Mariners Stress Eating


Not just pizza. “Apizza.”

Be honest — you probably don’t think of Seattle sports fans as “fortunate human beings.” Well, maybe that changes today, when you learn about the revamped food offerings at Safeco Field.

In the above-linked press release, the Centerplate concessions company proudly proclaims: “[o]ur mission was to create a restaurant-style hospitality experience – the anti-fast food – in a concession environment.” Sounds great! Let’s look at the new offerings and see how they did:

• Apizza with Chef Bill Pustari
• Flying Turtle Cantina/Tortugas Voladoras with Chef Roberto Santibañez
• Hamburg + Frites with Chef Ethan Stowell
• La Crêperie, Authentic Parisian Crêpes with Chef Ethan Stowell

Parsing “[Food] with [Chef Name]” naming convention… translating into English… done. So, Mariners fans will enjoy the following “anti-fast food” options at 2011 home games:

• Pizza
• Tacos
• Burgers + Fries
• Les Crepes

Not the sophisticated fare I was expecting, but still: there’s crepes! Although I’m skeptical about a joint called “La Crêperie” killing it at an American sports venue.

Which gets us to a problem. At ballgames, you have a sizeable constituency who in their whole lives have basically only ever eaten ballpark food, even outside of ballparks. Then you have another set of people who eat all sorts of things in their regular lives. But at the ballpark, they normally want to eat ballpark food. So generally, the recipe for success should be to offer baseball fans really excellent, traditional ballpark food.

That’s not to say don’t try new things too, but don’t dress up pizza and burgers as “Apizza” and “Hamburg + Frites.” Seattleites aren’t THAT pretentious (non-coffee division).

PR spin aside, some of these new options sound pretty appealing. My thoughts:

Apizza: That’s another name for New Haven-style pizza. Which is very nice thin-crust pizza, and apparently Chef Pustari runs a well-regarded place in New Haven, so that should be tasty. I don’t personally eat pizza at baseball games, but I’m ok with the fact that other people do.

Flying Turtle Cantina: The press release claims that founding chef Roberto Santibañez is “the [emphasis mine] authority on authentic Mexican cuisine” and then notes his many professional involvements, including Rosa Mexicana in New York and Fonda San Miguel in Austin. I should say that I am not a fan of this haute Mexican food. However, Santibañez’s restaurants are popular, and haute Mexican is better than no Mexican.

French-inflected burgers and crepes: These were created by Ethan Stowell, a Seattle chef. While I haven’t eaten at any of his restaurants, one’s named after an M.F.K. Fisher book, which earns him big points. I could definitely see myself settling into a melty, delicious ham and gruyere crepe at a chilly night game in September. Hopefully Mariners fans will support the local guy and try his food.




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13 Responses to “Mariners Stress Eating”

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  1. Adam W says:

    Sally’s > Frank Pepe.

    Contraversial, I know.

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  2. Dayn Perry says:

    “Haute Mexican is better than no Mexican.” – This is very wise. Very, very wise.

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  3. Chris says:

    Best food I ever ate at a ballpark was hands-down a Texas Manhandler from a Famous Dave’s stand behind the LF seats at Coors Field. It’s not traditional, but it’s damn tasty, and at $7 it’s about as expensive as a Rockies Dog or a Helton Burger but instead of blah type food, you’re getting brisket topped with spicy sausage. Smother it in some Devil’s Spit bbq sauce and it’s a dream come true.

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    • Leo Martin says:

      I’m not sure I’d feel comfortable ordering something called a “Texas Manhandler,” but that sounds pretty excellent. I’ll have to get out to Coors someday. They serve other beer besides Coors, right?

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      • Chris says:

        Dude, they have an entire microbrewery on site! Blue Moon was originally developed and distributed from Coors Field (though under a different name at the time). If you get the chance, take the tour as well!

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      • My echo and bunnymen says:

        Coors is the best ballpark for beer.

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  4. Eno Sarris says:

    Don’t like Rosa Mexicana? It’s pretty good!

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    • Leo Martin says:

      I enjoy the food at Rosa Mexicana (I’ve been twice), but I’m a fanatic for authentic Mexican food, and to me Rosa Mexicana’s fancified version doesn’t capture what I love about the cuisine. It’s basically a Mexican version of Ruby Foo’s, and given the choice between culinary theme parks I’ll take Ruby Foo’s, which at least goes WAY over the top in the process of diverging from its source material.

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  5. gu03alum says:

    I hope they’re not getting rid of garlic fries. Those are my favorite.

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  6. My echo and bunnymen says:

    Even as a pescatarian (in other words, fake vegetarian), I eat veggie dogs and veggie burgers at a ballpark, with the occasional sushi dish as well. I generally stick to veggie “ballpark” food, excluding the sushi of course. So I doubt health conscious minded people don’t eat burgers, fries, and ice cream.

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