Get your stretchy pants ready, Braves fans.
The team’s third season at the soon-to-be-renamed SunTrust Park will usher in some big changes both inside and outside the park. One thing that hasn’t changed? Concessions offerings that are over-the-top with meat and cheese.
Take, for instance, the Blooper Burger, named for the Braves’ mascot, which sees four cheeseburger patties, a foot-long hot dog and chicken tenders covered with lettuce, tomato, onion, jalapenos and cheese sauce, all sandwiched between Texas toast with “Blooper” branded onto the top.
It’s “everything you can find in a ballpark crammed onto a bun,” Braves president and CEO Derek Schiller said of the sandwich -- which is also served with candied popcorn -- at yesterday’s Braves Media Day at SunTrust Park.
If having it all on one sandwich doesn’t hit a home run with you, there are several other new food options at the stadium this year from Braves’ food and beverage partner Delaware North.
Keep your eyes peeled for a chicken and waffle boat made with fried chicken tossed in mango habanero sauce set inside a powdered sugar-dusted waffle boat, topped with chopped pecans and honey and served with seasoned curly fries; the Dinger Dog, a foot-long, all-beef frank, split and filled with bacon jam and cheddar cheese, wrapped in puff pastry and topped with queso blanco and bacon; and what is being dubbed the “Best Darn Steak Sandwich in Baseball,” featuring sliced herbed beef tenderloin on a brioche roll with balsamic-glazed arugula, roasted portobello, fried onion and blue cheese sauce, and served with truffle chips.
Other new options include the Hey Batter Batter Bird, a buttermilk-brined chicken served atop French fries with coleslaw; and the Southern Smothered Sandwich, made with smoked beef brisket topped with grilled peppers and Georgia Grown sweet onions plus cheese sauce on a hoagie with a side of kettle chips.
So what goes into designing new items to make them a hit with game attendees?
“We kinda just play around,” said Delaware North executive chef Peter Smithing. “We literally all sit in a room and say, “OK, what are we going to do this year?’ It’s like, ‘I saw this, I saw that,’ and then we take all those ideas and just riff off of them.”
He said his culinary team travels a lot during the off-season to find inspiration, and that fan feedback on Facebook is also considered when cooking up new items or deciding to take items out of rotation.
If the new food options seem meat heavy, vegetarians still have plenty of options rolled over from seasons past, including salads and vegetarian sushi, available at the First and Third Base Marketplaces; salads and a veggie plate at the Terrapin Taproom; salads, hummus and vegetarian nachos at the ChopHouse; and veggie burgers at H&F Burger.
And speaking of H&F Burger -- the popular Linton Hopkins-branded stand has moved this season from its former spot inside the ballpark. You’ll now find it in a larger and year-round space off the plaza that connects the stadium to the adjoining Battery development, in place of the now-shuttered First & Third sausage spot.
Other changes you might notice if you come to eat or drink at the park or the Battery:
• Coors Light Chop House now features a new grill area on the top level known as Top of the Chop Grille, taking over the space vacated by H&F Burger. The quick serve location features fried chicken, kettle chips and loaded nachos with steak, chicken or house chili.
• Terrapin Taproom, which serves food from Fox Bros. BBQ, has expanded indoor seating and a large patio on the Battery plaza, in addition to the Terrapin Fresh Brew Bar serving beers brewed at SunTrust Park in the Terrapin ATL Brew Lab. Also in the works is a staircase that will connect the first and second levels.
•Cigar lounge and eatery BURN by Rocky Patel, which will feature a design that draws on a mix of Mediterranean, Asian and Cuban cultures and will offer high-end cigars and exotic cocktails, is set to open soon in The Battery.
•Ph’east, a food hall that will feature several Asian-focused options including Lao eatery Snackboxe Bistro, ramen spot Lifting Noodles and poke option Poke Burri will likely be completed in the fall in The Battery next to Wahlburgers, along with specialty grocery store Savi Provisions.
Hungry but on a budget? Schiller points out options that start at $15 and include a game ticket, snack and beverage. And the Braves’ longstanding policy of allowing fans to bring their own food inside the stadium (as long as it fits inside a gallon plastic bag) will remain in place this season.
Here’s where to find the new SunTrust Park concessions options when you come to visit:
•The Best Darn Steak Sandwich in Baseball ($23). Section 112
•Hey Batter Batter Bird ($18). Section 138
•Southern Smothered Sandwich ($12). Section 145
•Dinger Dog ($11). Section 143
•Chicken and Waffle Boat ($7.50). Section 113
•BLOOPER Burger ($26). Section 113
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