Here's the good news: The ballpark dogs are pretty good.
Here's even better news: There's a Foggy Bottom "brewpub" right behind home plate.
The Foggy Bottom Bohemian Pilsner is a special brew honoring the Nationals at RFK.
(Olde Heurich Brewing Company)
When the gates of RFK Stadium open for the Nationals' home opener Thursday, there will be more than 50 vendors, a pre-paid buffet area and seats with complimentary wait service called the Diamond Box and a half-dozen full bars as well as beer stands serving up the usual fare -- chicken tenders, pizza by the slice, nachos, fries and the classic 3P's (peanuts, popcorn and pretzels), plus hot dogs, Italian sausage and chorizo. Crab cakes will initially be available only in the private boxes and the Diamond seating area, but they may eventually turn up at the carryout stands. Possible future additions include barbecue, burritos and perhaps even Zweigle's "white hot," an all-pork, slightly spicy and smooth-textured hot dog that has been neither smoked nor cured (and, according to tradition, is served under chili).
Actually, to be honest, I haven't tasted the plain hot dogs at RFK Stadium, but in the interests of the chewing public, I have been into the Italian sausage (mildly spicy) and the (moderately spicy) chorizo. The Italian is a little larger and moister; but topped with grilled onions and sweet peppers, the chorizo is a handful, and a satisfyingly messy one at that. (At $5.75, it should be.)
On the lower concourse, construction is nearing completion on the Foggy Bottom bar, which will feature murals, vintage photos, a uniformed Nats mannequin and a continually refreshed "ice sculpture" (really a sort of frozen-over iron frame) of the Washington Monument. Washington brewing scion Gary Heurich is brewing a special beer in the Nationals' honor, a Bohemian Pilsner, which will be available on draught. The concept is that it would only be brewed from April through October, but if it turns into a local favorite, it might wind up as a regular part of the Olde Heurich lineup.
The Diamond Box is a restaurant behind the home plate box seats, and the $90 ticket buys you buffet service (a more sizable assortment of hot and cold fare, crudites, cookies, etc., courtesy of chef Laurence Cohen) 90 minutes before the game and 30 minutes into it, then beverage service afterward.
Though not every menu item will be available in the first weeks, Aramark on-site manager Robert Sunday says he expects everything to have been phased in by the all-star break in mid-July.
For the record: You may not bring any food or beverages into the ballpark, and only medium-size (16 by 16 by 8 inches) bags or backpacks. You also may not bring in weapons or controlled substances; large banners or any sort of pole or staff; professional cameras (with detachable lenses), tripods or video cameras; or laser pointers, whistles, fireworks or confetti. Only service animals are allowed.
-- Eve Zibart