So You Want to Eat Well at the Game…

The garlic fries at Yankee Stadium are a can't-miss food item.  (via Dov Harrington & Howell Media Solutions)

The garlic fries at Yankee Stadium are a can’t-miss food item. (via Dov Harrington & Howell Media Solutions)

So you’re planning a trip, a baseball trip. And you’ve got your place to stay and your tickets to the game, and not a lot of bandwidth left for the specifics of where you will eat. That’s the small stuff, not worth sweating. That’s what you say now.

Except! Good food is great. I submit it’s way, way better than bad food. Bad food is almost not worth eating. And when you’re hungry, and then you remember that you didn’t do any prep work to find that great food, that’s when you get hangry.

On top of that, all good food is not created equally. You’re not about to sit down for a meal at Jean-Georges in Manhattan when you’re on the way to see the Mets in Queens. It doesn’t make sense, in a lot of different ways.

What you’re looking for is baseball food. Well, not food made of baseballs. (although…) You’re looking for baseball-friendly food. And whom better to ask than a bunch of people that work in baseball for a living?

That’s what we did here. We asked beat writers, radio people, team PR officials, bloggers, and even people in the front office where they like to eat most. Nearly 100 people responded to us, all told.

Then, after heroic data-gathering work from FanGraphs interns Bailey Winston and Sam Bauman, plus myself, our visualizations guru Sean Dolinar whipped up this handy map tool. It allows you to see where these best affordable food options are on the map.

At each specific restaurant, you’ll see quotes from the reviewer(s) attached, as well as handy links to find the places yourself — provided said links exist. Not every restaurant has their own website. Below the map, you’ll find the best in-stadium options. And if you press the reset button, you’ll zoom back out.

So, the next time you’re in a major league city you don’t know so well, and you’re thinking about getting some food before or after the game, you’ll be covered. No matter what city you’re in.

All of this is thanks to the generosity of the many folks listed below, with their Twitter handles for good measure. Thanks to them for helping us find the best food around the ballpark near you. And especially to Sean, who hit a home run with this custom map.

Survey Respondents (Links are Twitter handles)

With a phone full of pictures of pitchers' fingers, strange beers, and his two toddler sons, Eno Sarris can be found at the ballpark or a brewery most days. Read him here, writing about the A's or Giants at The Athletic, or about beer at October. Follow him on Twitter @enosarris if you can handle the sandwiches and inanity.
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
8 years ago

The STL list is great, although I’d add the Schlafly Tap Room (2100 Locust) as an option outside of the ballpark. It’s my favorite place in the city.

I’ll also admit to enjoying the extreme bacon sandwich at Busch III. I went in expecting weird, mediocre food porn but it was quite good. And there’s a very good pastrami cart- Kohn’s- in the concourse around home plate/1B. Beyond that, I agree about the assessment of Busch III’s food- uninspired.

At Nats Park, the Danny Meyer stuff (Shake Shack, Blue Smoke, Box Frites) is all ok, but the wait is far too long. For my two cents, Ben’s Chili Bowl is the way to go if you want something that won’t waste half of your ticket standing in a food line. Last season, they added a Virginia Biscuit Company stand. Their chicken biscuit is my favorite thing in the ballpark.

8 years ago
Reply to  John

see, I’ve never thought shlafly’s food was that great. The beer is very good but meh on the food.

Side note, if we were focused on beer it would be 4hands, civil life and then huge gap UC, then huge gap shlafly, all four of which are good beer. So if you are pregaming in STL and just want amazing beer my personal recommendation would be 4 hands but any of those are a good choice(and Shlafly has two places to go, bottleworks or tap room)

Bob Spencer
8 years ago

Cali Tacos (1639 W Chapman Ave, Orange, CA 92868) has fantastic california-style burritos. They’re giant and only like 7-8 bucks. Best burritos I’ve had out here

8 years ago

y’all forgot about seville. great food, better atmosphere.

8 years ago

Worth noting, for those going to a Phillies game, is the main Chickie’s and Pete’s sit-down location that is JUUUST outside the circle indicated on the map. Top left corner, near the Schuylkill Expressway and Curtin Street. It has the little cocktail icon.

8 years ago

Unfortunately, this is already outdated. Citifield has added a Momofuku; perhaps the lines at Shake Shack will die down now!

8 years ago
Reply to  Robert

Citi Field has also switched cola sponsors from Pepsi to Coca-Cola; the Pepsi Porch in right field is now the Coke Corner.

8 years ago

I lived next to the Vet and Citizen’s Bank Park in Philadelphia my entire life so believe me when I say the Philly list leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to local spots:

John’s Roast Pork (On Snyder Ave inbetween front st and delaware ave)
Jim’s Steaks (4th & South)
Nicks Roast Beef (20th & Jackson)
Celebre’s Pizza (16th & Packer) Right next to the main Chickies and Pete’s location
Cafe Chicco (Broad & Shunk) Usually closed by 6pm

Inside the stadium my recommendation is to get the bbq pulled pork sandwich from Bulls BBQ and call it a day

8 years ago

Speaking of Shake Shack lines, many comments about the lines at Nats Park there. Team has heard these complaints and expanded Shake Shack this year in an effort to combat this.

8 years ago

Gioia’s, Rooster, Pappys and Bogarts are all solid. I’d add Gyro House in the loop too, p great, or Blackthorne postgame on Sundays (get the deep dish not thina nd give yourself time to wait. Otherwise remove Imos and the list it perfect.

I should add that there are some good slow pace, slightly pricier sit down places near(Zias, Cunettos, King and I) but those obviously don’t fit the mold, if you have time and budget and aren’t focused on Ballpark grab n go ish stuff though, they are more than worth a stop.

8 years ago

I love that you mentioned the Thorn, and I even used to be a dirty bar regular there. I only hesitated to recommend it because I didn’t want to horrify out of towners who may be less forgiving of the ambiance. But I love the pie.

RE: the four STL beers (plus Perennial), I think you can find something great about all of them. I love Schlafly’s variety, especially at the Tap Room. 4 Hands and Perennial can get really fun and experimental, while UCBC does the basic German-style stuff very well.

8 years ago

SriPraPhai in Woodside is considered one of, if not the best Thai restaurants in NYC. Bonus points: it’s RIGHT next to a 7 train stop, prob 10 minutes from Citi Field.

8 years ago

Holy crap I almost forgot. Se it’s not super quality food but if you are tipsy after the game and want to die of grease poisoning for cheap because it tastes good then Eat Rite on 7th is a goo destination, especially if you get a slinger there

8 years ago

Oh and as a person who doesn’t get to travel for baseball enough, all of my comments are in reference to STL. Still a solid, solid list Joe and Drew

Paul G.
8 years ago

For KC, I can vouch for Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que, both for the quality of the ribs and for the length of the line. They have three locations now so it isn’t required to go to the highlighted one, though that is the famous one with the built-in gas station.

Paul H
8 years ago
Reply to  Paul G.

Agreed. I am also pretty surprised Arthur Bryant’s and Jack Stack were not mentioned. If we are making the BBQ rounds in KC both of these are legit and closer to the stadium.

A couple of other KC mentions would be the Boulevard tour / tap room – it is food…of the liquid variety and if you are visiting KC from out of town well worth a visit.

And if you are interested in eating where the players do you could grab a burger at Lorenzo Cain’s favorite – Town Topic (2021 Broadway, KCMO) or one of Sal Perez’s favorite empanada’s at Empanada Madness (906 Southwest BLVD, KCMO)

8 years ago

Just FYI, the MIT Anna’s Taqueria is closer than that Allston location

Well-Beered Englishman
8 years ago

In my non-WBE alter ego as a pro food writer, I co-wrote a Guide to Eating Well in the Cheap Seats at Rangers Games last year. Our top recommendation? Bacon on a stick. Really.

8 years ago

Bacon on a Stick just sounds:

1) very Texan
2) very delicious

Someday…someday I’ll have to sample this.

8 years ago

For SF Giants games, I was surprised to see 21st Amendment Taphouse not on the map. The beer is good (going to a game is the only time I allow myself to be seen drinking a beer with a watermelon wedge in it) and the food is pretty good as well. It’s always busy just before the game, but not so much that you wouldn’t go in. They typically have pretty good burritos for a decent price ($5-8, I can’t remember after a long winter) served out on their patio. The place is so close to AT&T Park that it’s hard not to go before the game.

Eno Sarris
8 years ago
Reply to  Tom

the ambiance is pretty good but I’d rather have better food and beer combo and Citizen’s Band and City Beer Store or Cellarmaker. That’s just me, but I was a correspondent for SF.

James F. Thomas, IV
8 years ago

Seattle: You will find more than a dozen food vendors within a 2-3 block radius od Safeco food. Each offer standards such as hot dogs, peanuts, sodas, and Cracker Jacks. Yoy can take this food into the stadium! So if you’re looking to save a few bucks on pre-game grub, take a stroll around Safeco!

8 years ago

The Cubs recommendations include Penny’s Noodle Shop, but that location has been closed for about two years.

8 years ago

Better title: “random restaurants in the same cities as baseball teams, recommended by random baseball writers at random”

8 years ago

Do you like to eat this food?

7 years ago

Anyone here for the game that is most desirable.