Gourmet salad, corned beef and hot dogs join stadium menuWritten by Brandi Barhite | Associate Editor | firstname.lastname@example.org
Some of the newest food to premiere at the Mud Hens on opening day will appeal to the fancier side of fans.
But behind the new gourmet spinach salad with goat cheese croutons and the thinly sliced corned beef sandwich is the old stadium standby: the hot dog … with a twist.
New this season is the Stadium Salsa Dog, a hot dog in a yellow coney bun topped with Stadium Salsa Relish.
Also new is the Tank’s Meats Jalapeno Cheddar Bratwurst, a brat filled with jalapenos and cheese.
“We always try to introduce something new each year,” said Craig Nelson, general manager of food and beverage for the Toledo Mud Hens.
The more posh items of this season include a gourmet spinach salad. The baby spinach leaves are tossed with bacon, mandarin oranges, onions, candied walnuts and honey mustard vinaigrette topped with goat cheese croutons.
Nelson said what other ballparks serve, as well as regional preferences, help determine the menu. Fried bologna is popular in Ohio, and is served to guests at Cincinnati Reds games.
The new Tank’s Meats Fried German Bologna Sandwich will debut at Fifth Third this season.
The bologna is sliced thick and topped with grilled onions and cheddar cheese on a Kaiser roll.
The cod sandwich is being dropped from the Mud Hens menu. Nelson said it didn’t sell well.
To make up for the lost sandwich are Kosher-style corned beef sandwiches, which come with cole slaw, sliced pickles, Russian dressing and spicy mustard.
To go with the sandwiches are new flavors of Ballreich’s potato chips: sour cream and onion and smokey sweet mesquite.
The sweeter side of the new menu items are new flavors offered by Toft’s. The black sweet cherry is a swirl of dark cherries in black cherry ice cream. The other new flavor is the Triple Play, which is chocolate-coated salted pretzels and caramel popcorn swirls in vanilla malt ice cream.
The dessert menu also includes the new M&M and IttiBitz ice cream bars.
When people come to a ballgame, they aren’t usually looking for healthy foods, according to Nelson and Scott Fuernstein, catering director and executive chef. They want classic food and comfort food, they said.
On the rare occasion, when the there’s a request for healthier food, the park tries to meet the need, Fuernstein said.
If a parent asks for consideration because of a child’s allergy, “we try to accommodate,” Nelson said.
Part of the philosophy of Mud Hens food is buying locally, according to Nelson.
Nelson works for Gladieux Enterprises, the official concessionaire and caterer for the Toledo Mud Hens.
Gladieux strives to provide a taste of Northwest Ohio when it comes to food at the stadium, Nelson said. For instance, the ice cream is from Toft’s Dairy in Sandusky; there’s poultry from Root’s Poultry in Fremont and meat from Tank’s in Elmore.
The one obvious company missing from the rundown is Tony Packo’s and its famous hot dogs and sauce. Nelson said Gladieux and Packo’s have talked.
“The best way I can answer that is we have a restaurant right across the street from the stadium,” said Tony Packo, one of the owners. “We would be glad to see you before or after.”
Toft’s secretary and treasurer is glad to be a part of the mix.
“Our family is really big into baseball. My son plays at Bowling Green. The last 11 years, I have spent my summers in hotels going to baseball games,” Chuck Meisler said.
The Triple Play ice cream was named a “baseball name” because Toft’s wanted the Mud Hens to offer it, he said.
“The baseball field is my second home,” Meisler said. “The Mud Hens make us feel really good, and the Gladieux people who run it for them have been a big part of the success.”
New Fifth Third Field menu items for 2008
- Stadium Salsa Dog: $4.25
- Jalapeño Cheddar Bratwurst: $4
- Fried German Bologna Sandwich: $5
- Ballreich’s Potato Chips, new flavors, sour cream and onion, smoky sweet
- Toft’s Dairy Ice Cream, new flavors: black cherry and triple play: $3
- IttiBitz: $4
- M&M Ice Cream Bar: $3