The 2013 Major League Baseball season kicks off Sunday night right here in Houston with the Astros celebrating(?) their move to the American League against new division rival the Texas Rangers. While a Vegas sportsbook predicts the Astros to be the worst team in baseball this year, no one can predict the future. Even if the team sucks, baseball games are still fun to attend, especially now that the dining options at Minute Maid have been upgraded over the past couple years.
Sure, you could take advantage of the newly revitalized downtown dining scene for food before or after the game, but no ballpark experience is complete without a hot dog and nachos. Here are some suggestions for where to eat this year at Minute Maid.
Minute Maid Park's Five Standouts
Big Daddy Caz: Over the past couple years, Reef chef Brian Caswell has brought Little Big's sliders and El Real's fajitas to the ballpark. This year he expands his presence with a stand that serves $12, half-pound burgers, chili-cheese fries and speciality sausages. It's in the Club Level, so ask your boss for his tickets. [Section 232]
El Real Tex-Mex: One of last year's stand-outs returns with cooked to order beef and chicken fajitas on the first floor. A new location on the club level takes things to the next level with crispy taquitos, fried avocado tacos and frito pie. [Section 132, 215]
Prince's Hamburgers: Prince's is a hamburger institution and they've got an outpost in the stadium with burgers, corn dogs and their signature milkshakes. It's pretty much all the major food groups, right?. [Section 134, 418]
Sheriff Blaylock's Kickin' Nachos: Minute Maid's signature nachos now come in four varieties: Monster Chicken, Beef Fajita, Buffalo Chicken and Chiptole Chicken. Order a couple varieties and share with the people around you. [Section 111]
Green Fork: Although one should generally use a trip to the ballpark as an excuse for gluttony, Green Fork offers an alternative in the form of a build your own salad bar. Lots of greens and toppings and what not. [Section 116]
Astros Sizzling Extreme Grill: Exactly what it sounds like, depending on your definition of "extreme." Chicago, Cincinnati, Coney Island, Georgia (?) and New York style dogs. Or build your own. [Section 125]
Larry's Big Bamboo: Worth it for the name alone, and the slim possibility of running into Astros legend Larry Dierker. The signature wings are among Minute Maid's best bites. [Section 118]
The Five Seven Grille: Named after the jersey numbers of the Astros two best players, Jeff Bagwell and Craig Biggio, this sit down restaurant offers a spot to eat before the game. On the menu, salads, seafood, steaks and desserts. [Section 156]
Sam's Bistro: Carved sandwiches, big salads and, new this year, sushi rolled to order. Boom. [Section: 224]
Blue Bell Ice Cream Parlor: Homemade Vanilla. Cookies N Cream. Done, son. [Section 423]
Maverick Smokehouse: Texas BBQ, well, Texas BBQ made in a stadium kitchen, so don't expect it to rival Gatlin's. Brisket, loaded baked potatoes, chopped beef sandwiches, smoked turkey. [Section 409]
New this year: check in at Minute Maid on Foursquare to get tips from Eater.