Locavore’s Guide to the Ballpark

Baseball season is in full swing (see what I did there?). If you haven’t made your way to Progressive Field this year, you really should. And if you are like me, you can make a baseball game a nine inning feast.

Tried and true locavores can eat their way through the seventh inning stretch enjoying an increasing variety of local fare. It’s easy to spot the Great Lakes Brewing Company beer, but did you know that your sandwich bun was probably from Schwebel’s or Mazzone & Sons, or that decadent dessert you’re enjoying in one of the suites came from a local bakery?

DSC_0881Chris Angne is the general manager for Delaware North, the food service provider at Progressive Field. Chris and his team are responsible for keeping fans happy and full. He knows that Indians fans possess unparalleled hometown pride, and he’s worked to bring in an increasing number of local joints.

“We are looking for those items that resonate with Cleveland fans. They can be unique twists on the classics, local favorites, or an over-the-top item that has the wow factor.”

In addition to traditional top picks like Sugardale hot dogs, smothered in Bertman’s Ballpark Mustard of course, or Peterson’s fresh roasted peanuts, you can chow down on Melt’s massive sandwiches, Barrio’s build-your-own tacos, and Chef Zack Bruell’s Dynomite burgers (on Pincus Bakery buns) while you root for the home team.

“We’re following trend by offering fresh and local ingredients and also creating venues where cooking occurs right in front of the guest, made to order,” Angne said.

DSC_0741A walk through the newly renovated Right Field District (sections 109-114) is a homerun for the senses. Sizzling sausages and pork BBQ, cooked to order, are hard to pass by. So is Sweet Moses, where they’re piling toppings on a signature ice cream sundae, topped with Spanish peanuts from Hilson Nut Company.

DSC_0853Keep walking, you’ll eventually end up at the new Corner Bar (Sections 114-119), offering outdoor seating, a fire pit, and great views that will rival your favorite neighborhood haunt. My favorite feature—the huge selection of local beers you can pour yourself from the Hometown Brews beer wall! Angne shared that much of the wood used in this space was salvage from the demolished Columbus Road Bridge.

If a salty hot pretzel is what you crave, you’ll find them in section 107, made by Zoss, The Swiss Baker, an east side fixture for more than 20 years. Shearer’s potato chips and nachos are served throughout the venue. (Shearers’s snacks was based exclusively in Ohio until 2007).

Hometown Sausages (Sections 107 and 171) serve up colossal, locally made grilled sausage sandwiches from Lou’s Sausage and Pinzone’s Market Fresh Meats. You can also grab a Dortmunder Beer Brat from J&J Czuchraj.

DSC_0820If you’re lucky enough to sit in the suites, you get a visit from a most dreamy dessert cart, piled high with cheesecakes from Slices Fabulous Pastries, tarts and cakes from Seballos, Mazzone and Sons cannoli, and ice cream from Mitchell’s Homemade.

Pierre’s Ice Cream is the official ice cream of the Cleveland Indians, and is available all over the park, and is used in Dynomite’s signature milkshakes.

When pressed, Angne admitted his favorite ballpark treat is cotton candy, and he quickly added that a freshly grilled Italian sausage works too.

Lisa SandsIMG_1762

I can personally attest to the deliciousness of the Melt pulled pork sandwich.