Berger cookies and bratwurst cooked in Natty Boh are just some of the menu items baseball fans will be able to enjoy at Oriole Park at Camden Yards as the new concessionaire incorporates more local flavor this season.
The Baltimore Orioles showcased Wednesday the food, along with other locally flavored staples, with new concessions partner Delaware North Cos. Sportservice. Sportservice chefs previewed the new items to media at the B&O Warehouse at the ballpark.
The new items were developed after Sportservice executives and chefs visited dozens of Baltimore-area restaurants following the Orioles announcement of the 12-year partnership in November.
Buffalo, N.Y.-based Delaware North was named the vendor at Camden Yards after the Orioles cut ties with longtime vendor Aramark Corp. The Orioles and Delaware North have invested $11 million in concession upgrades and enhancements, the most the team has ever spent on concessions, said spokesman Greg Bader. Working with Delaware North to bring in local food trends was a must for the Orioles, Bader said.
“It was clear to us, based on the vision for the future,” he said. “We’ve made a commitment to bring local culinary trends.”
Along with the menu, new concessions-related technology has been added, including a point-of-sale system that will allow for faster and better customer service, Bader said. New grills and equipment have been added so a wider variety of food items can be prepared fresh in front of consumers.
“The ballpark needed a major overhaul in its concessions,” said Janet Marie Smith, vice president of planning and development for the Orioles. “As we approach almost 20 years old, any kitchen needs updating, any restaurant needs updating, so redoing all the concessions stands is a major objective for this year.”
Sportservice President Rick Abramson recalled the highlights of the tour to the different restaurants and said he realized coming up with a crab cake in Baltimore would be no easy feat.
“Baltimore is really difficult, there are unbelievable twists in crab cakes,” Abramson said.
In response, the company made two different types of cakes, regular and spicy. Sportservice also created the Birdland Dog, an Esskay hot dog topped with smoked pit beef, Little Italy pepperoni hash, stewed tomato jam and fried onions. A soft-shell crab, battered and fried in a mixture of National Bohemian Beer and Old Bay spices, will be served on a roll. Polock Johnny’s sausages and pretzels formed in the Orioles script “O” will be available as well.
Former Orioles first baseman Boog Powell was also at the tasting to show off his pit beef sandwiches, including a new, bigger sandwich with more meat, aptly called “The Big Boog.”
Many of the concessions also rebranded stands, and more permanent kiosks are being added to the stadium concourse. Café 54 on Eutaw Street will be based off the team’s new spring training home, Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota, Fla., the Natty Boh Bar will be open on the first base side of the lower concourse and Free State Pub will feature local craft and specialty beers on the third base side of the lower concourse.
Retail locations will be added this year too, with Brand 47 Orioles Store opening on the first base side of the lower concourse. Orioles T-shirt Shop, featuring customizable T-shirts, will open on the third base side of the lower concourse.