbivorous Butcher. Or, the Korean-style "Sloppy Ko" from Andrew Zimmern's Canteen. And of course, the aforementioned Indurrito. You'd be hard pressed to find options as varied, diverse -- and most importantly good -- anywhere in Minnesota, let alone at a sports stadium.
1. Seattle Mariners: Safeco Field
Best item: Almost everything
What can possibly be said about the food available at Safeco Field that hasn't already been said? Should we wax poetic at the absurdity of having high quality wantons and bao buns-- courtesy of Din Tai Fung -- at a freakin' baseball stadium? Can we go into detail about the perfection of the lobster rolls, sitting atop a King’s Hawaiian roll, at Sound Seafood? Would you like to know about the infinitely customizable ice cream sandwiches from Frozen Rope, with gourmet cookies or brownies as buns and ice cream sourced from local favorites Lopez Island Creamery and Snoqualmie Ice Cream? Shall we compare the effortlessly cool swing of a young Ken Griffey Jr. with the undeniable appeal of a Beecher's grilled cheese with bacon? No. Because all you need to know is that the Mariners decided to serve Oaxacan chapulines -- toasted grasshoppers in a zesty citrus seasoning -- and fans literally ate it up, turning it into a best-seller at the ballpark. Let that sink in: Safeco does food so well, they were actually able to sell American sports fans toasted bugs, and it was still a major success. While the traditional Seattle snack may be tossed salads and scrambled eggs, the Mariners' cathedral has now set the benchmark that every other organization strives to meet by getting wildly creative, doubling-down on locally sourced strengths, and never being afraid to give the fans what they want -- even if they didn't know they wanted it. And hey, Ichiro is back. Which is also pretty cool, M's fans.