The Nationals welcomed media members last week to sample many of the new concessions available at Nationals Park this season, and while the prices of the food items on display weren’t advertised, it was easy to surmise that they wouldn’t come cheap. Fans craving a steak sandwich, lobster roll or chilled peanut salad while taking in a Nationals game in the coming months are in luck, as those nontraditional ballpark items can now all be had, but they’ll cost $18, $17 and $12, respectively.
Following the lead of the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons, who boasted the lowest-priced concession items of any major pro sports team when they opened Mercedes-Benz Stadium in 2017, several other teams have introduced more family-friendly food options in recent years. Last season, the Orioles began offering small, medium and large sizes for soda, beer, french fries and popcorn, and special kids size hot dogs for $1.50. The Kansas City Royals and Minnesota Twins are among the other baseball teams to lower prices for items, including hot dogs ($4), popcorn ($3) and beer ($5), at select concession stands this year.
While the Nationals continue to offer plenty of traditional ballpark fare in the $5 to $10 range, the team has no immediate plans to introduce discounted concessions.
“We’re constantly taking a look at what we’re offering and what we can do better, and what we need to do to make sure we have the best fan experience possible,” Jonathan Stahl, the team’s vice president of ballpark operations and guest experience, said. “I think when you see a lot of these lower-priced items, you’re seeing a lot of smaller items. Some of the items that we’ve introduced this year, while they may be a little higher-priced, they’re a lot bigger, they’re really signature items, and they’re a whole meal in that single item. . . . We continue to look and see: Are there ways to give them that better product, but keep it the cheapest price point possible?”
Unlike the Falcons, who prohibit outside food and beverages at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Nationals fans still have the option of bringing their own food into the ballpark. On game days, Half Street is lined with vendors selling water, peanuts, hot dogs and more at a fraction of the cost of the same or similar items inside the gates.
During Monday’s exhibition game against the Yankees, I took a few laps around all three levels of Nationals Park and tried to note the prices for some of the new food items available this season.
Bao Bao (Section 130)
Two (2) bao, chips and bottled soda $15
Two (2) bao, chips and 25-ounce Bud Light $21
Chicken bao $9
Mushroom bao $9
Pork loin bao $9
Medium Rare (Section 135)
Culotte steak, hand-cut fries and secret sauce on rustic bread $18
Foot-long hot dog $9
Bavarian pretzel $6
Lobster Shack (Section 107)
Lobster roll $17
Lobster blossom (lobster inside a tomato that’s been sliced to resemble a blossom) $17
Fried shrimp $9
Hank’s Oyster Bar (Section 106)
Oyster po’ boy $14
Shrimp po’ boy $16
Fish and chips $16
Fried fish sandwich $16
Fried oysters $17
Fried shrimp $16
Shrimp cocktail $17
Old Bay fries $7
Old Hickory BBQ (Bud Light Loft)
Bone-in short rib $18
Smoked turkey leg $15
Smoked kielbasa $12
Street corn $9
Mac and cheese $8
Watermelon wedge $8
CHIKO (Section 240)
Korean double-fried wings $15
Bulgoagie hoagie (Korean BBQ beef, caramelized onions, kimcheese wiz) $15
Bulgogi tots (Korean BBQ beef, caramelized onions, kimcheese wiz) $13*
Chiko tots (roasted sesame, chili mayo) $12
Chilled peanut noodle salad (Asian pear, scallion, cilantro) $12
*The menu said $15, but I was charged $13. When I pointed this out to the woman at the register, she told me it was $13. I’m not sure what bulgogi tots will be going for on Opening Day.
La Casita Pupuseria (Section 141)
Two (2) cheese pupusas $9
Two (2) pork and cheese pupusas $9
Two (2) bean and cheese pupusas $9
Two (2) Salvadoran enchiladas $9
Taco Caminado (Section 233)
Walking taco $9
• See You Tater, which debuted in 2017, has relocated from Section 106 to Section 116 to make room for the new Caviar stand. (That’s Caviar as in the delivery app, which will enable fans to place orders for pickup ahead of time to skip the line, not caviar as in the salt-cured fish eggs that Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin enjoys eating out of the Stanley Cup.) Caviar will offer food from a different restaurant every month, starting with Tiger Fork.
• I didn’t see the D.C. Empanadas stand, which will reportedly offer buffalo chicken and spinach and feta options by Section 244. I also didn’t notice the new bar that will serve oysters on the half shell from Harris Creek Oyster Co. and Rappahannock Oyster Co. beneath the main scoreboard.
• Beer prices looked to be the same as last year, ranging from $5 for the pregame happy hour special at the Scoreboard Pavilion to $16 for a 24-ounce draft or 25-ounce premium can.
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