I want to preface what I’m about to say with the following: Wrigley Field is the greatest place on Earth to watch a baseball game. The quirky old ballpark we call the “Friendly Confines” is exceptionally proportioned, the ivy is picturesque and every seat feels like it’s close enough to the action (even those few seats that have a pesky pole in the way of that close action). I’ve gone so far as to call it perfect on more than one occasion.
That said, there is one thing I wish Wrigley had more of: modern, tasty food. While sausages, hot dogs, popcorn and pretzels are great, every now and again I find myself at the old ballpark wishing we had our own more adventurous options like the Giants’ offerings that include organic chicken and a crab sandwich, the Tigers’ bacon on a stick and street tacos, and dare I go here (I dare), even the White Sox offerings of elotes, Cuban sandwiches and even gluten-free beer at the park formerly known as the Cell.
So when I first read about the Chef Series at Wrigley Field, I was beyond excited. This was the perfect combination of my favorite pastime, my favorite place, and a way to satisfy my inner foodie.
For the rest of the summer the Diner in the right field corner is being taken over by some of Chicago’s finest chefs who are spicing up the food options available at Wrigley. Top Chef and Iron Chef Stephanie Izard who runs three incredible restaurants in Chicago (Girl and the Goat, Little Goat Diner, and Duck Duck Goat) kicked it off during the last home stand and did not disappoint. Take a look at this menu:
I started with the Korean fried chicken and pork belly fries. Both were delicious and the portions were so generous that I wound up sharing with the couple next to me because it was way more food than I could eat on my own:
In return, they were kind enough to let me sample their meal, the smaller, but still incredibly tasty goat tacos:
A couple of tips based on what I experienced, first of all, it pays to get there early. The line builds quickly, and while it moves fast, you run the risk of it being literally out the door if you don’t go straight there (as the lovely katie casey and I found out during the Marlins series.) In all honesty, though, it’s more than worth it to get there early. All food at Wrigley (except alcohol) is discounted 25 percent up to an hour before game time, and the Chef’s Series is included in that. In other words, the feast of fried chicken and pork belly waffle fries I showed you above came to $15 instead of $20 because I ordered more than an hour before the game. Ballpark food is rarely a deal, but in this instance given the quality of the chef and food, I really felt like I had a great meal at Wrigley for a totally reasonable price.
Chef Izard even had a unique desert offering (which I needed to try, but had to take home) in a spiced peanut butter cookie that was basically what would happen if you took a Nutter Butter and combined it with a whoopie pie, using only outstanding ingredients and flavors. It was exactly as amazing as that sounds. If these are ever available for purchase outside of this event I’m going to have to run a lot more miles.
The first offerings of the Chef Series at Wrigley Field did not disappoint and this is a much needed update to a pretty perfect ballpark. I can’t wait to try other chefs’ menus throughout the summer — next up is Matthias Merges (Yusho, Billy Sunday, A10, Old Irving Brewing). You can see a complete list of chefs for the upcoming homestands below:
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