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Vegetarian and Vegan Foods at Major League Ballparks

Take me out to the ballgame for peanuts, popcorn, and veggie burgers...

By Davida Gypsy Breier

Judging from the responses I received from many stadium foodservice representatives, it appears that meatless menu alternatives are becoming more and more popular at ballparks across the country. Many stadiums offer foods, such as vegetarian lasagna, specifically aimed at those desiring meatless options. Some even have whole concession stands devoted to health-conscious choices, such as "Healthy Alternatives" at the H.H.H. Metrodome in Minneapolis.

At almost every ballpark vegetarians will find peanuts, popcorn, Cracker Jacks, pretzels, potato chips, ice cream, nachos, cookies, cotton candy, pizza, funnel cakes, and French fries. People may be unaware that many more healthful menu options are also served at the ballparks and we've noted these below. Where it could be determined, the cooking methods and preparation areas have been described.

Concession stands tend to be quite busy during the games. If you aren't certain about the preparation methods, you might want to wait for a slow moment to talk with the foodservice personnel. If the concession stands don't have much to offer, check with the restaurants, suites, and club catering. Usually the same foodservice provider caters to the whole ballpark, but often there are multiple providers with diverse menu options. The catering done for the restaurants, suites, and boxes is frequently more flexible about responding to special meal requests. You might be surprised by the amount of vegetarian foods they offer.

Note: Some of this information was based on 1998 season menus, and there have been changes made after this article went to press concerning some of the 1999 season menu items. Also, you will want to use common sense and double check about certain ballpark foods. For example, dry roasted peanuts are usually vegan, however many flavored peanuts use honey, and even gelatin. Popcorn might be popped in all vegetable oil or it could be cooked in a butter-flavored oil. Breads may contain whey, glycerides, and other animal products. Also, many of the snack foods are made with sugar, a food some vegans avoid. Vegetarians do not eat meat, fish, or fowl. Vegans do not eat meat, fish, fowl, eggs, dairy, or honey.

American League



Edison International Field of Anaheim
Anaheim Angels

At Edison International Field there are ballpark standards such as peanuts, pretzels, popcorn, and Cracker Jacks, all of which are vegan. Also offered are baked potatoes, three bean salad, garden salads, and baked chili beans, all which are vegan. For lacto-ovo vegetarians they have a wide selection including cinnamon rolls, churros, coleslaw, corn cobettes, garlic bread, sundaes, macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes, nachos, peanut butter and jelly, pizza, and potato salad. They offer a veggie foccacia sandwich (vegetarian) consisting of yellow squash, zucchini, roasted red peppers, and red onions marinated in a balsamic and olive oil mixture, then grilled and topped with provolone cheese. Also on the menu is a veggie wrap (vegetarian) made with a picante mix, green leaf lettuce, red onions, tomatoes, cucumber, yellow squash, and green pepper. The French fries and potato wedges are prepared with vegetable oil and are kept separate from other items in the cooking process. There are three new restaurants at the field, "Chili Peppers," Main Street Deli," and "All Star Grill." According to Gardenburger, Inc., Gardenburgers are also served at the field. Levy Restaurants operates the restaurants and suites at this ballpark. (Foodservice Provider: Ogden Entertainment)

Oriole Park at Camden Yards
Baltimore Orioles

While watching the Orioles play, you can snack on peanuts, popcorn, Cracker Jacks, soft pretzels, snowballs, and potato chips. Other menu options at Camden Yards include gourmet pizzas, salads, fresh fruit salads, cheese quesadillas, and yogurt. They also have a nine layer dip made with refried beans, flour tortillas, and avocado that is said to be a favorite of President Clinton's when he visits the ballpark. At The Bullpen they serve veggie burgers, and there are times when a separate cooking area is possible. Past Times Restaurant, located on the first floor of the warehouse, serves pizza and salads. The Diamond features a daily buffet. In the suites they offer a vegetable burrito made with grilled vegetables, baked potatoes, and pasta. If they are notified ahead of time, they can also cater kosher meals. (Foodservice provider: ARAMARK)

Fenway Park
Boston Red Sox

Peanuts, popcorn, Cracker Jacks, and soft pretzels are some of the snack foods offered at Fenway Park. For vegetarians, there are Papa Gino's pizzas and H.P. Hoodwich Ice Cream. Vegans might want to try a baked potato. (Foodservice provider: ARAMARK)

Comiskey Park
Chicago White Sox

The menu selections at Comiskey Park reflect the diversity of the Chicago fans. Vegetarians can choose from salsa nachos, cheese nachos, taco salad (it can be made without meat), and cheese quesadillas. Scott Reifert, Director of Public Relations, said that veggie burgers (made by MorningStar Farms) are sold at several stands and are very popular. They are cooked on the same grill as meat products, but they are happy to pan fry on request. They also sell salads, pizza, cold pasta salads, corn on the cobs, snow cones, funnel cakes, churros, lemon chill, and frozen yogurt. French fries are fried with meat products at two chicken stands but the other stands fry separately. At the Bullpen Sports Bar, there are pasta specials and mozzarella sticks. For kids they have peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, peanuts, popcorn, and French fries. The Stadium Club and Suite Dining, operated by Levy Restaurants, also have vegetarian options based on a set menu. In the past they have served "Roasted Vegetable Medley," "Salsa Sampler" (corn tortillas with four kinds of salsa), fresh fruit and vegetables, "Grilled Vegetable Platter," and several kinds of salads including "Pickled Cucumber and Vidalia Onion Salad" and "Celery Slaw." (Foodservice providers: Sportservice and Levy Restaurants)

Jacobs Field
Cleveland Indians

At Jacobs Field one can snack on tossed salads, French fries, peanuts, pretzels, snow cones, and popcorn. Vegetarians will also find nachos, cheese pizza, ice cream, potato chips, cookies, cinnamon rolls, pierogies, onion rings, and fresh fruit cups. Gardenburgers are also sold, and according to the foodservice personnel, they are cooked separate from meat products. The French fries are pre-treated in soybean oil and are cooked in Heartsmart vegetable oil. At some stands they are cooked along with meat products; however at stands only selling French fries they are cooked alone. (Foodservice provider: Sportservice)

Tiger Stadium
Detroit Tigers

According to the Sportservice General Manager at Tiger Stadium, there is little available for vegetarians other than concession stand snack foods and salads in the Den area. (Foodservice Provider: Sportservice)

Kauffman Stadium
Kansas City Royals

Kauffman Stadium offers standard ballpark fare including cheese nachos, pretzels, peanuts, popcorn, ice cream, cookies, cotton candy, and French Fries. The French fries are fried in vegetable oil, but it is unknown if they are pretreated with animal fat. Jim Cundiff, a general manager for Volume Services, said that the stadium tried selling Gardenburgers in the past, but that sales were low and they discontinued carrying them. (Foodservice Provider: Volume Services)

Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome
Minnesota Twins

Vegetarian offerings at the Metrodome include pizza, nachos, popcorn, peanuts, and cookies. There are several ice cream treats, Frutazza ( a yogurt based smoothie), floats, sundaes, cones, malt cups, and items made by Dove and Haagen Dazs. They also have four different kinds of pretzels: Bavarian, cinnamon, garlic, and plain. There is a concession stand called "Healthy Alternatives." Here one will find the "Original Meatless Garden Burger Patty" served on a wheat bun with garnishes. Meat products are not cooked on the same surface as the Garden Burger at this stand. Vegans can choose from garden salads, vegetables and dip, peanuts, and Thelma's frozen lemonade. The Onion rings and French fries are not fried in the same oil as meat products, nor are they pre-treated with animal fat. (Foodservice Provider: Volume Services)

Yankee Stadium
New York Yankees

According to Gardenburgers, Inc., Yankee Stadium sells Gardenburgers. (Foodservice Provider: Volume Services)

Oakland Alameda County Coliseum
Oakland Athletics

The Oakland ballpark began selling veggie burgers in 1991. The menu selections for vegetarians are very impressive. The list they provided said that the veggie wraps, veggie burgers, red beans and rice, tofu burgers, and combo veggie plates are all vegan. They also serve vegetarian cheesesteaks, pizza, nachos, potato chips, popcorn, waffle fries, garlic fries, seasoned fries, cookies, pretzels, salad, and peanuts. In addition, the Coliseum provides cole slaw, pasta and potato salad for vegetarians. The French fries are fried in 100% vegetable oil, are not pre-treated in any way, and are cooked separate from meat products. They serve Gardenburgers, and they are prepared on the same cooking surface as meat products. They are looking into separate cooking areas for the '99 season. (Foodservice Provider: Odgen Entertainment)

Kingdome / Safeco Field
Seattle Mariners

The Mariners will be moving to a new ballpark this year, Safeco Field. They will still be at the Kingdome until July. At press time the Safeco Field menus weren't finalized, but they had an idea about some of the food they would be serving. As expected popcorn, pretzels, peanuts, cheese pizza, and other snack foods were on the list. Surprisingly however, they will be offering veggie dogs! They are also going to serve grilled panini sandwiches, Gardenburgers, salads, and vegetarian minestrone soup. (Foodservice Providers: Odgen (Kingdome) / Volume Services (Safeco))

Tropicana Field
Tampa Bay Devil Rays

According to Volume Service, Tropicana Field serves corn on the cob, black beans and rice, vegetarian wraps, fruit salad, Gardenburgers, and cheese and vegetarian pizza. Vegetable subs and salads are sold at Blimpies. (Foodservice Provider: Volume Services)

The Ballpark in Arlington
Texas Rangers

At the Ballpark vegans can expect to find baked potatoes, popcorn, dill pickles, cotton candy, soft pretzels, peanuts, potato chips, and lemon chill. For lacto-ovo vegetarians there is cheese pizza, nachos, ice cream, and "The Big Kahuna" (an ice cream sandwich). Also, the fajita salad can be prepared without the cheese or meat. The French fries are fried along with meat products, and it is unknown if they are pre-fried with animal fat. According to Gardenburgers, Inc., Fridays Front Row serves Gardenburgers. (Foodservice Provider: Sportservice)

SkyDome
Toronto Blue Jays

McDonald's provides the food service at the SkyDome. According to Mike McCarthy, the French fries are prepared separately from meat products and with 100% vegetable oils. However, according to research we conducted on fast food restaurants, Canadian McDonald's prepare the fries by parfrying and cooking "in a blend of beef tallow and cottonseed oil." Some of the dishes prepared by the catering department for the suites are based on recipes provided by the Vegetarian Society of the United Kingdom's "Recipes by Courses" website. (Foodservice Provider: McDonald's)

National League


Bank One Ballpark
Arizona Diamondbacks

At the new Bank One Ballpark there are 38 permanent food stands and 210 "point-of-sale" vendors. There is a kids' stand, "The Peanut Gallery," offering candy, peanut butter and jelly, and macaroni and cheese. At the ballpark there is also pizza, yogurt, ice cream, and a farmer's market selling fresh fruit and vegetables. In the lounge areas, you'll find a pasta buffet. (Foodservice Provider: ProDine)

Turner Field
Atlanta Braves

Turner Field offers the standards, peanuts, popcorn, soft pretzels, nachos, and French fries. They also offer more healthful menu options, such as baked tortilla chips, baked potatoes, and tossed salads. Vegetarians might also enjoy yogurt or vegetable quesadillas made with cheese, peppers, and onions. The French fries are generally prepared apart from meat products, but in some concession stands the fries and meat products may be cooked together. There are two restaurants, the 755 Club that has a nightly buffet and The Chop House, an open air restaurant located in right field. In the ARAMARK Luxury Suites, they have many vegetarian and vegan offerings such as spinach and artichoke pizza, crudite and dips, and a hummus platter with fresh tomatoes, black olives, and pita chips. (Foodservice provider: ARAMARK)

Wrigley Field
Chicago Cubs

The Wrigley Field concessions sell Gardenburgers, as well as cheese pizza, donuts, nachos, churros, cheese sticks, and ice cream. Vegans might enjoy bagels, frozen bananas, popcorn, peanuts, potato chips, soft pretzels, and sunflower seeds. (Foodservice provider: Ogden Entertainment)

Cinergy Field
Cincinnati Reds

Despite repeated requests, we were unable to obtain any information regarding the menu items from the Sportservice offices. (Foodservice Provider: Sportservice)

Coors Field
Colorado Rockies

At Coors Field you'll find a "Vegetarian Wrap" made with assorted diced vegetables and Italian dressing, wrapped in a tomato basil tortilla. They also offer a vegetarian sub. Vegans will want to sample from peanuts, popcorn, pretzels, nachos with salsa, and French fries. For vegetarians there are Gardenburgers, Rocky Mountain Caramel Corn, nachos with cheese and salsa, ice cream, pasta, pizza, iced cappuccino, blondies, brownies, cookies, potato salad, and funnel cake. (Foodservice Provider: ARAMARK)

Pro Player Stadium
Florida Marlins

Jim Fisher, General Manager for Fine Host, said that the Stadium opened a health-conscious concession stand, "The Natural," providing Gardenburgers and other vegetarian alternatives. It was operational for two seasons, but closed due to a lack of sales. Levy Restaurants operate the suites and club level at Pro Player Stadium. They serve traditional ballpark snacks, as well as fresh vegetable baskets, fresh fruit trays, salads, vegetable wraps, desserts, and gourmet cheese platters. In addition they serve bruschetta di parma: tomato, basil, and grilled vegetables on crusty peasant bread, which can be made with or without goat cheese. They also provide a pasta bar with several vegan options. They said it is possible to customize menu items "to be vegetarian at the guest's request." (Foodservice Providers: Fine Host and Levy Restaurants)

Astrodome
Houston Astros

While watching the Astros play, vegans can munch on peanuts, popcorn, soft pretzels, baked potatoes, and fresh fruit. Vegetarians might enjoy pizza, funnel cake, and yogurt. (Foodservice Provider: ARAMARK)

Dodger Stadium
Los Angeles Dodgers

It is impressive that Dodger Stadium offers Gardenburgers, vegetarian lasagna, pasta, vegetarian pizza, and a salad bar. Also offered are popcorn, Cracker Jacks, bread-sticks, peanuts, potato chips, soft pretzels, nachos, ice cream, pizza, yogurt, and spicy peanuts. The French fries are fried in vegetable oil apart from any meat products. (Foodservice Provider: ARAMARK)

Milwaukee County Stadium
Milwaukee Brewers

Vegan menu options at the Milwaukee County Stadium include peanuts, popcorn, lemon ice, cotton candy, pickles, French fries, and snow cones. Vegetarians can also select from cookies, brownies, ice cream, Gardetto's snack mix, potato salad, cheese pizza, nachos, coleslaw, smoothies, cinnamon and pecan rolls, cream puffs, malt cups, and Dove bars. According to the Sportservice office manager, stadium catering will honor special menu requests. The stadium catering menu includes veggie burgers, corn on the cob, pasta salad, fresh fruit, and veggies. (Foodservice Provider: Sportservice)

Olympic Stadium
Montreal Expos

Vegetarian fans of the Expos will find peanuts, popcorn, Cracker Jacks, soft pretzels, French fries, chips, and ice cream at Olympic Stadium. They also serve mixed green salads and fruit cups. (Foodservice Provider: ARAMARK)

Shea Stadium
New York Mets

Among the vegetarian choices offered by 45 food stands and 13 vending stations at Shea Stadium are French fries, popcorn, peanuts, Cracker Jacks, soft pretzels, fruit cups, and Carvel low-fat yogurt. Stadium catering for the Diamond Club and Diamond View suites has many more vegan and vegetarian options. These include "Maple Roasted Beet Salad," "Wild Mushroom Salad," "Vegetarian Dim Sum," Vegetable Crudite," and "Cold Sesame Noodles." According to ARAMARK all of those are vegan. (Foodservice Provider: ARAMARK)

Veterans Stadium
Philadelphia Phillies

The concession stands at Veterans Stadiums offer nachos with salsa, French fries, peanuts, popcorn, pretzels, water ice, Cracker Jacks, Arctic Blast (similar to water ice), and funnel cake. The stadium catering has a much more plentiful menu. Items include fresh fruit, cheese, and vegetables platters, a fiesta bowl (black bean and corn tortilla chips with spicy red salsa), roasted peppers and mozzarella on Italian bread, vegetable stromboli, potato skins, pasta, salads, and several desserts. (Foodservice Provider: Ogden Entertainment)

Three Rivers Stadium
Pittsburgh Pirates

Vegetarians can chose from nachos, pan pizzas, and frozen yogurt. For vegans there are peanuts, popcorn, potato chips, and soft pretzels. The Lounge Box Suites offer fresh fruits and vegetables, brushetta, roasted vegetable salad, grilled vegetable panini, and vegetarian strudel (vegetable mousse and risotto Milanese wrapped in phylo dough and roasted red pepper coulis). (Foodservice Provider: ARAMARK)

Busch Stadium
St. Louis Cardinals

Busch Stadium offers nachos, pizza, breadsticks, hand-rolled pretzels, peanuts, popcorn, Crunch and Munch, Cracker Jacks, and several kinds of ice creams. Hot Corner on level 2 offers vegetarian burritos. (Foodservice Provider: Sportservice)

Qualcomm Stadium
San Diego Padres

Despite repeated requests, we were unable to obtain any information regarding the menu items from the Volume Services offices. (Foodservice Provider: Volume Services)

3Com Park at Candlestick Point
San Francisco Giants

At 3Com Park, vegetarians can expect to find Gardenburgers, vegetable burritos, cheese pizza, and three kinds of nachos: Regular, Macho Nachos (refried beans, cheese, and salsa), and Three Cheese Nachos. For vegans, there are French fries, garlic fries, peanuts, popcorn, soft pretzels, and sweet dough pretzels. The French fries are not pre-treated with any type of animal fat, nor are they cooked with any meat products. The vegetable burritos are made with sautéed onion, bell peppers, carrots, and salsa. Because the refried beans are sub-contracted, it is unknown if they are made with lard or vegetable oil. (Foodservice Provider: Volume Services)

It seems that many of the ballparks are receptive to adding new vegetarian foods for the fans. A few of the ballparks complained of low sales, and discontinued selling veggie burgers and other meatless options. If the ballparks you frequent have an ample selection of vegetarian and vegan foods it would be a good idea to let the foodservice management know that you appreciate their efforts. If there is very little in the way of vegetarian and vegan food, you might consider suggesting a few items that everyone would enjoy seeing on the menu.

Finally, if you are interested in non-leather baseball gloves contact:

Heartland Products, Ltd.
PO Box 218, Dakota City, IA 50529; (800) 441-4692
Web site: http://trvnet.net/~hrtlndp/
Everything in the Heartland catalog is non-leather, from baseball gloves to western-style boots and clogs, watch bands and biker jackets.

© 1999 The Vegetarian Resource Group

This article was converted to HTML by Amy Bottrell




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