Opening day is on the way, baseball fans.
This Thursday, Wrigley Field’s executive chef David Burns, who previously worked at local restaurants Le Bouchon and La Sardine, kicks off his seventh season designing the concession menus for the Cubs’ home base. On April 13, U.S. Cellular Field’s executive chef Olegario Soto, a former Spiaggia sous chef, will start his eight season with the Sox.
We polled both chefs on fan favorites as well as what’s new to their gametime menus this season. Read on to see what snacks are worth leaving your seat to sample.
U.S. CELLULAR FIELD
Fan favorite: Burgers are “always number one” at the ballpark, according to Soto. Stop by the 300-level’s condiment bar to top your pretzel bun-clad mushroom-bacon burger ($10.95) with smoked-onion mustard, giardiniera or sport peppers.
Notable new nosh: Sox fans can also sink their teeth into a pork-and-beef burger seasoned with ginger and soy sauce ($10.95); pair it a Blue Moon draft, a new addition to the beer offerings this season.
Most gluttonous grub: The monstrous Victory Knot pretzel ($15.95), served in a pizza box with chipotle cheese spread, sweet cream cheese icing and a cheese dip made with pale ale beer, isn’t officially on the menu this year; however, Soto said the 300-level concessions area will prepare the pretzel upon request.
Healthy option: Every month, a different salad—such as the chicken-and-bacon chop salad with honey dijon vinaigrette ($8.95)—will be available, along with a fruit cup ($8.50) that includes mango, watermelon and other seasonal treats.
Clean sweep sweet: The ballpark also serves a south-of-the-border snack called ice cream nachos ($8.95), deep-fried flour tortilla triangles sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar, topped with vanilla ice cream and maraschino cherries and drizzled with caramel and chocolate.
Fan favorite: Hot dogs are the biggest ballpark seller, according to Burns, who also said that at least 10 vendors plan to sell them open-faced rather than wrapped up in wax paper this year to make adding your own toppings easier. The two-pound Big Slugger Nachos ($15), sold in a souvenir Cubs batting helmet at multiple spots (including Big Dogs, located near the bleacher section) is another popular pick.
Notable new nosh: This season, meat lovers can munch on Meatball Mania ($15), a skewer with two beef, chicken and pork soy-and-ginger-seasoned meatballs, sold at Italian Hot Spot (section 112-115).
Most gluttonous grub: Your pants better be ready for a seventh-inning stretch if you plan on ordering the loaded tater tots topped with hot sauce, jack cheese, sour cream and onions ($6). Grab some at Big Dogs or The Works (section 121-123).
Healthy option: Sheffield Grill, a fast-casual eatery near right field, is debuting the vegan Sloppy Jane sandwich ($8), made with tempeh and served on an egg- and butter-free roll. Other light fare includes the veggie chop salad ($6.50), with asparagus, garbanzo beans and broccoli, sold at Italian Hot Spot, the Blue W (section 122-125 and 133-134) and Big Hits (bleachers concourse area).
Clean sweep sweet: Wrap up your ballpark binge with strawberry cheesecake or cookies and cream-flavored frozen custard from the Concrete cart located on the second-level ramp on the left field side of the park.
Erin Brereton is a RedEye special contributor. email@example.com