Spring is usually the season when Americans decide to get their acts together, take advantage of the lush produce becoming available, and make an effort to shed that winter weight.
But every day can’t be all about exercise and green smoothies, because spring is also the season for going out and eating a hot dog at a baseball game. Everyone knows about the ballpark classics: LA’s Dodger dog, the garlic fries in San Francisco, the cheesesteak in Philly.
These days, baseball stadiums have put modern twists on these classics, taking them to terrifying new heights and inventing crazy new foods that are attractions in their own right.
These ten ballpark dishes aren’t all home runs, but they definitely swing for the fences.
1. Chicken & Waffle Cone // Minute Maid Park, Houston, Texas
Houston has a pig-centric extravaganza with the Flying Pig, a deep-fried pork shank in peanut curry ranch, but that’s a little classy for this article.
Instead, we’ll offer you the chicken and waffle cone, which is exactly what the inventor of the waffle cone intended. Add some honey mustard and mashed potatoes because, you know … something needs to help this thing slide down your gullet.
2. Churro Dog // Chase Field, Phoenix, Arizona
Sometimes when you’re at the ballpark, you want a hot dog, but you’ve got a sweet tooth and your $90 can only go so far. Enter the churro dog, the dessert dog that’s the perfect solution to a long, expensive day in the summer heat.
I know what you’re thinking – I don’t want a sweet hot dog. Well, pump the brakes, folks! There’s nothing in this churro dog that’s in a typical hot dog. This creation is simply a cinnamon churro laid to rest inside a chocolate-glazed, long john donut, topped with frozen yogurt, caramel, and chocolate sauce. We thought so.
3. Cracker Jack & Mac Dog // PNC Park, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Even if you aren’t a baseball fan, you probably know the song, “Take Me Out to the Ballgame,” that 7th-inning stretch tune that has the line, “Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jacks, and put the Cracker Jacks on a hot dog with mac and cheese and jalapenos and caramel sauce.”
Man, if I had a dollar for every time I’ve sung those words …
I’m betting it gets a lot of orders on curiosity alone. Here’s hoping that curiosity doesn’t kill you.
4. Burgerizza // Turner Field, Atlanta, Georgia
Whew. I’m glad we’ve moved on from the insanity of those other foods and – OH MY GOD! You know when you can’t decide between a burger and a pizza? The folks at Turner Field aren’t into making grownup decisions, so they thought “there’s got to be another way!” Enter the Burgerizza.
It’s not just a cheeseburger between two personal pan pizzas; it’s a bacon cheeseburger in the middle. If someone tries to argue that this is meant for one person because the pizzas are “personal” sized, you might want to save them from themselves.
5. Crab Dip Fries // Camden Yards, Baltimore, Maryland
Crab is a Baltimore tradition in and of itself. Heck, a Maryland brewery even started putting Old Bay seasoning in their beer. So, it’s only natural that you’d go for the crab dip fries when taking in an Orioles game in Baltimore.
Take crispy-on-the-outside, soft-on-the-inside waffle fries and top them with crab, cream cheese, butter, and a sprinkle of magic dust, and you’ve got one happy baseball fan. You’ll probably forget there’s a game going on, but you won’t care!
6. The Schmitter // Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Originally from McNally’s Tavern, a Chestnut Hill joint that’s been serving the area for over 90 years, The Schmitter is a steak sandwich that uses a higher grade of beef than most cheesesteaks, but it’s not too good to sit in the bleachers.
The Schmitter is a significant upgrade from the typical ballpark fare, and it expands beyond the beef base by adding cooked salami, tomatoes, fried onions, and cheese. So if you’re not at McNally’s, head over to the ballpark and savor the flavors of a Philly classic.
7. The Tater Top Chop // Turner Field, Atlanta, Georgia
The offerings at Turner Field are so out of control that they’ve made this list twice, and that’s NOT including The Punisher, which is a sandwich boasting country-fried rib meat, a beer-battered onion, candied bacon, and – wait for it – BBQ sauce infused with Monster energy drink.
Let’s step back from that ledge and talk about the Tater Top Chop. This simple beauty feels almost refined by comparison to The Punisher. Just throw some tater tots on a waffle iron with waffle batter for shape, then toss them on again with bacon, cheddar, and jalapenos. And, because this is Atlanta, serve the whole thing with a side of Coca-Cola-infused ketchup.
8. Chicken & Donut Skewer // Globe Life Park, Arlington, Texas
Texas is known for keeping things low-key and subtle, right? In Arlington, Texas, the best option is the chicken and donut skewer, a classy delight, featuring fresh donut holes and fried chicken on a stick, all drizzled with a sweet and spicy Buffalo sauce.
Plus, all of the food is arranged in an edible line for a normal-sized mouth, so your head doesn’t have to change directions as you move from breakfast to lunch and back again. Not Texas enough for ya? They’ve got chicken-fried bacon too.
9. Nachos on a Stick // Miller Park, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Milwaukee is doing its best to put soggy nacho fingers in the rearview mirror with their nachos on a stick. After all, you’re going to be drinking a beer in Milwaukee, so you can’t have one hand just holding a useless napkin.
Nachos on a stick aren’t exactly a handheld version of the classic cheese-cup nachos of yesteryear. This variety employs a stick with beef that’s rolled in Doritos, deep fried, and then drizzled with cheese and sour cream. So, next time you think, “How can I better control my nacho cheese distribution?”, just head to Miller Park.
10. Cheeseburger Dog // Chase Field, Phoenix, Arizona
This isn’t your grandpa’s ballpark frank. The cheeseburger dog from the Arizona Diamondbacks is solving that “burger or dog” question in a way that satisfies everybody while causing all new existential problems. Is a bologna sandwich a hot dog burger?
Featuring char-grilled hamburgers deep fried, because America, the cheeseburger dog is then tossed in a bun with bacon, tomatoes, lettuce, and a house-made secret sauce. Pretty simple!