Taste of Nationals Park

Posted by Dave Nichols | Friday, April 03, 2009 | , , , | 3 comments »

The Nationals graciously invited the media and bloggers over to Nats Park today to sample some of the new fare available at the stadium this season. And who loves free food more than the press?

Stan Kasten gave a quick (very quick since it started to rain) tour of new amenities of Nationals Park and Executive Chef Phil Bucco of Levy Restaurants presented new items available at Nats Park for 2009 season.




The Washington Nationals today unveiled a variety of improvements to Nationals Park. To enhance the fan experience at the ballpark, new concessionaire Levy Restaurants was introduced in February; major renovations were completed on the Red Porch Restaurant; significant changes were made to the Nats Family Fun Area in the Center Field Plaza, including the GEICO Racing Presidents Photo Station and the Exxon Strike Zone; and additional directional signage has been installed. New statues and artwork will be displayed in the Center Field Plaza and at the Home Plate Gate. The statues and artwork will be unveiled during a ceremony on Wednesday, April 8 at 11:00am.

The Nationals have partnered with Levy Restaurants for food and beverage operations, the leader in premium sports and entertainment dining. New menus will be launched on Saturday, serving both traditional fare and upscale items, including regional dishes and innovative versions of D.C.’s favorites. Four new concessions concepts will be introduced at the park including a Healthy Plate cart, featuring healthy wraps, fresh salads, vegetables and hummus and fresh fruit; The Pit at the Red Loft, opening mid-season and serving traditional pit barbeque prepared on a charcoal grill; a barbeque concession stand, also opening mid-season on the main concourse, serving ribs, pulled pork and brisket; and the Triple Play Grill, located in the Left Field V and offering a pulled pork sandwich and foot-long Crab Louie sandwich. Additional menu boards have been added to 40 concession stands increasing visibility throughout the park. The team will offer three value meals at various stands, all at a cost of $7.

Personally, I tried the Crab Louie Sandwich, meatballs, crab cake and "buffalo" dog. The Crab Louie was very good; jumbo lump crab mixed with celery, herbs and a flavored mayo on a soft hoagie roll. The meatballs and sauce were excellent actually. I'm pretty picky about my meatballs, and the sauce was more than everyday mass-production marinara. The crab cake was just ok. Both the crab sandwich and the meatball sandwich are very messy though, so if you order those take plenty of extra napkins.


The "buffalo" dog, a regular hot dog covered in buffalo wing style sauce, was kinda disappointing, but Executive Chef Phil Bucco assured me that in service at the stand, the buffalo sauce and blue cheese would be added as toppings, much like at the popular Ben's Chili Bowl, which will obviously be returning.


While the prices for the new menu items were not immediately available, Team President Stan Kasten was very quick to point out that concessions prices will not be going up this season, so we're left to assume that the prices for the new items will be in line with what was available last year.


We're really looking forward to the promise of the open barbeque pit at the Red Loft, and the renovations at the Red Porch were obvious when we walked in the centerfield gate.

There were other changes in the centerfield plaza as well, including the Topps Starting Lineup Cards, where pictures of the day's starting lineups will hang in plain view, the Curly W ballcap awning over the door to the team store, and new reader boards as you enter the stadium.



For the kids, life-size bobbleheads of the Racing Presidents are now out in the Family Fun Area, and the Exxon Strike Zone is refurbished, with some fun facts about the science of baseball.




We were not privy to the long-awaited statues of Frank Howard, Walter Johnson and Josh Gibson, but there's no mistaking where they are! The unveiling April 8 should be very exciting for fans of D.C. baseball history.

Photos (c) C. Nichols 2009. All rights reserved.

More photos in the slideshow - Enjoy. You can click on slideshow to make larger.

3 comments

  1. Anonymous // April 3, 2009 at 5:36 PM  

    Thanks for the pics and review. Now I'm hungry. (natsfan1a)

  2. Groundskeeper Willie // April 3, 2009 at 10:55 PM  

    Nice.

  3. Cheryl Nichols // April 4, 2009 at 1:09 AM  

    You are very welcome. Food should be much better this season.