We’ve seen quite a few intriguing (and horrifying) ballpark creations launched this season. Just take the 1,117-calorie Churro Dog, which is being served at Chase Field in Arizona, or this 18-inch Krispy Kreme doughnut hot dog. These super-sized riffs on American classics are turning the game into an excuse for extreme eating.
Bizarre Foods host Andrew Zimmern spoke to ESPN’s Michael Rapaport about the problem with super-sized ballpark food. Zimmern says, “The problem is not the 3-foot hot dog, the problem is the 3-foot hot dog wrapped in a pizza, stuffed into a burrito, deep fried, and served with a bucket of malt.”
Professional chefs are being pursued to put their concepts into stadiums. Zimmern says this is because “the owners of the teams understand something that a lot of the food service people are just coming around to, which is that fans do not want a 10-foot milkshake with a quadruple-decker cheeseburger perched on the end of it. It’s criminal, it’s overpriced, and it’s destructive for people who are eating it. I mean, the line for the bathroom is too long. What are you going to do after eating one of those things?”
The Travel Channel host started a ballpark concession franchise called AZ Canteen, with kiosks in Target Field and Kauffman Stadium. He will not be serving 10,000-calorie deep-fried foods at AZ Canteen, not matter how trendy they get. Zimmern says, “We design food that’s small, priced right—because I don’t want to pay $30 for six burgers that I can’t hold that are going to spill all over me.”
“You mean $97,” says Rapaport.
Jamie Hodgson, general manager of Miller Park hospitality for concessionaire Delaware North, has a different ballpark food philosophy. He told First We Feast in an earlier interview, “I don’t see the [deep-fried, over-the-top stadium food] trend stopping anytime soon. I think fans will always want ballpark classics—things like brats, beer, and popcorn. But fans are also looking for unique items; they’re looking for something different. I ask myself: What can I create to keep fans engaged and enhance the experience of the game? That’s our job as concessionaires.”