Take me out to the ballgame, take me out to the crowd, buy me some peanuts and . . . oysters?!
Baseball fans finally can get their bivalve fix at not one but two new Nationals Park concession stands with oysters on the menu this season. Hank’s Oyster Bar will serve oyster and shrimp Po’ Boys, fish and chips, fish sandwiches and Old Bay fries near Section 108, while Harris Creek Oyster Co. and Rappahannock Oyster Co. will offer oysters on the half shell at a new stand beneath the center field scoreboard. For those interested in a different taste of the sea, a Lobster Shack serving lobster rolls is opening by Section 105.
There are plenty of non-seafood options among the new concession offerings at the ballpark this year, which were introduced during a tour for media members Thursday. Medium Rare, which has four locations in the D.C. area, will offer a steak sandwich stuffed with fries and the restaurant’s signature sauce near Section 136. Bao Bao near Section 116 will feature several house-steamed buns, including Ssamjang mushroom, hoisin pork and char sui chicken.
One of the best additions to the ballpark, in this amateur food critic’s opinion, is the CHIKO stand by Section 238. Founded by chefs Danny Lee and Scott Drewno and with locations in Dupont Circle, Capitol Hill and Capital One Arena, CHIKO blends traditional Chinese and Korean flavors. The restaurant’s ballpark menu includes a bulgogi hoagie (beef, caramelized onions and “kimcheese wiz” on a soft roll), Korean fried chicken wings and Furikake tots.
La Casita Pupuseria, which was introduced at Nationals Park toward the end of last season, returns by Section 140. The Salvadoran stand will offer pollo con queso, revuelta con queso and frijol con queso pupusas. Other new concessions for 2019 include the D.C. Empanadas stand (Section 244), which will feature buffalo chicken and spinach and feta empanadas, and Taco Caminando (Section 233), which will offer a “walking taco” — corn chips, chili, cheese, tomatoes, jalapeños, sour cream and hot sauce in a bowl. Cantina 202 in Sections 129, 216 and 314 will serve nachos and soft shell tacos. Old Hickory Barbecue, located near the Bud Light Loft, will feature bone-in short rib and Mexican grilled corn.
The Nationals also have partnered with food delivery service Caviar, which will open its first in-stadium concession stand by Section 106. The stand will feature items from a different restaurant every month and fans will be able to order ahead for pickup using the free Caviar app. Tiger Fork, Mason Dixie, Duke’s Grocery and Toki Underground are among the restaurants that will be featured in the space.
In more traditional ballpark fare news, Hebrew National replaces Nathan’s as the exclusive hot dog supplier at Nationals Park. “Taste of the Majors” stands throughout the stadium will offer a rotating selection of specialty hot dogs, including New York pastrami and Philly cheesesteak, depending on the Nationals' opponent.
Not much has changed this season with respect to beer. The pregame happy hour special at the Budweiser Terrace is back, with 16-ounce Bud and Bud Lights available from the time the gates open until 30 minutes before the first pitch. The District Drafts program will offer a rotating selection of beers from D.C. Brau, 3 Stars, Atlas, Port City, Old Ox, Fair Winds, Right Proper, Hellbender and, new for this season, Denizens. Beer prices again will be as high as $16 for a 24-ounce draft or 25-ounce premium can. Anheuser-Busch remains the Nationals’ primary beer partner, though eight Miller Lite taps will be available throughout the ballpark.
Fans in the mood for something a little sweeter will be happy to know that District Coolers returns by Section 108. The popular stand, which debuted last year, will offer a rotating selection of alcoholic juice pouches, including electric lemonade, grapefruit tequila paloma and summer sangria. Other gluten-free and gluten-reduced alcoholic beverage options include Omission (lager and IPA) and Redbridge. Bon & Viv spiked seltzer also will be available, along with a new gluten-free Hibiscus lemonade from Devils Backbone.
In accordance with D.C. law, plastic straws no longer will be available at Nationals Park. Souvenir cups will be outfitted with a specially designed lid that does not require a straw to drink through, while paper straws will be available at select stands, including District Coolers. All disposable foodware items, including plates, cups, cutlery and trays, will be compostable or recyclable this season. To further reduce their carbon footprint, the Nationals installed 4,080 solar panels above the two parking garages beyond center field during the offseason.
While the Nationals continue to take steps to make their LEED-certified ballpark even more green, hawkers throughout the stadium will accept plastic for the first time this season. About half of the vendors who roam the aisles on every level will carry a Square Terminal, which will enable fans to purchase food and beverages with a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay.
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