Cover Story: Everyone Loves a Wiener

The last year at Cinergy Field offers new grub options

 
Jymi Bolden


At a recent Reds game, Mike Felts answers the call, "hey, man, can you get me something while you're up?"



f you've been down to see the Reds play in this, the final season of hallowed Cinergy Field/Riverfront Stadium, you've likely noticed that the food and beverages taste a little better. Is it some kind of special ingredient? Maybe more care in cooking those hot dogs?

Nah. Everything's a little better at Cinergy this year so far. Winning does that. Even the construction of the new Great American Ball Park is looking sorta, well, pretty.

Everyone loves a wiener, er, winner.

The smell of ballpark grub is one of the essential elements of the baseball experience. The taste is another thing altogether.

Ballpark food isn't exactly a culinary delight. It's usually more of an unhealthy sidetrack or something to absorb Budweiser. As a loyal fan, I've often dined at Cinergy Field out of necessity. And paid for it later that night (if you know what I mean).

Like other baseball parks around the country, Cinergy offers a healthy sampling of the local cuisine. Of course, being in Cincinnati, that means chili. For the past few years, Gold Star chili was served, leading to a line of annoying taste-test television commercials shot at the park. According to the ad, most people preferred the taste of Gold Star to Skyline, the predominant chain here.

Assuming the taste tests were accurate, it seems public opinion could keep Barry Larkin in a Reds uniform for the rest of his career but couldn't keep Gold Star as the team's official chili. For the first time, Skyline is now served at Cinergy, mainly in coney and nacho form. Personally, I can't tell the difference (though I know I'm largely alone in that feeling).

The hot dog is the cornerstone of baseball edibles, and it's fitting that Cinergy offers a cornucopia of wieners, given Cincy's "Porkopolis" — read: pig slaughterhouse capital of the world — heritage. Dogs are available at every concession stand in the park, but the best are the freshly grilled ones on the green level. You can choose from a variety of brats, sausages and mets ("The Big Klu," etc.) of varying sizes, as well as toppings like grilled onions and peppers and sauerkraut (another nod to Cincy tradition).

The other new addition to Reds concessions this year is the veggie dog. For the sake of journalism — and the life of a precious pig — I've tried the non-meat entrée. Unless it's in your diet or you're prone to rubbery, flavorless poles of, uh, something, I suggest that it's best avoided. If you must, lather it up with 'kraut, peppers and onions and you'll be alright. Until later that night.

Along with dry pizza and burgers, your other hot food option at Cinergy is the chicken wrap. While this is your best bet for actual vegetables at the stadium, you might want to bring a bib along. The personnel haven't quite figured out the art of a tight wrap, so juices, chicken bit and veggies end up flying everywhere.

When Great American opens next year, expect more of the same, with the emphasis on more. The Reds are promising more menu items, but the real news is that there will be more places to buy them — one concession stand for every 180 fans, compared to the current one for every 300. That means no more missing an entire inning just to grab a bag of Cracker Jacks.

Now if they'd only bring back the Hudy.

For Cincinnati Reds tickets, call 513-381-REDS or check out

 
Jymi Bolden


At a recent Reds game, Mike Felts answers the call, "hey, man, can you get me something while you're up?"



f you've been down to see the Reds play in this, the final season of hallowed Cinergy Field/Riverfront Stadium, you've likely noticed that the food and beverages taste a little better. Is it some kind of special ingredient? Maybe more care in cooking those hot dogs?

Nah. Everything's a little better at Cinergy this year so far. Winning does that. Even the construction of the new Great American Ball Park is looking sorta, well, pretty.

Everyone loves a wiener, er, winner.

The smell of ballpark grub is one of the essential elements of the baseball experience. The taste is another thing altogether.

Ballpark food isn't exactly a culinary delight. It's usually more of an unhealthy sidetrack or something to absorb Budweiser. As a loyal fan, I've often dined at Cinergy Field out of necessity. And paid for it later that night (if you know what I mean).

Like other baseball parks around the country, Cinergy offers a healthy sampling of the local cuisine. Of course, being in Cincinnati, that means chili. For the past few years, Gold Star chili was served, leading to a line of annoying taste-test television commercials shot at the park. According to the ad, most people preferred the taste of Gold Star to Skyline, the predominant chain here.

Assuming the taste tests were accurate, it seems public opinion could keep Barry Larkin in a Reds uniform for the rest of his career but couldn't keep Gold Star as the team's official chili. For the first time, Skyline is now served at Cinergy, mainly in coney and nacho form. Personally, I can't tell the difference (though I know I'm largely alone in that feeling).

The hot dog is the cornerstone of baseball edibles, and it's fitting that Cinergy offers a cornucopia of wieners, given Cincy's "Porkopolis" — read: pig slaughterhouse capital of the world — heritage. Dogs are available at every concession stand in the park, but the best are the freshly grilled ones on the green level. You can choose from a variety of brats, sausages and mets ("The Big Klu," etc.) of varying sizes, as well as toppings like grilled onions and peppers and sauerkraut (another nod to Cincy tradition).

The other new addition to Reds concessions this year is the veggie dog. For the sake of journalism — and the life of a precious pig — I've tried the non-meat entrée. Unless it's in your diet or you're prone to rubbery, flavorless poles of, uh, something, I suggest that it's best avoided. If you must, lather it up with 'kraut, peppers and onions and you'll be alright. Until later that night.

Along with dry pizza and burgers, your other hot food option at Cinergy is the chicken wrap. While this is your best bet for actual vegetables at the stadium, you might want to bring a bib along. The personnel haven't quite figured out the art of a tight wrap, so juices, chicken bit and veggies end up flying everywhere.

When Great American opens next year, expect more of the same, with the emphasis on more. The Reds are promising more menu items, but the real news is that there will be more places to buy them — one concession stand for every 180 fans, compared to the current one for every 300. That means no more missing an entire inning just to grab a bag of Cracker Jacks.

Now if they'd only bring back the Hudy.

For Cincinnati Reds tickets, call 513-381-REDS or check out www.cincinnatireds.com.

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