Dear Mr. Johnson (and other wealthy people who now own the Dodgers),
Eating at Dodger Stadium was once a treat. Going to stadium in the late 80′s and 90′s as a kid, we were delighted with delicious Dodger Dogs and a bag of perfectly roasted peanuts. Then we’d finish off the warm summer evening with a Carnation Chocolate Malt or two. As a food lover maybe my tastes have evolved over the years but no pun intended, let’s be frank, the food at Dodger Stadium flat out stinks nowadays.
Efforts have been made in the past to bring more local flavor to Dodger Stadium food. It’s all been short lived. King Taco had a stint and was replaced with Camacho’s, institutionalized Mexican food at its worst. Canter’s was DOA as it too suffered from corporate food punishment and was no where near the authentic experience of eating at the Fairfax Avenue deli. I never tried it, but I think CPK was there and gone just as fast. Last year saw the introduction of the Victory Knot pretzel, a mimicked item from other stadiums. If you were lucky enough to get to the field level you could consume a two pound doughy pretzel with three dipping sauces. Hardly anything to get excited about. Although people did, there wasn’t much else to celebrate last year.
Don’t get me started on the once beloved Dodger Dog. They ain’t what they used to be. The last few I’ve had at the game were broken or limp, halfway grilled, sitting in a steamer for hours, with stale and soggy buns. Not even the most prolific LA Times food writer could twist words and make it seem somewhat edible. How difficult is it to grill dogs to order, pull out a fresh steamed bun, slap in a grilled foot long, and serve it up? I’ve been to other stadiums that seem to manage this process just fine without enduring terribly long lines.
Where’s the el-lay soul in Dodger Stadium food? Other stadiums do it right. You can get a burger from Shake Shack at Citi Field, Camden Yard has Boog’s Barbecue, Philly fans can get a roast pork–provolone–broccoli rabe sandwich from South Philly original Tony Luke’s. What do we have to look forward to? Let’s take a look at some of our options… A cheese burger from Carl’s Jr that has been sitting under a heat lamp for two hours, fried rice from a cartoon Panda, a lifeless South Street cheese steak (ummm, a Phillie sandwich?!), and just about the worst burrito I’ve ever had in my entire life at Camacho’s.
LA fans should be outraged in a town that has some of the best ethnic food served up on nearby street corners. Levy Restaurant group seems content to serve up mediocre food at outrageous prices. There will be purists that disagree with me. Fans that think going to Dodger Stadium isn’t about the food, we’re old school, classic. All we need is a hot dog and some peanuts. But if we don’t keep up with what other ball clubs are doing, Dodger stadium will become just that, a relic.
Imagine an open air dining pavilion beyond the outfield featuring some of our cities favorite eateries. People would get to the game early, converge at community tables with big screens for watching various MLB games, enjoying shakes from Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlor or a brew from the Golden Road Beer Garden. Now your choice for LA’s favorite ball park food includes King Taco, Umami Burger, Pinks, Versailles, In-n-Out, and even TGI Fridays thrown in for spicy wings and loaded potato skins. FYI Magic, if you need a Dodger Food Czar, you know who to come to.
Little do people know, they can bring whatever food they want with them into the stadium. This from the Dodger web site: “Food is permitted from outside the stadium provided it is not in bottles, cans, coolers or thermoses. Unbroken, factory sealed plastic bottles of water and other non-alcoholic beverages of 1 liter or less are permitted.”
I call out to all Dodger fans who yearn for a better food experience at the stadium! Instead of succumbing to overpriced slop, grab sandwiches for a day game from Eastside Market or Bay Cities, a carnitas burrito from King Taco, Cachetadas and Vampiros from Mexicali Taco & Co, chili dogs from Tommy’s, or a cheese and charcuterie plate from Whole Foods.
Imagine all the money you will save to spend on those $12 beers.