Opening Day: New Eats at GABP

UntitledI was very surprised when the Reds invited me to their press event to debut their new dining selections at the ball park. For the past few years, The Better Half and I have been kind of (okay, very) critical of their selections, particularly when compared to other ballparks in small market cities. Last year, they raised the bar a bit– the Smokehouse, hand-patted hamburgers– and they raised the bar even more this year.  I’m glad they listened to me, and other fans (and we are big Reds fans) who want an experience when they go to the ballpark.  In speaking with Michael Anderson, PR Manager with the Reds, he said that the Castellinis (the majority owners of the Reds) realize that the experience is what brings people to the ballpark.  “A kid at his first baseball game doesn’t remember who won, but they remember the hot dog that they ate, or meeting Mr. Redlegs.”   It’s very true, and I’m glad they’re matching the food with their philosophy.

UntitledThey’ve added a few new stations to the ballpark, including a Food Network station that will serve hot dogs inspired by the Food Network (they started that partnership last year).  You can get bacon sloppy joes, a signature hot dog with corn chips, baked beans, and mustard and what they’re calling a Cincinnati Dog, which is topped with pork rinds and barbecue sauce.  They’re using a really quality hot dog here– not the typical Kahn’s– which elevates the experience.  Of course, you can still get all of those traditional treats as well– not just the dolled-up dogs– and the Smokehouse will be available this season as well.

UntitledThey’ve also redone the menu for the Machine Room in a Gastropub style with a baseball touch.  I really enjoyed the grilled turkey sandwich with balsamic apple butter, arugula, brie and sourdough– it’s a sandwich I’d be happy to eat at any restaurant.  The Thai Wings with sriracha were sticky, sweet and a little spicy.  I also adored the Banh Miener– a hot dog with cilantro, carrot slaw, cucumber, sriracha and red onion– a hot dog version of a Banh Mi.   For dessert, they’ve added freshly fried donuts with caramel sauce which were ridiculously addictive.  I’ve never actually visited the Machine Room, but I hear they have a brunch I need to try, too.  I’ll definitely add it to my list this season.

Check out the slideshow for some pictures of other items featured during the preview.

So what are you doing for Opening Day?  I’m going to head to the Lagerhouse after the parade and hang out there. Maybe– just maybe– I’ll score a ticket.  What are your Opening Day traditions?  Share them here.Untitled

  • Lindsay Laubenstein

    The Smokehouse has fewer options this year, though.  I walked (err…hobbled…I’m on crutches, currently) over there at last night’s Futures game to get corn on the cob, and I was sad to see it gone.  I was thrilled, last year, that they started offering veggie dogs…I just wish a few more hotdog stands there carried them, as I wasn’t about to hobble all the way over to the opposite side of the stadium when the one around section 129 wasn’t open last night :-  I settled for fried pickles from the new State Fair stand (which were very good fried pickles), but since I had been wanting a veggie dog with sauerkraut, I was vastly disappointed.

    • http://winemedinemecincinnati.com Julie

      One of the problems that the Reds have is that the offerings are so spread out and on less-attended games, often closed.  I do know that the Machine Room has vegetarian Mac and Cheese (which was pretty good) for another vegetarian option.  They unfortunately don’t have the menus online but I’ll ask them about other vegetarian options. 

  • Coltsareok

    The stands that are typically closed during the week are redundant offerings, so that shouldn’t be a big issue. The smokehouse does have some quality offerings – I wouldnt use last nights game as an example because I think it was more of a “dry run” for the food staff and the attendance may have been higher than anticipated.

    I saw the “gourmet” hot dog stand last night. Prices were a bit high, but it’s nice to have options. My biggest issue is that the hot dog stand took over where the $1 stand used to be! I didn’t see a replacement, so I’m not sure if there still is a $1 stand. It was a great value for popcorn, peanuts and ice cream!

  • matt

    Thanks for the report.  I’m glad to see the Reds trying new things in this area.  I second the request for vegetarian options. 

    Thanks,
    Matt

  • Capster430-10

    I’m proud to say that in the last five years of going to 20+ games a year I have not spent one dollar on food at the ballpark. Looks like they’re trying to get cute, but quality and value still have a long way to go to get me to buy anything. But, go Reds.

  • 3horseshoes

    the cincinnati dog sounds absolutely horrible.