Those heading to Minute Maid Park this 2014 Major League Baseball season will want to arrive hungry. Some big-name talent is gearing up to offer sought-after barbecue, and some new places are serving gourmet takes on baseball game food staples. Since every good game should always come with the option of a traditional hot dog, loaded nachos and a tub of soda, there are still plenty of old-school ballpark stands from which to choose. Except that now those items are going to be higher quality, since Nolan Ryan recently signed on as the team's exec adviser and is bringing in his brand of meats. As Aramark Resident District Manager at Minute Maid Park Mat Drain said in a statement, "We've been hard at work during the offseason and are excited to unveil the new concession improvements to Astros fans."
Let's hope our home team lives up to the food at the ballpark this season. As always, send any tips or suggestions via the tipline here.
Minute Maid Park's New Standouts
Texas Smoke: Long-time Astros supporter Bryan Caswell is teaming up with smoked meats guru Ronnie Killen to offer baseball fans some of the highly coveted brisket that sells out daily at Killen's newly opened Pearland restaurant. Killen will be sending over warm brisket before each game rather than reheating it on the spot. Loaded baked potatoes and the traditional 'cue sides will also be available. This stand will offer locals a preview of the food that will be served at Killen and Caswell's upcoming establishment Montrose Meat Co. [Section 124]
Street Eats: This is a new concept where food truck fare—casual but creative bites—will be served at a permanent stand. Menu highlights include the "Texas Hold'em" made with barbecue chicken and cheddar cheese on Texas toast and the pulled pork tacos served in corn tortillas with cabbage slaw. [Section 126]
Texas Legends Grill: This spot will serve Nolan Ryan Beef burgers, a new standard at the ballpark; some options include bacon burgers and mushroom Swiss burgers. The New York Strip Steak Sandwich is topped with horseradish sauce-infused white cheese and fried onions. [Section 134]
H Town Grille: All of the standard ballpark dining options are here, including Nolan Ryan Beef burgers, grilled chicken sandwiches, fries and hot dogs. They also offer veggie dogs and bottomless popcorn. [Sections 109, 125]
Home + Away Ballpark Classics: It's just what the name implies, all of the traditional ballpark food favorites. It's a good bet for those who just want a chili cheese dog or a Bavarian pretzel with a soda instead of a gourmet take on those items. [Sections 113, 129, 156]
Casa Nacho: This nacho hub will feature almost any topping you could want on your fried tortilla chips. The popular Monster Chicken Nachos and some other, less traditional options will be available. [Section 111]
Stockyard Bar: Here's your destination for a cold St. Arnold Amber or a Goose Island along with a limited selection of wine. [Section 156]
Corona Cantina: All of the newly available Corona will be on draft, including other bottled beer and as well as a limited selection of wine. [Section 119]
Sam's Bistro: Head here for sandwiches, big salads and loaded potatoes. [Section: 224]
Blue Bell Ice Cream Parlor: Homemade Vanilla and other Blue Bell favorites are on the menu. It's a necessary option when three-digit temps hit. [Section 423]
Extreme Dog: Those stuck in an ordinary hot dog rut can head here for different, "extreme" takes on the ballpark classic. [Sections 423 to 438]