What to eat at Progressive Field
What to eat at Progressive Field
by Malcolm MacMillan
- The Food Network cart is a must-try spot
- Spirits of Ohio offers a wide range of beer
Although there are a ton of sports bar-type establishments in the blocks surrounding Progressive Field, make sure you take your appetite through the stadium's gates. Sure, stadium food is overpriced, but part of the experience of visiting a new park is trying to local fare, and you won't be disappointed in Cleveland. Progressive Field's concessions are diverse, ranging from standard stadium staples to stuff you'll be glad you came across. Progressive Field's upper level has standard concession stands located throughout, but for the park's best food, you'll need to tour the 100 Level.
Your first mission is to hit the Food Network cart, which is located behind Section 172, down the third base line. The closest gates to this popular concession stand are Gate A and Gate B, if you really want to get there quickly. The Food Network cart's menu varies, but always offers such delicious items as the Red, White and Blue Steak Sandwich, which is a generous-sized piece of steak topped with blue cheese, sweet and spicy mayo and accompanied with potato sticks. Or, try the Cleveland Steak Sandwich, which includes sauerkraut, Cleveland's famed Bertman Ball Park Mustard and served with potato sticks. Other menu items are the bacon-wrapped knockwurst on a pretzel roll or the buffalo mac and cheese. Regardless of what you pick, you can't go wrong. The food here is a tad more expensive than at other concessions, but it's prepared carefully and tastes delicious. Be warned that because of the cart's popularity, lines are often long and items can sell out during the game.
One of the coolest places to be is the Ridgid Jobsite Bar, which you'll see quickly if you enter Progressive Field through Gate C. Not only does this area have a great atmosphere, the bar is one of the park's signature areas. Food-wise, the menu is limited to peanuts and jerky, but the beverage selection is unparalleled. Adult drinks include Bud, Bud Light, Miller Lite and Labatt Blue Light, Amstel Light, Blue Moon, Corona, Great Lakes Dortmunder, Foster's, Great Lakes Burning River, Guinness, Heineken, Leinenkugel, Sam Adams and more. If beer isn't your thing, this area also sells wine and an extensive array of mixed drinks. If you can secure a spot at the bar, you might be tempted to stay there for a few innings.
Another must-try stand is Burgers Loaded, found behind Section 107 in right-center. This stand sells a pretty standard list of burgers, cheeseburgers, grilled or fried chicken sandwiches and even a veggie sandwich, but the list of available toppings is outstanding. There are too many to list here, but some highlights include bacon, blue cheese, hot peppers, coleslaw, chili and a ton of different cheeses.
Similar to Burgers Loaded is Hot Dog Plus. As its name indicates, this concession stand sells hot dogs with a twist. This stand sells foot-long and veggie dogs with a similar list of available toppings as at Burgers Loaded. So, if your taste buds are begging for a foot-long dog covered in sauerkraut, pizza sauce, hot peppers and cheese, you've come to the right place.
If chicken wings are something you enjoy, be sure to stop by Cleats, which is behind Section 164, right behind the Indians third base dugout. Wings are sold in five- or 10-piece orders, and you can choose between such flavors as BBQ, Buffalo and Kentucky Bourbon. Cleats also sells burgers and chicken sandwiches.
The Grab N Go stands, which are located behind sections 116, 162 and 550, sell a wide range of items that are a welcome reprieve from hot dogs and popcorn. The food here isn't exotic, but it's tasty and typically well priced. Items range from healthy (wraps, yogurt, fruit cups, salads and veggie trays) to perfect for the young and young at heart (candy, chocolate bars, jerky, fruit smoothies, string cheese, peanut butter and cheese sandwiches, trail mix and even gummy bears).
The Hall of Fame Market in the pavilion beyond center field is a good place to go if you want to enjoy a bit of open space. The menu here is pretty standard, but there are a number of tables you can use if you'd rather not carry your meal back to your seat. This area also includes the Market Pavilion, which sells noteworthy items including pulled pork nachos, pizza and super nachos.
Pizza is the central item of Major League Pizza behind Section 154 (home plate) and Section 554. Here, you can buy a whole pizza or pizza by the slice in such varieties as cheese, pepperoni, sausage or pepperoni and sausage.
The Miller Lite Corner Bar is a popular spot for people seated in the left field bleachers and down the third base line, as well as those enjoying the Toyota Home Run Porch in the left field corner. In addition to having a wide selection of Miller and Leinenkugal beer, this stand also sells hot dogs, bratwursts, Italian sausages and veggie sausages with a variety of toppings.
Nachos are sold at a number of stands throughout the park, but the Nachos stand specializes in this south-of-the-border specialty. Located behind sections 121, 154, 163 and 500, this stand features super nachos (cheese, jalapenos and salsa) and even a taco salad, piled high with chili, salsa, sour cream, cheese and jalapenos.
A number of concessions sell French fries, but if speciality potato products are appealing to you, check out Spuds and Suds, located behind Section 163. In addition to a number of diet-specific items (gluten-free hot dogs, vegan dogs and tofurky Italian sausages), this stand features potato wedges, fries, chili cheese fries and the twisted potato.
Want to stick with something safe? Progressive Field features a Subway location behind Section 148 on the first base side. The menu at this Subway is notably extensive, and you can choose from more than 10 different subs, plus the usual sides of cookies, apple slices and more. Just don't expect to pay standard Subway prices here.
The Appetizer Store is more than a catchy name. Located behind Section 154 (home plate), this concession stand sells a list of items that don't really fit into any other category. This mixed bag menu includes several glorious fried items (Twinkies and cookie dough), funnel cake, corn dogs, fish sandwiches, chicken tenders, popcorn shrimp and even a chicken and waffle sandwich.
Standard stadium food, including hot dogs, popcorn, burgers, soft drinks and the like can be found easily throughout Progressive Field. Virtually anywhere you're standing or sitting, you can see a concession stand to pick up any of these items.
If your seat is in the 500 Level and you don't feel like venturing down to the 100s for your grub, you've still got a number of decent options. The energy bar, located near Section 546, sells several varieties of jerky. Otherwise, the 500 Level is full of concessions that sell standard stadium food.
Fans who have a sweet tooth will want to check out a number of stands, including Cleveland Pops behind Section 175 in the right field corner. The menu here includes a variety of soft drinks, candy, snow cones and slushies. The park's Dippin' Dots stand is found behind Section 173. For more traditional ice cream, be sure to check out Pierre's Ice Cream, found behind sections 148, 342 and 552. Here, the menu includes several flavors of ice cream cones, cups and helmets, sundaes with whipped cream, cherries and chocolate or caramel sauce and even root beer floats. Strickland's Frozen Custard is a fan favorite, and with three 100 Level locations (129, 152 and 158), you're never too far from one. The menu here includes several varieties of ice cream and frozen custard, as well as slushies and soft drinks.
If you're lucky enough to have club seats to the game, the Club Level is home to a number of quality eats, too. The Carvery/Pasta Station is a hit with any beef or pasta lover. You can find chicken sandwiches, jumbo hot dogs and even fish sandwiches at the Ballpark Grill. Much of the menu on the Club Level changes, so you never know what treats you'll get to taste.
Like many MLB parks, Progressive Field has a designated driver booth that you can use if you're thirsty. Sponsored by Budweiser, you'll see one of these booths on each level. All you have to do is sign a form saying you'll be the designated driver for your group (even if you're visiting alone or your group isn't drinking) and you'll get a voucher for a free soft drink, which you can redeem at any concession stand.
The beer selection at Progressive Field is absolutely outstanding. Whether you want to stick with a tried and tested classic or sample a lesser-known product, you're almost guaranteed to be satisfied. Budweiser and Bud Light are the most common beers at Progressive Field, and are sold at numerous stands on each level. Leinenkugel's is located behind Section 108 in right field and Section 157 behind home plate. Be sure to try the Summer Shandy or Sunset Wheat. For a wide selection of beer and wine, visit the Spirits of Ohio stand behind home plate. This stand's beer list numbers roughly 20 choices, including a number of small, local breweries, and you can also buy a number of kinds of wine. The Your Dad's Beer stand, found behind Section 119, also carries and lengthy list of beverages, including Miller Genuine Draft, Pabst Blue Ribbon, Rolling Rock, Stroh's and more, plus snacks like pork rinds and beer nuts. The Indians have created headlines going into the 2013 season by drastically slashing beer prices at Progressive Field. In 2012, the average cost of a regular beer was more than $6, but in 2013, expect to pay just $4 for a brew while you watch the Indians.