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Okay, since I started the R.F.K. thread based upon the Nationals being there, and I don't know what the story is with concessions for D.C. United events or other events at R.F.K., it's high-time to steer the baseball food to this new thread.

(Moderators: Please feel free to merge/add-in appropriate posts from the R.F.K. thread as necessary)

It's been noted in the R.F.K. thread that the new food concessionaires for Nationals Park have been announced as follows:

Ben's Chili Bowl, Boardwalk Fries, Cantina Marina, Gifford's Ice Cream, Krazee Ice, Kosher Sports, Hard Times Café, La Piccola Gelateria, Mayorga Coffee, Noah's Pretzels, and Red Hot and Blue.

My first question is: Where the heck is Five Guys? I mean, it's a local, home-grown chain, after all. I'd love to see them there.

By the way, as of today, the official Opening Day for the Nats season is only 35 days away, and for season ticket holders, the free game on Saturday, March 29th is only 34 days away. Spring is officially 25 days away.

Don't those thoughts warm your heart? smile.gif

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I'm excited to see Hard Times coming back. They were at RFK for the second half of the '06 season, but were gone for the '07 season. Their frito pie and chili nachos were some of the most satisfying meals available, and they were a good bargain too (relatively speaking).

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Ben's Chili Bowl, Boardwalk Fries, Cantina Marina, Gifford's Ice Cream, Krazee Ice, Kosher Sports, Hard Times Café, La Piccola Gelateria, Mayorga Coffee, Noah's Pretzels, and Red Hot and Blue.

My good friend's younger brother is running La Piccola Gelateria (very new business and this cart will be one of his first ventures). I may get to help scoop for some games this year! I think he'll be stationed on the club level. The rest of the vendors sound good too, although I agree I hope Five Guys makes it in.
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I'm not so sure how well 5G would work in that environment. They still fry your burger to order I think. How many folks really want to go down to the concession area, order, then wait 15 min. to get his/her burger, then sit down and eat it? At a ball game. Maybe, I don't know. What about surges when 80 people show up all at once and want to be fed. And what about the free peanuts. How many people would show up there and just hang around and eat the peanuts and never order anything. I think the free peanuts would be toast in a stadium, not least given the peanut allergy issue. In short, while obviously these questions could be addressed, it doubt they would be able to turn out the type of burger they are known for.

Most of the other concessionaires seem to be serving things that are prepared in advance and/or in quantity, and then just slung out over the counter. Seems to me that is kinda what you need to be able to do as a ball game concessionaire.

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No pizza?
I'm sure that there will be Noble Roman's or Papa John's or whatever available at the regular concession stands, but no local pizza place at Nats Park. I'm cringing at the thought of eating 81 half smokes this season, assuming I stick to one a game....
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I was under the impression that 5 Guys was going in there, but I agree, it seems like a logistical nightmare if they are going to do business as they would in one of their restaurants, the model wouldn't seem to work in that environment.

With that being said, what do you guys think the chances are that day one at the new park will be better than day one at RFK a few years ago? I was in a box that game, so we had all the food that we needed, but I had friends who were sitting in regular seats and had nightmare stories about warm beer and running out of hot dogs in the 2nd inning and things like that.

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There is already a Five Guys just around the corner from the stadium, and from reading the carry-in food policy that came with my season ticket package it looks like you could probably get away with bringing a Five Guys bag in with you. Maybe if they start finding a lot of empty Five Guys bags in the ballpark trash they'll close the deal and get one inside the park too.

I wouldn't think it would be hard for Five Guys to adapt their service model to the ballpark environment. While they do theoretically cook to order, they really don't any more now that all their burgers are cooked to well done. So they could continuously slap burgers on the grill knowing that they'll be slammed and those burgers will be sold the minute they're done. It doesn't take long at all to slap the toppings on and wrap one up. Same thing with the fries. As for the peanuts, a baseball park is by definition about as far away from a peanut-free zone as you're ever gonna get, even in this day and age.

My big question about the Nationals Park food offerings, though, is where is Stan Kasten's favorite, the Capital Q brisket?

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With that being said, what do you guys think the chances are that day one at the new park will be better than day one at RFK a few years ago? I was in a box that game, so we had all the food that we needed, but I had friends who were sitting in regular seats and had nightmare stories about warm beer and running out of hot dogs in the 2nd inning and things like that.

Well, Aramark got the boot, so day one at the new park is already ahead of day one at RFK. I seriously don't think it could be any worse.

It will be interesting to see how it will play out for the first few weeks. I suspect that a few vendors won't be ready on 3/30. The team has repeatedly said that they won't consider the park to be fully "done" until the 2009 season. As long as they have a good beer stand within spitting distance of our seats I'm not going to complain too much :mellow:

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Cantina Marina operated Capital Q Barbecue as well as their own namesake stand at R.F.K. so I expect the brisket sandwich to be back. Man, I ate a LOT of those.

Since I've yet to visit a Five Guys (I know, I know....) could someone please compare and contrast them from Johnny Rockets? The reason I ask is, Johnny Rockets has a huge location at FedEx Field, and it's okay, could be worse. I'm having trouble understanding why so many folks are saying that Five Guys might have trouble adapting their model to the ballpark.

I was curious as to why Five Guys wasn't mentioned because, if for no other reason, they are local.

I also expect to see Papa John's back. No way that wasn't a good deal for them at R.F.K. these past few years, I'm sure that they are anxious to return.

The "dry run" for season ticket holders is the FREE spring training game at Nationals Park on Saturday, March 29th against the Baltimore Orioles.

Since Centerplate has such a good reputation at other MLB parks and they run the concessions at FedEx, I believe that they are better equipped than Aramark to handle stadium food operations. Lord knows, they can't be any worse. You won't hear people crying, "Bring back Aramark!", that's for darned sure.

Nice to know that there's a Five Guys around the corner from the ballpark. No doubt it will be a popular place for folks to fill up before entering the gates.

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I haven't been to a Johnny Rockets for maybe ten years, which was long before Snyder bought them. But I used to live just down the street from one of the original Five Guys (the one on Rt 7 near Bailey's Crossroads) back before they franchised and expanded all over, and now I live just down the street from the Five Guys franchise on Gallows Road in Merrifield. How do they compare? As I recall, the burgers and fries at Johnny Rockets were pretty nondescript. Not bad, just generic. A step up from McDonald's/Burger King, but not a very big step. The best thing about Johnny Rockets was the shakes and malts. They were made fresh to order from ice cream and milk, and were almost but not quite too thick to sip through a straw.

Five Guys doesn't have shakes. Just burgers, fries, hotdogs and sodas. Back in the day at the original store, the burgers were truly made to order. You'd walk in, and as soon as you got in line the guy behind the register would ask you how many burgers you wanted so the fry cook could throw the meat on the grill, just like the barista at a coffee joint will ask you what drink you want before you hit the register. In the very early days at Five Guys you could even specify how you wanted your burger cooked, but that ended some time ago and now they are all cooked to a standard well done. Since they are cooked to order, though, they usually get pulled off the grill before they become true hockey pucks. As for the fries, they are also generally cooked to order and double-fried as they should be. If you eat them fresh from the fryer instead of carting your bag around for a while before eating, you really can't do better than the fries at Five Guys.

The quality of Five Guys has slipped a few notches since they started to expand, and varies a good bit from one franchise outlet to another. As I said, it's been a long while since I ate Johnny Rockets but I can't imagine they improved any once Snyder bought them. And the worst Five Guys I've ever had was still way way better than the back in the day Johnny Rockets ever was. Except for the shakes, that is. If I was near a Johnny Rockets now, I might go by fairly often just to get a shake.

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I can't find it anywhere on the Nationals' web site, but the outside food policy was included in the package when I got my season tickets last week. Basically, it appears to be the same policy as last year at RFK.

It's the same: one unopened bottle of water per person, coolers no larger than 16"x16"x8" or something similar. Who knows if they'll actually be stricter on that this year, though. On hot days I'd walk in there with a 6 pack of bottled water (we were in the sun); the guys in our section seemed to manage smuggling beer in almost every game.

Another Post article slated for tomorrow's food section is up on the site now:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/conte...ml?hpid=topnews

No real news on the local vendors, but they have some preliminary pricing info. Of more interest is a stadium map:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/conte...ST2008030401683

Ben's is on the concourse about even with the left field fair pole (and looks to be a short walk down the stairs from our seats!). Gifford's is on the concourse behind 1st base for us regular joes; the big spenders get to enjoy their fancy pants gelato in the privacy of the Stars and Stripes Club.

Now where's the news that we'll have a good, local microbrew stand?! :mellow:

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Now where's the news that we'll have a good, local microbrew stand?! :mellow:

Don't hold your breath. The fees that Centerplate wants for inclusion are rather prohibitive for a smaller brewery. Now, Premium Distributors (the D.C. Miller Brewing wholesaler) represents all sorts of people, including Wild Goose (Maryland), so who knows what other taps might be in evidence? I'd love to see Dogfish Head, but it 'ain't gonna happen.

Oh, and on the whole water bottle issue, please remember this:

1) The water MUST be in a store-bought container. In other words, no canteens or other personal containers. Your bottle has to have a label on it (i.e. Evian, Dasani, Aquafina, Saratoga, Vermont Pure, etc....)

2) It cannot be in frozen condition.

3) It cannot be larger than 1.0 liter and must be plastic (no glass).

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Just got a personal tour of the new ballpark today, and I can update a little bit.

First of all, if anyone has been to Citizen's Bank Park in Philadelphia, this will look really familiar. Nationals Park seems larger, and has plenty of it's own unique features, but it seems more like Philadelphia's ballpark than, say, Baltimore's Camden Yards.

I have been told that the club/Centerplate is still in negotiations with Five Guys for stadium inclusion, but that isn't official.

There will be PLENTY of food opportunities, that's for sure.

Oh, and if anyone is lucky enough to be offered Diamond Club or President's Club tickets? TAKE THEM! Talk about swanky accommodations! If you are in the President's Club, you won't care if there's a rain delay, that's for sure. For $300/ticket, I think that you get plenty of food and it's brought to you.

Also the red seats in left-center field are going to be a seriously fun area to watch the game and chow down, I think those fans can get food service for a $20 fee or something. There are little tables between the seats out there, and you don't feel like you're in Siberia.

Only 17 more days. It's going to be tight.

Oh, and for the love of God, take Metro. The new entrance/exit of the Navy Yard is almost open, and it's so close to the park, just walk over there, it's easy.

I have it on good authority that EVERY D.C. police officer, regardless of shift, will be on duty on Opening Night. The ballpark area ought to be the safest place in the city.

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I drove by a few days ago and wondered if the stadium would really be ready by opening day. We have season tickets for half the games, then five games with better seats from our group that splits a full season. A majority of that group wanted to buy parking, so we are saddled with the garage for those games, but for the others, it's good to hear that the Metro is gearing up to be ready.

I will be at a conference the weekend of the 29th, so I'll miss the first game in the park. This is a depressing turn of events - we planned to wear our shirts from the last game at RFK. I expect full food reports from my BF and his friend who will (as usual) eat their way through the stadium. I'll tell him that Five Guys might be there.

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So I have tickets to go to the REAL first baseball game at the new stadium, this coming Saturday. That's GWU vs. St. Joe's. hahaha

Anyhow, we are being warned in advance that most concessions will not be open, as they have only distributed a few thousand tickets. I'm supposed to be there by noon, and I suppose I could always go to the Five Guys around the corner, as they claim they will be open at 11 on Saturday. (I got 3 opinions from 2 people there on 2 different calls, so I don't have full confidence in that.)

Most places in Chinatown seem to open at 11 or 11:30, making it pretty tight to be at the park by 12. Anyone have other ideas?

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So I have tickets to go to the REAL first baseball game at the new stadium, this coming Saturday. That's GWU vs. St. Joe's. hahaha

Anyhow, we are being warned in advance that most concessions will not be open, as they have only distributed a few thousand tickets. I'm supposed to be there by noon, and I suppose I could always go to the Five Guys around the corner, as they claim they will be open at 11 on Saturday. (I got 3 opinions from 2 people there on 2 different calls, so I don't have full confidence in that.)

Most places in Chinatown seem to open at 11 or 11:30, making it pretty tight to be at the park by 12. Anyone have other ideas?

Levi's Port Cafe should be open.
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So I have tickets to go to the REAL first baseball game at the new stadium, this coming Saturday. That's GWU vs. St. Joe's. hahaha

Anyhow, we are being warned in advance that most concessions will not be open, as they have only distributed a few thousand tickets. I'm supposed to be there by noon, and I suppose I could always go to the Five Guys around the corner, as they claim they will be open at 11 on Saturday. (I got 3 opinions from 2 people there on 2 different calls, so I don't have full confidence in that.)

Most places in Chinatown seem to open at 11 or 11:30, making it pretty tight to be at the park by 12. Anyone have other ideas?

Brown bag PB&J?

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Spotted on ballparkguys.com:

From today's Sports Business Daily:

quote:
The Nationals and concessionaire Centerplate have completed a deal for Five Guys Burgers & Fries to operate an outfield plaza stand in the team's new ballpark. It will be the second location in a sports facility for Five Guys, founded in '86 in nearby Arlington, Virginia. The Five Guys stand at the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa has become one of the NHL arena's top-selling concessions since it opened in October.

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Price report from someone who attended Saturday's game:

Hot dogs=$4.50

kosher dogs = $5.50

Ben's Half Smoke = $6.25

Pizza = $8

Sodas $4.50/$5.50;

Beer=$7

Margarita = $10

Cracker Jacks, Pretzels, seeds=$4

This is like going to Disney World except that there aren't any rides.

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Price report from someone who attended Saturday's game:

Hot dogs=$4.50

kosher dogs = $5.50

Ben's Half Smoke = $6.25

Pizza = $8

Sodas $4.50/$5.50;

Beer=$7

Margarita = $10

Cracker Jacks, Pretzels, seeds=$4

That's within a dollar or so either way for each of these things at Wrigley, except there's no half smoke at wrigley. And our stadium is a lot cooler ;)
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That's within a dollar or so either way for each of these things at Wrigley, except there's no half smoke at wrigley. And our stadium is a lot cooler ;)

Click here to see the baseball card of your last World Series MVP (NB - born in 1876. Still living at that time: Frederick Douglass, Louis Pasteur, Herman Melville, Jesse James, Fransz Liszt, and Sitting Bull).

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Click here to see the baseball card of your last World Series MVP (NB - born in 1876. Still living at that time: Frederick Douglass, Louis Pasteur, Herman Melville, Jesse James, Fransz Liszt, and Sitting Bull).
;) It's going to be a great year for us this year. :)
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I was under the belief that a large majority of the stadium financing was supposed to be derived from taxes on tickets, souveniers, concessions, etc.

In today's paper, it said that a wopping $20,000,000 per year would be generated by these taxes.

Now, I'm no mathmetician, but if the Nats sold out every game, and stadium taxes were 10%, the average attendee would have to spend $60 each game in order to generate this kind of revenue.

I guess the days of $4 bleacher seats at Memorial stadium are long gone.

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That's within a dollar or so either way for each of these things at Wrigley, except there's no half smoke at wrigley. And our stadium is a lot cooler ;)

From September 2001 (when I returned to Chicago) to June 2007 (when we moved to Baltimore) I saw just shy of 200 games at Wrigley, and while I feel comfortable saying there are few who love the Cubbies and Wrigley more than I do (though Ron Santo certainly springs to mind), I'm willing to concede concessions superiority to any other major league stadium purely on say so. The grub is not a strength (though the grilled hot dog and sausage carts aren't bad).

Looking forward to April 26th :-)

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I wouldn't say that. At those prices, you'll certainly feel like you've been taken for a ride... ;)
Is this news? Was anyone expecting the concession prices to be low? I know I'll be there for 81 games (barring illness or other plans) and will enjoy the expanded concession options - these prices are in line with most, and certainly lower than some, other ballparks in the league.
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What about dining or things to do just outside the park? I live in the area and was thinking of walking down there opening day (and other days if there are things to do) to check out the scene.

I always enjoyed heading out to Fenway to grab a sausage on Yawkey Way, peruse the merch stores, people watch, etc. even if I wasn't going to the game.

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Price report from someone who attended Saturday's game:

Hot dogs=$4.50

kosher dogs = $5.50

Ben's Half Smoke = $6.25

Pizza = $8

Sodas $4.50/$5.50;

Beer=$7

Margarita = $10

Cracker Jacks, Pretzels, seeds=$4

Will there be more than one place to get a Kosher dog in this Stadium? Has the location been pinned down? Thanks!

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Well the Lerner's have to make money to pay for that stadium... err oh yeah they didn't pay for the stadium...

True, but they're pouring millions of their own money into the stadium to upgrade certain aspects from their original designs and add features that they really want that the city wouldn't/couldn't pay for.

Remember, the Lerners are builders, this is their new home, even if they are only signing what amounts to a long-term lease, so they are taking what the city has given them and adding to it as best they can. Don't think for a moment that the stadium isn't "costing" them anything.

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First reports from the exhibition game last night: The park itself is AWESOME!

The reports in today's Washington Post are pretty much on-target where the food is concerned.

The lines to get food, with only 25,000 fans in attendance, were horrendous. I stood in line for 40 minutes just to get a hotdog. Centerplate REALLY needs to get S-shaped (serpentine) lines at each concession. The lines last night stretched straight back from each stand (on the mezzanine level, anyway) and too many fans had to cut through lines just to get beyond them, much to the annoyance of many line-standers.

The boardwalk fries are good, nice and hot right out of the fryer, but in last night's chilly weather, they soon cooled off.

I didn't dare get in line for Ben's Chili Bowl. It is so well-positioned that I think so many fans will jam it. It is like trying to get a Philly cheesesteak at Citizen's Bank Park, in Philadelphia - if you get in line for it, you're going to miss some innings.

I spent far too much time just saying "hello" to old friends and just getting acclimated, just surveying the situation and getting the lay of the land. I'll try to report back on food offerings as often as I can.

Lots and lots and lots of food opportunities, though. These need to be explored.

Folks, this season is going to be a repeat of 2005 from an attendance standpoint. In '05, they averaged 30,000 fans per game, but that dropped off sharply in '06 and '07, but the team in '05 was not only new, but was almost in the pennant race, so that helped in August and September. I predict that, with all of the favorable press and gorgeous camera shots from the t.v. cameras, that Nationals Park will be the #1 new tourist attraction.

Remember, a lot of baseball fans like to tour other MLB parks and this is the newest and greatest, at least until the other new parks open, i.e. the new Mets Stadium and new Yankee Stadium.

Don't let the Post scare you off of Metro, though. Still makes so much sense. It's SUCH a gas to come out of that Navy Yard station, make that left turn and THERE IS THE PARK! Just a short walk away, down Half Street. Almost ideal.

One note about wardrobe: Dress warmly for tonight's Opening Day game, if you're going, and watch the weather reports for all home games over the next month. Nats Park is a very open stadium, not as closed-in as R.F.K., so the wind swirls around differently. Wear layers. Bring gloves. When the sun sets, it does get chilly this time of year.

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The hike from Metro to the stadium that you had at RFK is over. It was an absolute breeze last night to get from the station to the park. Joe Riley is right. Be prepared to invest a good bit of time buying food. We spent the first 4 innings or so last night just wandering the whole stadium, level by level. It is VERY nice. Some additional things of note:

The food and beverage stands take credit cards unless they say cash only.

Five Guys and Ben's Chili had the longest lines I'd ever seen for food at a ballpark. Ever. Be sure to get there when the gates open and maybe you'll be able to get to see the second half of the game. The Ben's outlet in the indoor, club level mezzanine (snuck in, nice area and weather proof) had some pretty big lines too. They had empty made to order pasta stations, however, with assorted pastas for $15/plate.

Many more places to get a cocktail than you'd ever imagine was possible if you are only used to RFK.

Lots of beer variety, but those varieties begin to wane as you head to the upper levels. My fave of the night was the Home Run Ale, which I found first in the Red Porch Restaurant right in center field. $7.50 for a 16 to 20 oz cup, perhaps. Same as most of the beer costs. Home Run Ale had tap handles in a few other places throughout the park but, IF IT'S NOT WORKING, PUT A FREAKIN' EMPTY CUP OVER THE HANDLE SO WE DON'T HAVE TO WAIT ON LINE FOR 20 MINUTES ONLY TO LEARN YOU DON'T HAVE IT DAMMIT!

Get a load of this. Do you recall those "on the fly" carts that have been popping up with some "higher end" street food in various parts of the city? Well, the owners are geniuses. I don't know how long ago, but they contacted a private property owner who rented them a tiny spit of land on Half Street bout 50 yards from the park entrance. It was the only food to be seen if you were hoping to pick some up outside the park and bring it it (aside from a guy who had pretzels). But the food carts were great. One had BBQ sandwiches from Rocklands along with mac and cheese and a few other sides. There were also tacos (carnitas and chicken) at 2 for $5. I had one of each and was quite pleased. The Mrs. had the BBQ sandwich which looked very nice, but I didn't snag a taste. Nor do I recall how much it cost but I presume it was in the $5 range. Lots of other odds and ends for sale at these carts too for you to bring in. The thing I'm told is, that once On The Fly rented out this spot, the police(?) somehow put the kibosh on any more space rentals. I read that story somewhere about all the vendors wanting to sell the scummy water dogs were wondering when and if they'll be able to set up shop outside Nats Park. I don't know the answer to that. But On The Fly is freakin' sweet!

Lastly, can anyone tell me what it is about sports arenas in DC in that they don't sell dogs in the stands? At any baseball or hockey game I've been to in any city EXCEPT DC, you can get a dog right at your seat. Nats Park is the same way. What's up with that?

Will see some of you there tonight. And Joe is right. Bundle up! The wind moves very differently here and while weather.com may make it seem like the temp isn't that low or the wind speed that high, expect it to be worse than you think. Of course, some July and August, that breeze is going to be very welcome.

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