A Taste of Petco Park: Your Diet Will Have To Wait
After some time off to tend to my studies, here’s part two of my two-part article on the new #PetcoParkFood that the Padres are offering down at the stadium this season. If you missed part one about the budding craft beer scene down at the friendly confines of Petco Park, you can read about it here! And if you like reading things all over again, go for that too! I won’t judge.
If you have ever been to a baseball game hungry, you have probably suffered through the delirium tremens (read: food induced frenzy) of those time-honored ballpark classics: a hot dog, some cracker jacks, maybe some buttered popcorn or just a nice bag of in-the-shell peanuts. Maybe a nice big BBQ style hamburger too, ya know, if you’re not a baseball purist. But fear not, starving Friar Faithful; Once again, the park has supplied the people with what they want: San Diego cuisine. Indeed, Petco Park has rolled out some new tastes that are sure to please just about everybody this season, ranging from new and improved Phil’s BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches to Bumble Bee Tuna Bacon-Salmon Melt sandwiches.
Before I get into the delicious foodstuffs that the park is offering, one of the things I noticed this time around was the plethora of concession stands and accessibility this time around that seemed less prevalent in seasons past. Sure, some of us remember the crazy pandemic that hit Petco Park back in 2009 when fans could get the famous (or infamous) “five-for-five” deal. Fans certainly loved the economy of the deal – five food items normally costing $17 all together for just $5 – but what people didn’t love about it was the long lines that the deal would induce. Some people were even complaining about waiting for an entire hour to get their food because there weren’t enough stands opening offering the deal! In fact, long wait times have never really been a stranger to the concession stands at Petco Park (down on the field level concourse, at least). The organization has made efforts to address this, however, by placing even more options around the ballpark to hopefully kill those long wait lines and also kill any thoughts of boring ballpark cuisine. So enough rabbling on about that – how about some grub?
Like I mentioned in my last article, several other sports writers and myself got the chance to try some of the new food at Petco Park a couple weeks ago. The night began with a Petco Park fan-favorite – and also winner of USA Today’s 2013 Stadium Food King Challenge – Phil’s BBQ. Phil’s BBQ has been at Petco Park for a while now, but they just opened up a new extra-large concession stand behind the first base line with an expanded seating area and even more service windows for fans. We were offered one of the classic “BBQ Broham” sandwiches – a standard BBQ pulled pork sandwich paired with some ballpark fries and fresh coleslaw. Phil’s also had their famous El Toro Tri-tip Sandwich and Award-winning Quarter-Pork Ribs, but I didn’t want to fill up on BBQ since I knew there would be more in store.
After “pigging out” on pig, we headed over to the new Seaside Market, a new large concession marketplace just down the concourse from Phil’s named after the market of the same name up north in Cardiff-by-the-Sea. Seaside Market also boasts a well-known tri-tip sandwich referred to as “Cardiff Crack,” presumably named for its addictive taste and enveloping aroma. The Seaside Market has a little bit of everything for everyone: there are fresh salads, vegetarian flatbreads and vegan sandwiches, and also fresh squeezed orange juice and other organic options for any Padres fan seeking a healthy escape. Seaside Market is definitely something very different from your usual ballpark concessions: there’s an entry line for ordering some freshly prepared food, and then fans can walk around the market and “shop” for other snacks like organic chips and fresh fruit. Seaside Market also boasts a wall of Craft Beer bombers, but I’ve already gushed enough about beer. Basically, it’s kind of like an open air buffet and grocery store complete with a ballpark atmosphere. Think of it like doing your grocery shopping without missing the game (disclaimer: it’s not like grocery shopping. You should actually do that somewhere else because you need to feed yourself and your family, but hey. Who doesn’t want a sandwich that’s called “Cardiff Crack?”).
Following a trip at the Seaside Market, we were stopped by a man walking about the stadium who was offering custom ice cream sandwiches out of an ice cream cart. Yes, you read that correctly: custom ice cream sandwiches. If your mouth isn’t watering yet, I’m not sure if you’ve ever had the childish wonder and delight that accompanies ice cream between two soft-baked cookies (it’s amazing). The ice cream was courtesy of The Baked Bear: a company that will make a custom ice cream sandwich for you at the park with your choice of cookie (chocolate chip, sugar, snickerdoodle, etc.) and your choice of ice cream (chocolate, vanilla, cookies n’ cream, etc.). I was very happy to indulge the man offering them, I mean, who can turn down free ice cream? (Note: the ice cream was just free then. It’s not free all the time. BUT you can pay for a double-scoop ice cream sandwich if you’re feeling adventurous).
Along the way to the Padres proudest concession expansion atop the Western Metal Building, we passed by Diego Steak & Cheese – a concession stand that specializes in San Diego style cheesesteak sandwiches. The sandwiches are extremely delicious and not for the faint of heart: boasting Pepperjack Cheese, Jalapenos, and some extra spices in their cheese sauce if that’s not hot enough for you. The field level concourse is now also home to the Taco Shop street taco stand and roaming Randy Jones Grill Carts that will come straight to the fans. Another hidden gem in the new scene of the new foods at Petco Park is the Bumblebee Seafood stand behind left field near the park-at-the-park. If you’re looking for a bacon tuna melt or salmon tuna melt, you can grab that while also watching some future Padres stars of tomorrow swing out of their shoes at the little league field.
Last but not least, the Padres are proud to offer fans the ambience and unique flavor available atop the newly renovated Western Metal Building with Rimel’s Rotisserie and Rooftop Grill. Fans can head up to Rimel’s on a chilly San Diego evening and enjoy the warm glow of the many heat lamps and open grill that the restaurant has to offer. Fans can enjoy some warm sandwiches and delicious fish tacos while catching a glimpse of the field from “The Rail” – a new seating area and pub-style rail along the top of the Western Metal Building where fans can take in a few innings from a bird’s eye view. Now food purchase is necessary to enjoy the view, however – although it certainly is an option.
When fans head down to the ballpark, of course they’re expecting entertainment on the field. A Padres fan is someone who is dedicated enough to absorb themselves with a team that has at times shown serious promise and fight and at other times shown a dull listlessness that rivals that of a banana slug. The point is, the Padres fan base is made of faithful fans who fill the stadium through the good times and the bad. Such a fan base is deserving of a full entertainment experience when they head down to the ballpark, and even in a scoreless shutout thrown by Cash or watching the Good Guys on the wrong end of a rout, fans can expect to walk away with a smile on their face in one respect or another.
Be it a good game, a tasty beer, or a gourmet meal, Petco Park has something to offer to everyone this season and I can guarantee that fans will walk away with a pleasant demeanor and a full belly. Here’s to a long season ahead that hopefully ends with our team on the right side of the playoffs.