Best (and Worst) Stadium Food Around America

Finding the finest (and junkiest) food in stadiums around the country


All around the country, sports fans pour into stadiums every day to cheer for their favorite teams. Jumping up and down and coming up with clever smears against the opposing team can make even the burliest sports fanatic hungry. It used to be the case that America’s stadiums could offer little more than generic ballpark staples like hot dogs and beer. But with the current influence of fine dining on classic American dishes, stadiums across the country are benefiting from a new era of gourmet-sports food.

From classic Philly cheesesteaks to sushi and fried fish sandwiches, going to a ballgame no longer means having to choose between starving in the 7th inning and munching on mystery meat. Here are our picks for the most mouthwatering stadium meals, followed by our picks for junkiest. Then, in our Hot Dog Showdown, we want to know which ballpark you think has the best dog – L.A.’s Dodger Dog or Boston’s Fenway Frank.

BEST

No list of best stadium foods would be complete without the famed Gilroy garlic fries or Ghiradelli’s hot fudge sundaes at San Francisco’s AT&T Park – both local treasures in themselves. (Photo courtesy of Flickr/wallyg)

New York’s new Citi Field went a similar route, offering burgers and hot dogs from Shake Shack in New York City. The “Shack-cago” dog is one of their most popular offerings with Rick's Picks Shake Shack relish, onion, cucumber, pickle, tomato, pepper, and celery salt.

At Seattle’s Safeco Field, there is fresh sushi available as well as the much-lauded “Ivar” dog, which is a fried fish sandwich with signature slaw.

Baltimore’s Oriole Park is home to retired first baseman Boog Powell’s popular BBQ stand. Situated just outside the park’s entrance, Powell serves up Boog’s Barbecue to hungry Oriole’s fans who love the hickory-smoked beef with beans and slaw.

Another local legend serving at the stadium is Tony Luke at Philadelphia’s Citizens Bank Park. Locals and visitors to Philly line up for Tony Luke’s cheesesteaks in town, but now they’re also served up special for Phillies’ fans.

Last, but certainly not least in this short-list, is the peach cobbler at the Georgia Dome, home of the Atlanta Falcons. Clearly plenty of stadiums have savory foods down, but few serve up well-done desserts like warm peach cobbler (a local favorite). (Photo courtesy of Flickr/wallyg)

On the other side of the coin, we’ve listed the worst stadium foods in the U.S. By “worst,” we don’t mean those stadiums who have been hit with food safety violations. (We are too scared to look, really.) These “worsts” are foods that might make your heart beat a little slower or make you feel like you’ve taken on a Man v. Food-style challenge.

WORST (FOR YOU)

Top of this list is undoubtedly the Krispy Kreme burger found at the minor league Gateway Grizzlies’ stadium in Illinois. Modeled after the “Luther Burger,” the Krispy Kreme Burger has a beef patty covered in cheese with two strips of bacon and a split Krispy Kreme donut as the bun. (Photo courtesy of Flickr/myinnerfatty)

Following closely behind is the Charleston Riverdogs stadium’s Homewrecker Dog. A hot dog piled so high that it actually has been on Man v. Food, the Homewrecker is a half-pound, foot-long hot dog with up to 25 possible toppings from pimento cheese to jalapenos and from pickled okra to chili cheese.

The Homewrecker’s endless options are its scariest feature, much like the All-You-Can-Eat seats at Minute Maid Park in Houston. Available for any game, pay just $30 for a mezzanine seat and access to all the chili dogs, sliders, wings, BBQ beef sandwiches, stacked baked potatoes, and “Texas Most Wanted” dogs you can shake a stick at.

At Chase Field in Arizona, Diamondbacks fans line up for the Sonoran hot dog. At its base, it is a hot dog wrapped in bacon. But, that’s not all. It also has pinto beans, grilled onions and peppers, tomatoes, relish, tomatillo, mayonnaise, mustard, ketchup, and cheese.

Then, there is Dodger Stadium’s pretzel on steroids: the Victory Knot. A two-pound salted pretzel, the Victory Knot can come with your choice of dipping sauces, including a beer cheese sauce. (Photo courtesy of Flickr/roboppy)

Wash all these options down with a requisite beer (and schedule a check-up with your doctor), then tell us what you think in the comments. Did we miss your stadium?


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28 Comments

williewildcat's picture

Agree with the earlier poster, US Cellular field, fka Comiskey Park in Chicago has always had great food, thanks to their tie-in with the Levy Restaurant conglomerate. Great Chicago style kosher dogs, Tex-Mex and Carvery sandwiches are all yummy. Enjoy the food options too at PNC park in Pittsburgh, and the Nationals park, while generic, does have Billy Cosby favorite Ben's Chili, as well as hot dogs cutomized to the away team (since most of the fans that go to Nats game are from other cities).

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What's the difference between the kielbasa at Miller Park and the kielbasa at PNC Park in Pittsburgh? You can buy the Miller Park kielbasa in October.

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Just for clarification's sake (I'm from Houston), the All-you-can -eat feature does not give the ticket holder access to all those foods mentioned above. What you do get is unlimited hot dogs, nachos, popcorn, peanuts, soda, and water. It's a lot of fun, too!

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Wrigley Field has the WORST FOOD hands down. Lobster Roll from Fenway or a REAL Chicago Dog at US Cellular field aka. Comiskey Park to the real sox fans

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the best stadium food i have ever had was at the kentucky state fairgroun ds the state commodity groups all cook there.i like them all .the huge boneless pork chop .the rainbow trout saqndwich or dinner .or a big rib-eye steak sandwich////hummmmm good////

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I WOULD LIKE TO SAY THAT FOR $10.00 YOU CAN GET THE BEST BALL PARK NACHOS AT THE NACHO BAR BY SECTION 150 AT BUSCH STADIUM IN ST LOUIS MO.YOU GET 2 CHOICES OF MEAT TOPPINGS SEASONED GROUND BEEF OR PULLED PORK THEN YOU GET SALSA ,SOUR CREME,BANANA PEPPERS,JALAPENOS,GREEN ONIONS ,BLACK OLIVES ANDDICED RED ONIONS CAN YOU SAY MMMMMMM!!!!!!!!!!!!! GOOD!!!!!!!!!

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Yankee stadium kinsih, lobster sandwich at Pac-Bell, Any brat at Miller Park or Hot dog at Wrigley are great. But the best ball park food ever was not in the U.S. but in Japan at Seibu Lions stadium. Amazing, Everything from traditional American to Far East to Middle Eastern to Indian. I know no one wants to go to Japan now, but once it is safe the ball park food their is amazing the best I have had and I have been at least 20 American Major league and at least 10 minor league parks.

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DODGER DOG YUCK, FENWAY FRANK YUCK, THE DOME/TOP DOG TWINS WERE THE BEST I HAVE EVER HAD!

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Feankie Vs PIZZA, Tony Os cuban sandwitch, Killebrew Root Beer and FLIPPING WISCONSIN BEER FOR 8.00 Only in Minnesota.

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Got to admit Boog Powell has great Pit Beef !
But don't be fooled By the crab cakes At Camden Yards.
Baltimore is Known for Crabs,And the Crab Cakes at the yard might please out of towners But They rate about 1 star to any home grown Bawlmorean !!!

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How can you even consider having a great Stadium food list without adding Miller Park Brewers or Lambeau Field Packers great BRATWURST?

Thomas F. Smith's picture

looking forward to the newsletters

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Miller Park home of Milwaukee Brewers:
Hot Dog Bun......... 7 cents
Hotdog............... 35 cents
RETAIL $6.00
Do you really think a .42 cent sandwich could possibly be good muchless worth $6.00.
Sport Stadiums are notorious for overpriced / cheap fare. That's why we always eat before the game in the lot and smuggle drinks in. $8 for a beer is criminal. Sell your ticket for above face value and you are a scalper!

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Did they really just name a stadium that serves sushi? Sushi? Sushi? C'mon that's not ballpark food. How about the original bratwurst at Miller Park! Now that's baseball food!

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I agree!! Sushi is not ballpark food! Yuppie food yes

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Absolutely the worst food I've ever had was at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse. How anyone eats it is beyond me.

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The food on the bad list isn't food that is bad tasting it's food that is high in fat and salt. This is not the way you should evaluate this kind of food. I'm all for eating healthy food but it does not hurt to splurge once in a while and at a ball game is the perfect time to do it. The list should list places that the food is not fresh and is badly prepared. At the stadium in KC I had some fries that looked like the potatoes had gone bad before they were fried, and although I love a nice greasy french fry once in a while these were dripping oil, and the oil was obliviously rancid but they were using it anyway. That's bad food.

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all these high prices are for the over paid athletics that feel like they're worth millions of dollars for "playing" a sport.. whatever.. ... y'all have fun funding their million dollar homes.. i'll keep my money.. lol

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Wrigley Field has possibly one of the best Italian beef sandwiches I've ever had.

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AT&T Park, Safeco Field, Citizens Bank Park etc etc. I love how Oriole Park & Dodger Stadium haven't succumbed to idiotic corporate branding. The worst I've seen is the Yum! Center. On topic, those garlic fries at AT&T Park are awesome.

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All games are free at home and much better on TV...plus a head of lettuce to gnaw on is only a buck

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Your choices of "best" were qualitative. They tasted good. Your "bad" foods were based on someones idea of heslthy food. Consider the dog with pintos, cheese and other goodies. Do the nutrtitional analysis. It doesn't sound bad and itought to taste good. Bood Powell's BBQ is not health food. I have had it and it is great, but Michelle would have a coronary about it.
Yiour article sucks from almost any viewpoint.

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I can't believe Boston's Fenway Park isn't #1 on the best list.

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BOFA Stadium, home of the Carolina Panthers. Food is way below par, $6.50 beers and barbeque awful.

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Thats crazy the Sonoran dogs are the best! You can get it with out the bacon and it becomes a regular hot dog with veggie fixings

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I would like to submit another "worst" and that would be Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs. Not only is the food barf but it will cost you an arm and a leg. Last time I was there a burger and fries was $12.00. One beer, one lousy beer, cost $6.50, as much as a six pack. Go Cubs!

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Hey I wouldnt complain it costs 10 for a beer at the dodgers stadium. I actually envy your 6.50 beer! Most bars in LA dont sell beer for that cheep.

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I am very disappointed to see that you did NOT include Yankee Stadium's Lobel's Prime Meats wonderful and luscious steak sandwiches !! They are absolutely a MUST whenever our family goes to a Yankees game. Lobel's is the best in the world and we are so very lucky to be able to get it at Yankee Stadium !

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