ST. LOUIS — It has taken a while, but food at ballparks all over the major leagues has undergone a great improvement over the last few years. To give you a comparison point, here’s what you could buy for food and drink at Wrigley Field 50 years ago. This list appeared in the Wrigley scorecard every season. Here were the choices in 1967:
Not a single food or drink item cost more than 60 cents. You could eat a number of different sandwiches (including a “hamburger sandwich”), a hot dog, or a couple different kinds of pizza. There were two types of ice cream including the famous and popular “Frosty Malt,” and beer — only two brands, Budweiser or Old Style — cost 40 cents.
Obviously there’s been quite a bit of price inflation over the last half-century, but there have also been many food additions to the menu at Wrigley Field, and a lot of them are quite tasty.
Pictured above is the “Catalina Burger,” described as a double beef patty topped with American cheese, Applewood smoked bacon, sliced onions, tomatoes, lettuce, pickle, and Catalina sauce on toasted brioche bun. This, along with several other burger choices and hot dogs, will be available at the new “Sheffield Counter,” which will be in the space in the right-field corner formerly known as the Sheffield Grill.
Craft Hot Dog Line-Up: A rotating lineup of loaded hot dogs reflecting global flavors, featuring Vienna Beef hot dogs served in a toasted, split-top New England-style bun:
o Wrigley Dog: An “easy to eat” – and equally delicious – version of the classic Chicago Dog topped with a chopped Chicago relish mixing tomato, onion, pickles, neon relish, sport peppers, celery salt, and mustard
o Bao Wao Dog: Pickled daikon and carrot, sriracha aioli, cilantro, and mint
o Kimchi Dog: Crisp braised pork belly, pickled ginger aioli, and kimchi
o Pilsen Dog: Roasted corn, lime-cilantro aioli, and Tajin seasoning
o Al Pastor Chicken Tacos (at Sheffield Counter): Luxuriously seasoned chicken topped with pickled red onions, cilantro, sliced radish, and queso fresco
o Aloha Chicken Sandwich (at Sheffield Counter): Grilled chicken breast topped with sweet chili glaze, Asian slaw and sautéed pineapple on toasted Hawaiian bread. Here’s what that looks like:
Here’s a look at those hot dogs:
It all sounds really good. And, of course you’ll want to combine those with a drink selection. Goose Island has created a special beer just for Wrigley, the Goose Island 1060 Wit. It’s inspired by traditional Belgian Wits using un-malted wheat, orange peel and coriander. Also, Beam Suntory becomes the official spirits partner of the Cubs and Wrigley Field, mixing up cocktails throughout the ballpark with recognizable brands including Jim Beam, Maker’s Mark, EFFEN Vodka, Cruzan Rum and Hornitos Tequila. The newly branded Jim Beam Patio could become a fan favorite for social media-worthy skyline photos and now features upgraded furniture, décor, and the new Jim Beam signature bar.
But wait! There’s more!
o Pork & Mindy’s: The local spot known for 14-hour smoked meats and globally inspired sandwiches from Food Network Star Jeff Mauro will serve its signature dishes in several locations throughout the ballpark:
o Bao to the Pork (Platform 14 and Marquee Classics): Hickory smoked pulled pork, Asian sauce, pickled daikon and carrot, cucumbers, and jalapeño relish on steamed bao bun
o Buffalo Chicken Sandwich (Platform 14): Smoked pulled chicken, tossed in fire sauce, topped with gorgonzola, pickled carrots and celery, and ranch dressing on buttered New England roll
o Pig Candy (Platform 14): Sweet and savory brown sugar-coated bacon bites
o Pig Candy BLT (Platform 14): Pig Candy bacon with lettuce, tomato, dry rub mayo, and balsamic onions on a buttered brioche bun
o Hot Doug’s: Decadent, alumni player-inspired sausages from the Chicago institution return on a rotating basis in the Budweiser Bleachers
o Giordano’s: Chicago’s classic deep dish pizza returns to Wrigley Field with a new Giordano’s Pizza Kitchen Stand near Aisle 102-104
o Vienna Beef: The Chicago staple provides fan-favorite hot dogs and sausages throughout the ballpark
o Buona Beef: Celebrating a successful 2016, Buona Beef will be back in Platform 14 in the Budweiser Bleachers, along with a specialty combo cart located in the right field concourse
Those are really good. I had them quite a few times last year. You can get them with the giardiniera shown in the photo above, or with sweet peppers.
It really is a far cry from getting a hot dog, peanuts and a brew. You can absolutely “Lunch Well” (or, depending on the game time, “Dine Well”) at Wrigley Field. Prices... well, they’re also a far cry from 1967. But you’re getting better quality food for your ballpark dollar, too.