ST. PETERSBURG — Vegan bowls, grilled vegetable sandwiches and salted edamame are many of the new eats being presented at Tropicana Field whilst the Tampa Bay Rays open their season Thursday against the Houston Astros.
And there’s no want for meat fans to stew: Stadium cooks can be smoking ribs on website, bagging up mesquite-dusted beef rinds and serving bacon cheddar burgers with fried onions and whiskey barbecue sauce.
Some of those new offerings can be available in multiple indoor eating places four hours earlier than every sport, whilst the parking masses open for tailgaters.
Several local restaurants have partnered with the Rays this season to provide a menu presenting fried fish, coconut shrimp and gourmet ice cream sandwiches.
We had been invited Monday to sample some of the new menu items and to look the changes made to the stadium at some stage in the off-season. The modifications are a part of a -yr, $15-million upkeep that includes new turf, new hospitality regions and new entrances.
A new first-floor, complete-carrier eating place known as the Outfielder Bar & Grill is opening within the region of the previous Everglades Brewhouse. Some of the menu objects were developed by way of cooks at Urban Brew and BBQ on St. Petersburg’s Central Avenue.
In an attempt to be a more fan-pleasant vacation spot, the Outfielder Bar & Grill and the upstairs Ballpark & Rec indoor-outdoor space will open four hours before games and are reachable without delay from the car parking zone.
“You can come right here for a pregame tailgate and they’ll have incredible promotions for beer, meals and alcohol,” said Bill Walsh, vp of strategy and development for the Rays.
American Freedom, a nearby bourbon distillery owned and operated via former Green Berets, may be pouring its signature bourbon at the ballpark. Each bottle is stamped with a piece of metallic from the World Trade Center dual towers destroyed on Sept. 11, 2001.
Chef Javier Delgado with the Levy organization (the Rays’ concessionaire, hired final yr to replace Centerplate) said he’s most enthusiastic about the chicken satays to be served this season on the Lead Off Wok within the 1/3 base concourse.
He mentioned that it’s clean to address a satay in a single hand and a lager inside the other.
“We wanted to do what virtually pushes the envelope and raises the expectancies of what humans consider ballpark food,” stated chef Mike Malone, also with Levy.
Southern Fried, a new restaurant on the centerfield street level, is prepared to serve up hand-battered chicken tenders and bourbon bread pudding with ice cream.
Other new restaurant partnerships include that with Beachside Hospitality Group, operators of Salty’s Island Bar & Grill, Crabby’s Bar & Grill and Crabby’s Dockside. On Monday, the institution become serving coconut shrimp with a view to be to be had at Beachside Bites inside the First Base Food Hall. Pacific Counter on Central Avenue will provide its edamame and sushi bowls from Beachside Bites at the First Base Food Hall. Also new: Fried grouper sandwiches by way of the Hunger Thirst Group can be bought at the Budweiser Porch in centerfield.
The Draft Room for season price tag holders could have some new features as nicely, consisting of lower “fan-friendly” charges on normal fare like warm puppies and an Italian-themed concession.
Tampa Bay’s Kahwa Coffee Roasters is bringing iced espresso to its existing offerings on the first floor of the stadium. And at Sweet Stack Shack, starting at the brand new Gate five close to 16th Street, fanatics could make their personal ice cream sandwiches.
Beach Drive, the location for foods by Beach Drive restaurants Parkshore Grill, 400 Beach and the Hangar, is still open this season, at the side of numerous breweries promoting nearby craft beers.
While the Rays received’t be shifting to Ybor City whenever quickly, crew officials determined to take a number of the options from the proposed new stadium and enforce them in the existing indoor ballpark. On Monday, crews had been nonetheless putting in ‘patio’ boxes and tables in a place referred to as the Left Field Ledge. The new seating is in formerly tarp-blanketed area made unusable after final year’s construction of the walkway round the sector. The tables of four are available to buy for a package of games or, for large groups, unmarried video games.
“It’s kind of a top class-meets-social seating concept,” Walsh said.
The new Gate 5 turned into created in a former concession area to ease some of the congestion earlier than and after games.
“Hopefully it receives people in and around the ball subject faster,” Walsh said. The new premium front at nearby Gate 4 also has been renovated with new flooring and large art work offering Rays gamers being doused with ice after walk-off homers.