Opening Day is around the corner and the new food options already look like a home run.
The reason baseball is “America’s pastime” may have little to do with home runs, double switches, or even bench clearing brawls. To some, baseball’s most endearing feature is that the sport’s leisurely pace allows for fans to simultaneously engage in all the other activities they love: chatting, drinking beer, and, of course, eating. And for those fans, the yearly announcement of who will be playing on the field is just as important as the release of what new goodies will be served up in the stands.
Aramark is the second largest food management company in Major League Baseball, working with eight different teams: the Boston Red Sox, Colorado Rockies, Houston Astros, Kansas City Royals, New York Mets, Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates, and Toronto Blue Jays. As a result, the company is inherently a trendsetter as far as the kinds of foods fans can expect to find at the ballparks, and it’s always interesting to see what new food items the company will be unveiling on Opening Day.
After spending the off-season “reviewing consumer insights and exploring local food trends,” Aramark’s biggest addition for 2018 is taco trios, according to a press release. All eight of the company’s ballparks are getting their own signature spin on the Tex-Mex staple: BBQ brisket tacos in Kansas City, chicken & purple slaw tacos in Denver, breaded Nashville hot chicken tacos in Pittsburgh, Korean beef tacos in Toronto, pineapple pulled pork tacos in Houston, season pulled chicken tacos in Boston, smoked brisket tacos in Philadelphia, and Maine lobster tacos in New York.
Additionally, most ballparks are getting new sandwiches or hot dogs—including some pretty far out concoctions. The Blue Jays, for instance, are getting blessed with a “log cabin waffle sandwich” featuring “rosemary scented waffles stuffed with pulled pork, cheese curds and maple baked beans, topped with mole sauce.” Meanwhile, Pirates’ fans can partake in a “pulled pork pierogi hoagie,” a sandwich made of “saucy pulled pork, potato, and cheese pierogies topped with crispy onions on a hoagie bun.”
Boozehounds will probably get a kick out of this one: Toronto will also be home to “distillery poutine,” described as “potato tots topped with pulled pork, cheese curds, whiskey-raisin gravy, and green onions.” And for those with a sweet tooth, the cookie dough craze is coming to three stadiums—Minute Maid Park, Rogers Centre, and Citizens Bank Park—in the form of Jane Dough’s “gourmet edible, small batch cookie dough.”
But beyond tacos and foods with over-the-top flare, Aramark has also upped its commitment to vegan and vegetarian options, adding five such items across four ballparks. Those new choices include a kale salad, a chickpea salad, a vegan cauliflower cheesesteak, and vegan nachos. And at Citi Field, Mets fans can now get the heralded Impossible Burger right at the ballpark. That could be the best thing to happen to the team since 1986!