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The 43 Must-Eat Baseball Stadium Dishes Across America

You've heard it before, but ballpark fare gets better — and more absurd — every year.


With help from our friends at SB Nation and baseball fans across the country, Eater's diving deep into MLB stadium food now that the 2015 season is well underway. Broken down by category, these are the must-eat stadium dishes across the U.S., favored for their regional influences, inspired twists on the classics, and plain old wow factor. Head below for 10 ways to eat bacon, three pretzel dogs, four different skewers, five dishes with brisket, seven deep-fried items, two uses for Doritos — and so much more.

Hot Dogs

Depending on who you believe, the hot dog was first introduced to sporting events as early as the 1890s (by the German owner of the St. Louis Browns) and as late as 1906 (when some researchers argue they debuted during a bicycle race). But for more than a century, hot dogs and baseball stadiums have been linked in the American consciousness, and in recent decades, MLB stadiums have taken this game-time classic and added creative twists.

At Chicago's Wrigley Field, Cubs fans can tuck into the classic Chicago dog (a Vienna-style dog topped with tomato, onion, relish, peppers, pickle, and celery salt), plus other permutations from Decade Dog, which serves hot dogs ostensibly inspired by Cubs history. (One menu item: the nacho dog, topped with tortilla strips, nacho cheese, salsa, and pickled jalapeños.) Multiple stands at Baltimore's Camden Yards top hot dogs and sausages with crab dip, a nod to the region's favorite seafood. And for the 2015 season, Safeco Field in Seattle added a hot dog wrapped in bacon, serving the thing with jalapeño and chipotle cream. Want to satisfy a craving for an oddly topped hot dog? Check out more stadium options below.

Thomenator and Skyline coney. [Photos: Indians, Skyline]

Boomstick!
Texas Rangers, Globe Life Park
Head to section 29 on the lower level for the 24-inch hot dog (yup, that's two feet long), topped with chili, cheese, grilled onions, and jalapeños.

Dodger Dogs
Los Angeles Dodgers, Dodger Stadium
Angelenos can get the classic dog souped up in quite a few ways. There's the Frito pie dog, loaded with chili cheese and Fritos. But there's also a deep-fried option, vegetarian and kosher dogs, and bacon-wrapped or chili-cheese-jalapeño-salsa versions. Another option comes with baked beans, potato salad, barbecue sauce, and shredded cheese.

Chips-n-Dip Dog
Detroit Tigers, Comerica Park
In past years, the stadium introduced a poutine dog and a Coney dog with meat sauce, onions, and mustard. In 2015, it brings fans the chips-n-dip dog, topped with Lay's potato chips and onion dip.

Freddy Fender
Houston Astros, Minute Maid Park
At chef Bryan Caswell's ballpark stand the Caz, get the Freddy Fender: A chorizo sausage wrapped in a corn tortilla and deep fried, then topped with tequila-braised onions, pico de gallo, cotija cheese, and cilantro sour cream.

Down Wisconsin Avenue
Milwaukee Brewers, Miller Park
Get this 18-inch brat on a fresh-baked roll with fried jalapeños, fried sauerkraut, chives, sour cream, fries, cheese sauce, gravy, and cheese curds. Sound familiar? It's pretty much poutine on a hot dog.

Rey Lopez/Eater DC

The original half-smoke from Ben's Chili Bowl waiting for chili. Above, hot dogs on the grill. [Photos: Rey Lopez]

Skyline Chili Coney
Cincinnati Reds, Great American Ballpark
Skyline Chili is a Cincinnati classic, and at the Reds stadium, it's piled on top of a hot dog with lots of shredded cheese for a can't-miss game day treat.

The Thomenator
Cleveland Indians, Progressive Field
Named for retired player Jim Thome, find onions, sauerkraut, and three pierogies on top of the Thomenator, a $12 hot dog offered inside the park.

Cuban Pretzel Dog
Pittsburgh Pirates, PNC Park
Take all the fixins of a Cuban sandwich and stick them on a footlong in a pretzel bun. You'll get this creation at PNC Park, which puts ham, pork, Swiss cheese, pickles, and mustard atop the hot dog. (At Chicago's Wrigley Field, Cubs fans can get a Cuban pork burger for another take on the iconic sandwich.)

Mac and Cheese Dog
Baltimore Orioles, Camden Yards
An area favorite, this classic hot dog is heaped with mac and cheese and crab meat. Find it at Eutaw Street below Roof Deck near Gate H, where bacon chili cheese dogs and crab dip dogs are also available.

Chili Half-Smoke
Washington Nationals, Nationals Park
This iconic original chili half-smoke from Ben's Chili Bowl has a half-smoke sausage (an equal blend of beef and pork) with yellow mustard, chopped onions, and chili.

There's also an entire subset of stadium hot dogs that come bacon-wrapped:

The D-Bat dog and the brat dog.

Halo Dog
Los Angeles Angels, Angel Stadium
Around the stadium, look for the Angels' classic halo dog: A beef hot dog wrapped in bacon and topped with beans, Anaheim peppers, and shredded Monterey Jack cheese.

The Beast
Milwaukee Brewers, Miller Park
The name's no hype: The Beast is a grilled bratwurst sliced in half and stuffed with a hot dog, then wrapped in bacon. It's served in a pretzel roll with sauerkraut, onions, and a side of chips.

Brat Dog
Minnesota Twins, Target Field
This bratwurst is stuffed with an all-beef dog and wrapped in bacon. It's served on a pretzel roll with sauerkraut, caramelized onions, and peppers. Get it at Hrbek's, the pub named after former Twins first baseman Kent Hrbek.

D-Bat Dog
Arizona Diamondbacks, Chase Field
What's better than a corn dog? This corn dog, which is 18 inches on a stick and served over fries. But there's more! It's stuffed with melted cheese and wrapped in six slices of bacon before being batter-fried.

SandwicheS And Burgers

In stadiums across America, celebrity chefs and great brick-and-mortar restaurants have opened sandwich stands and burger joints. In Atlanta's Turner Field, two of the city's finest restaurateurs have opened a steak sandwich shop (Kevin Rathbun) and a burger stall (H&F Burgers from Linton Hopkins), respectively. At Yankees Stadium and Citi Field, two city classics are readily available New York baseball fans: For the Yankees, it's the Torrisi brothers' Parm, offering up Italian favorites, and the Mets have Shake Shack, a burger icon in its own right. There are lobster rolls in Fenway Park and Cuban sandwiches to be had while watching the Tampa Bay Rays, the Miami Marlins, and the Chicago White Sox (where the pressed Cubano is named after the great left fielder Minnie Minoso, who was called the Cuban Comet). You can get standout cheesesteaks from Tony Luke's at Phillies games and Dungeness crab with lemon aioli on garlic-buttered sourdough in Seattle.

The traditional takes are well-represented, but stadiums around the U.S. have also started getting creative when it comes to what they're slapping between two slices of bread. The Gateway Grizzlies, a Minor League team, puts a beef patty between two Krispy Kreme doughnuts with melted cheese and bacon. The Washington Nationals used to have a family-sized (so they say) eight-pound StrausBurger on offer for $59; the Pirates had a triple-decker grilled cheese. What's going on these days? Keep reading to find out.

A triple triple and the Choomongous [Photos: Wayback Burgers, Lana Berry/SB Nation]

Brunch Burger
Pittsburgh Pirates, PNC Park
Behind left field at the Rivertown Brewing Hall of Fame Club — a sit-down restaurant with a full-service bar — there's a brunch burger: a bacon cheeseburger with a fried egg. It's sandwiched between two halves of a glazed doughnut and topped with sprinkles in the team's colors.

Albacore Tuna Salad Grilled Cheese
Colorado Rockies, Coors Field
In the Mountain Ranch Club near Gate A, one could get tuna on a grilled cheese with panko bread crumbs, sandwiched between two slices of Texas Toast. (It's not the only grilled cheese game in the league: New to the New York Mets stadium this year is Pressed by Josh Capon, a Citi Field grilled cheese stand featuring swanky options.)

Triple Triple
Philadelphia Phillies, Citizen Bank Park
Burger chain Wayback Burgers offers this intense 9x9 cheeseburger. Nine patties, nine slices of cheese, one bun. Yup.

Choomongous
Texas Rangers, Globe Life Park
This right here is a two-foot-long Korean beef teriyaki sandwich with spicy slaw and Sriracha mayo. Get it at the aptly named Texas Sized 24 in section 29.

Fries

It's peanuts and Cracker Jacks that get all the credit, but if you put aside nostalgia, french fries are really the ultimate stadium snack. And these days, they come in all forms. It'd be a shame to catch a game in San Francisco without ordering garlic fries, there's the oft-debated crinkle cut at the Mets and Nats Shake Shack locations, and waffle fries crop up in different forms around the country — at Citi Field, they're topped with Pat LaFrieda filet mignon, caramelized onions, and cheese sauce, while Atlanta's Chick-fil-A serves them as a side to the famous, if controversial, chicken sandwich.

Up in Toronto, there's the Liberty Village sausage poutine, crisp fries loaded with gravy, cheese curds, caramelized onions, sauteed peppers, smoked farmer's sausage, and peameal bacon sausage. Don't miss the steak fries at Yankees Stadium, either — from the city's classic steakhouse Lobel's, a mound of crisp potatoes is topped with steak, onions, and sauce. Need more starch? At games this season, snack on these versions.

Carne asada fries and Waffle House hash browns.

Carne Asada Fries
San Diego Padres, Petco Park
These carne asada fries basically just swap out the traditional nachos for a pile of sliced potatoes. Expect beef, cheese, guacamole, and sour cream as toppings on this dish at Bayview Grill in sections 316 and 323. Rumor has it you can get the toppings on top of hot dogs, too.

Chesapeake Fries
Baltimore Orioles, Camden Yards
The stadium's crab dip-topped waffle fries, mourned by fans at the end of the season, are a must-try for Camden Yards newcomers. Find them at Flying Dog Grill in section 27 as well as elsewhere throughout the stadium.

Holland Hot Tot'chos
Texas Rangers, Globe Life Park
What are totchos? Glad you asked: They're tater tot nachos, and here, they're named for Rangers pitcher Derek Holland. The hot tot'chos are topped with choice of chicken or steak, bell peppers, jalapeños, and a buffalo sauce, with a spicy queso on the side.

Pork Rinds
Detroit Tigers, Comerica Park
Skip the potatoes for pork (these are still fried, right?). A bag of these, found in section 125 and at Brush Fire Grill, comes with a side of queso for dipping.

Hash Browns
Atlanta Braves, Turner Field
There's a Waffle House in the Ted, and although it isn't serving up smothereds and covereds 24 hours a day, they are available during games. Order them any way you like 'em.

BeyonD Nachos

Concession nachos have come a long way since the days when over-salted tortilla chips were served with a side of congealed neon liquid cheese sauce. The dish was brought to stadiums in 1976 by Frank Liberto, who put them on the menu at the Texas Rangers' park in Arlington, Texas. Liberto wanted to sell something that wouldn't keep customers waiting in line, and nachos — with their easily dispensed cheese sauce and quick-serve toppings like jalapeños — were so perfect that other concessions operators "were afraid the new product launch would cannibalize other popular items like popcorn, hot dogs, and sodas." Turns out the spicy-salty combination actually increased beverage sales, and nachos have been a ballpark hit ever since.

Nowadays, the humble nacho has paved the way for all kinds of new variations (like the "brisket-achos," with brisket, cheesy corn, baked beans, cole slaw, and barbecue sauce that Kauffman Stadium introduced to Royals fans in 2013). That doesn't even consider the introduction of burritos, tacos, quesadillas, and nacho-inspired french fry and tater tot dishes throughout the league. Intrigued? Here are some of the unique offerings available this year.

Inside the Park nachos and the taco dog. [Photos: Jeffery Phelps/Getty, Sportservice]

California Burritos
San Diego Padres, Petco Park
Nab those SoCal cravings at the get-go with a California burrito stuffed with fries in addition to a protein, sour cream, and salsa. Where? Lucha Libre Taco Shop in section 215.

Inside the Park Nachos
Milwaukee Brewers, Miller Park
What's better than nachos? Nachos on a stick. These feature beef and refried beans rolled in crushed Doritos and deep fried. They're served with nacho cheese, sour cream, and salsa roja for $9.

Coney Quesadilla
Detroit Tigers, Comerica Park
A Coney quesadilla is exactly what it sounds like: Everything you'd expect on a Coney dog, except grilled inside a tortilla.

Taco Dog
Texas Rangers, Globe Life Park
Try this all-beef hot dog, which is served inside a hard taco shell and topped with taco meat, lettuce, pico de gallo, and cheese. And then the whole thing is stuffed inside a hoagie roll. It's at Casa de Fuego, section 125, where one could also get nachos topped with brisket and Doritos.

Desserts

Baseball games are long, y'all — nine innings is more than enough time for a meal, a couple beers, and something sweet right around the seventh-inning stretch if you plan your day right. Looking beyond pre-packaged cotton candy, frozen lemonade, and ice cream bars, stadiums these days serve items running from three-pound banana split sundaes to an entire menu full of gluten-free desserts. And now they're starting to veer into absurdist territory — could you turn down something called a churro dog?

Churro dog and deep-fried Sm'Oreos. [Photos: Diamondbacks, Tom Pennington/Getty]

Churro Dog
Arizona Diamondbacks, Chase Field
Okay, stay with me here: This is a hot cinnamon churro housed inside a Long John chocolate-glazed doughnut and topped with frozen yogurt (to save a few calories!), chocolate sauce, and caramel sauce.

Fried Sm'Oreos
Texas Rangers, Globe Life Park
Fried. S'mores. Oreos. In layman's terms, that means marshmallows with a graham cracker crust, deep-fried, skewered alongside two deep-fried Oreos, and drizzled with chocolate sauce and Cool Whip. They're available at State Fare, section 41. Bonus: Funnel cake fries are also on offer here.

Food in Helmets

It's the ultimate game day souvenir: food served inside a take-home plastic helmet. The tradition's rooted in ice cream sundaes, and it's believed that helmets created specifically for ice cream first started appearing during the early 1970s. Baseball fans quickly turned them — first with sticker logos, then screen-printed — into collectors items, hoping to amass a full set. Now, these have become a vehicle for advertising and major brands are getting behind them, creating versions specific to their products like this full set from Baskin Robbins in 1994And the food-in-helmet practice has extended far beyond just ice cream in recent years: Here's what's on offer in parks across the country this season.

Ice cream and nachos.

Rib Bucket
Chicago White Sox, U.S. Cellular Field
Thought stadiums couldn't find another use for souvenir plastic baseball helmets? Think again. The rib bucket — inside a full-sized batting helmet — offers a full meal of ribs with fries, slaw, and cornbread in the Club Level.

Chicharrones
San Francisco Giants, AT&T Park
This year, the pair of booths known for their Cha-Cha bowl (rice, beans, grilled chicken or pork carnitas, pineapple-zucchini salsa) adds chicarrones with chile-lime salt served in a plastic ballcap. Get an order at Orlando's Caribbean BBQ in the Promenade and View levels.

The Nacho Helmet
New York Yankees, Yankees Stadium
Building your own order of nachos is fun, but eating them out of a tiny helmet is even better. Do so at Wholly Guacamole, section 233A.

The Baconater
Baltimore Orioles, Camden Yards
At the Chipper, nacho-style kettle chips are available in dishes like the "crab chipper" (with lump crabmeat, white cheddar cheese sauce, chopped scallions, and Old Bay) and a dessert chipper made with sweet potato chips, chocolate and caramel sauces, whipped cream, and cinnamon sugar. But for kettle chips in a helmet, there's a pulled pork and bacon version (called the Baconater), served in a fine helmet. Section 68, lower level third base concourse.

Ice Cream
Go classic and get the frozen treat in the form of sundaes or soft serve — with toppings! — in a souvenir helmet at most MLB stadiums.

Challenges

Feeling risky but don't want to bet on the game? In the fine tradition of competitive eating, stadiums from coast to coast offer up challenges based not just on hitting home runs but also eating large quantities of food. Think you have what it takes?

The Bacon Challenge and The Fan vs. Food burger. [Photos: Redlegs ReviewRays]

King of the Wing
Arizona Diamondbacks, Chase Field
At Game Seven Grill, adventurous fans have to sign a waiver before eating the ghost pepper wings — dubbed the "hottest wings in baseball." Finish the plate and you take home a custom-branded fire helmet.

Fan vs. Food
Tampa Bay Rays, Tropicana Field
This burger weighs four pounds and comes with about a pound of fries. Eat it all in half an hour and get two tickets to a future Rays game of your choice — and a free t-shirt.

The Bacon Challenge
Cincinnati Reds, Great American Ballpark
Picture a sandwich that's got a pound of bacon, shredded lettuce, tomato, and black pepper mayo, served with chips, potato salad, and a pickle. Then imagine eating four of them. And then, think about doing that in a single inning — just six outs. Feasible? Head to Cinci for the challenge. Winners get glory, their four sandwiches comped, and a t-shirt.

Even More Novelty Fare

Is stadium food the best kind of food in the known universe? Yes. If new takes on hot dogs, burgers, and fries aren't enough, some teams have taken the genre to whole different level, pushing the boundaries of gastronomic decency to bring rabid sports fans souped-up breakfast cocktails, a one-handed approach to chicken and waffles, and barbecue served up in so many ways (and in Toronto, oysters). Go forth into the brave new world, starting with these dishes.

Chicken and waffles cone and bloody mary. [Photos: Aramark, Twins]

Barbecue Baked Potato
Houston Astros, Minute Maid Park
When in Texas, eat barbecue. Even better, get your barbecue inside a baked potato, like the one with chopped brisket at Texas Smoke. (There's a baked potato with brisket at Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ in the Texas Rangers' stadium as well.)

Chicken and Waffle Cone
Houston Astros, Minute Maid Park
Why wouldn't you want to eat your fried chicken and mashed potatoes inside a waffle cone and drizzled with honey mustard? Good question. Street Eats in section 124 can help.

Pulled Pork Parfait
Milwaukee Brewers, Miller Park
Parfaits: Not just for breakfast anymore. Try this one, which has pulled pork and mashed potatoes layered in a cup and topped with chives. Get it at the Baked Potato Cart, sections 127 and 214.

College Daze Bloody Mary
Minnesota Twins, Target Field
A spicy bloody mary with celery is pretty perfect in its own right — but when you add a slice of pizza as garnish, it becomes that much better. Sound too good to be true? Catch a game at Target Field, swing by Hrbek's, and see for yourself.

Fried Brisket Mac and Cheese Balls
Texas Rangers, Globe Life Park
At state fair-inspired stand State Fare in section 41, get an order of these in addition to chicken-fried corn on the cob and more. Looking for something else? There's thick-cut bacon dipped into sweet maple glaze and shoved on a stick all over the Rangers stadium.

Sausage Sundae
Texas Rangers, Globe Life Park
Just in case that parfait's not enough, Dallas's Globe Life Park sells a sausage sundae: smoked sausage, mashed potatoes, chopped brisket, and mac and cheese, topped off with a red cherry pepper.

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