Tuesday, April 7, 2015

A rant: Why is Yankee Stadium ballpark food so bad, and Citi Field ballpark food so good?

We are now in Year 7 of new ballparks for the Yankees and Mets. The food at Citi Field, which was impressive to begin with -- Shake Shake, Blue Smoke, Catch of the Day, Box Frites, and El Verano Taqueria -- has gotten even better over the years, with new offerings each season. You can eat like a king at Citi Field, even if you are sitting in the cheap seats. 

Meanwhile, at Yankee Stadium, they might as well serve soylent green, giving how awful the food choices are. Lobel's, which with its steak sandwich used to have one of the few edible choices in the ballpark, has really gone downhill. I got food poisoning from the sushi stand a few years back, so that's out. Parm is good, but they are hard to find if you don't know where they are. Brother Jimmy's is no Blue Smoke, and Johnny Rockets is no Shake Shack, and both places are known more for their restaurants' atmosphere than their food, anyway. I am not six years old, so the nacho helmet and unlimited popcorn bucket hold no appeal for me.

Fried macaroni and cheese on a burger? Disgusting.
Of course, if you are in the Yankees' Legends seats, you can eat like a king there, with the unlimited crab legs, shrimp, prime rib, and celebrity chefs. (A telling anecdote: the one time Squawker Jon and I got to sit in the Legends seats, we met guest chef Frank Pellegrino of Rao's and got to eat his great food. Yet Mets fans can now get to eat Rao's food without having to have the fanciest seats in the ballpark -- most seats are eligible to get into the Caesars Club where the stand is.)

New York City is the food capital of the world. Squawker Jon and I have been to many great eateries in the city over the years. I recently even got to meet Red Rooster chef Marcus Samuelsson at the opening of his new rotisserie chicken place, Streetbird. So how is that the Mets can get so many big names in the food world -- Danny Meyer, Drew Nieporent, Josh Capon, Pat LaFreida, Dave Pasternack -- while the Yankees serve up swill like this horrible-looking "Bases Loaded Burger"? This abomination has fried macaroni and cheese on it. How thoroughly disgusting. Not to mention that the sandwich would be too unwieldy and messy to eat, unless they start handing out bibs like they do at lobster joints.

To add insult to injury, in New York City, a place famous for great pizza, the Mets have Two Boots pizza -- a fun choice -- while Yankees have Papa John's stands. Really? In a city with Lombardi's, Roberta's, Denino's, and a gazillion other pizza choices, they get Papa John's? What, Domino's wasn't available?

Meanwhile, Mets fans get delicious-looking items like these Rao's lemon chicken wings. The Mets folks do a great job at continually improving their food and drink choices (you can even get a Patron margarita at Citi Field!), while the Yankees seem content to serve up overpriced garbage and a lame beer selection.
Rao's lemon chicken wings look much more tasty. 

Aside from all the great restauranteurs in New York, there are so many food stand folks making interesting food these days. From Smorgasburg to Eataly to Hudson Eats to Le District to Berg'n to Madison Square Eats to all of the food trucks around, you can eat terrific food choices in the city made at food stands. You really would have to try to deliberately find bad food outlets to come up with the swill at Yankee Stadium.

Every time I write on this subject, people tell me I should bring in my own food to Yankee games. But why should I have to? Why can't the powers that be at Yankee Stadium get some decent food stands so that the masses, and not just the rich people, can have the choices that Mets fans do? 

A recent development sums up the contempt that Randy Levine et al have for us typical Yankee fans. There is now an app for your phone at Yankee Stadium, where you can order food to be delivered to your seat, a feature the Legends seats have had for years. But the app reportedly doesn't deliver food to the 400 level seats (the upper deck "cheap seats.") Figures.  

1 comment:

Pat S. said...

That's an easy question to answer. The Yankees don't care about the everyday fan, only the high rollers and corporations.

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