Friday, September 07, 2007


Being Served A Cold Beer, Warm Hot Dog and not having to wait in line two full innings to get it--will make me happy. With the naming of Centerplate as the Concessionaire at New Nationals Park, there is the unique opportunity to completely overhaul the entire concept from start to finish on Food Offerings, Staffing & Management for home games of Our Washington Nationals.

Conceptualization that Centerplate has a reputation for directing. From personal experience, This South Carolina Based Company's handling of Food Services at AT&T Park in San Francisco is nothing short of outstanding. Quality choices--unique to The Bay Area. Sure, if you want the basic Beer & Hot Dog--so be up. Its there. But, you can't beat the quality offerings--Latino, Chinese, Italian or Asian also on the menu. Most importantly--all from local vendors--native to San Francisco.

Any InGame experience at The San Francisco Giants Home Park is a mini-tour of one of America's Greatest Cities--all rolled up in one. Really, its hard to beat this fabulous park.

An effort, I fully expect to realize from Centerplate's work at New Nationals Park. From over 130 Venues across America--this company claims it approaches the food service industry at its venues in a different light. Centerplate has their own Executive Chefs--their own Personal Recipes--and the Reputation to always invite Local Representative Vendors into their Stadiums and Arena (Centerplate also has the contract for Fed Ex Field and The DC Convention Center--but I have never used their services there before--so I can't comment on that aspect).

A Game Plan that any fan following Our Washington Nationals has to be excited about.

How many times have you heard someone say about Concessions at Nationals Games: Why does Aramark run out of food? How come they can't provide anything of quality? Where's Ben's Chili Bowl; Burrito Brothers; Hard Times Cafe, or Ledo Pizza? Among others. Can we get some healthy offerings? Better quality foods? Where are all the Micro Brews well established in the DC Area? Can we get some SERVICE EMPLOYEES that seem to care? Concerns that are well beyond the antiquated state of RFK Stadium.

Certainly--those are just a few of the worries.

But, make no mistake about it--As Our Washington Nationals jump from RFK Stadium to New Nationals Park, that move best come with a supreme makeover of The Concessions. While The Expectations of potential success are rising on the field of play, the Optimism for the quality food and services provided for patrons best be READY & ENABLED COME OPENING DAY--2008.

As you can imagine, I have been looking into the entire makeover. Bob Pascal, The Vice President of Marketing for Centerplate has been kind enough to answer a great many questions that I know Fans of Our Washington Nationals are concerned about. In the process-my hope is that a dialog can develop among Our Washington Nationals, Centerplate and Our Fans.

Once I transcribe the interview--it will post up on The Nats320 Blog. But, if you have ideas about what you wish to see on food and drink offerings at New Nationals Park--I encourage you to leave your remarks in the comment area here. Personally, I will attempt forwarding them along to Centerplate Management and hopefully get some answers.

There is no time, better than the present--to let your voice be heard--on what you want to eat and drink on South Capitol Street.

The Interview coming this weekend.


From the yellow seats said...

I was in San Francisco for the 1st Nats-Giants game in SF this year (actually, sitting in the exact place Bond's HR wound up the following night - Nook Logan was nice enough to toss me a ball as I was the only Nats Jersey in the place) and I noticed 2 things. First, they did not have anyone coming around selling beer. Was this just because I was in the bleachers? Some regular Giants fans said that they only sell beer in the prime seats directly behind home plate. Hopefully the new Nationals Park will have the same number of beer vendors walking around the stands as they have now at RFK. The second issue was that when we went into the concourses to buy food and drinks, the lines were long. It was a sold out game of course, but I had to watch a half inning on the TV next to the line (no views onto the field from those concessions). Those were my only issues. The choices in food and drinks were good, and I suppose the $8.50 for a 20oz. Budweiser is just par for the course.

SBF-Quick question. The photo you took from the upper deck right field seats (and compared to the RFK seats) - could you see the capitol dome from those seats? Were those seats all the way on the end (towards the HDTV Scoreboard)? How far around on the upper deck can you see the dome?

Toad Slime said...

Crab Cakes and Burritos. The crab cakes at RKF are one of the better offerings, but the Flying Burrito Brothers offerings have been made miserable by Aramark. Burritos are young people food and can be made to appeal to a large segment of the population. The Jake has good burritos. This is the best news of the year. Ryan Zimmerman, Centerplate, it's heaven.

Screech's Best Friend said...

from the yellow seats: Yes, you can see the Capitol Dome from the right field Upper Deck. The Dome is over the left field wall of the Stadium. Those seats are in line with the HDTV scoreboard. You will be able to see that screen from those seats--but its a severe angle--almost sideways. Yes, you can also see the Dome from most everywhere in the Upper Deck heading around to about third base. Currently, the only thing blocking the Capitol View is The Lerner's New Bldg at 20M Street, SW. That sightline will obviously change as development continues around the park. AT&T Park does not sell beer in the stands in the basic seats. Its how they control consumption--apparently. At least, that's what my good friend in SF tells me.

from the yellow seats said...

Thanks SBF - Putting in my deposit today!

SenatorNat said...

I had suggested to Bill Hall when this whole ballball business was a gleam in his eye that should we garner a team, and it get a new D.C. stadium to play in, that we copy (steal) Boog's Barbeque concept but adapt it to Washington, accordingly: "Hondo's Hots" - fresh aroma of Frank Howard's hots being grilled in or just outside the stadium. The Gentle Giant; Washington Monument; and of course the vealwurst would be called The White Seat Homer being a few of the names for the various grilled meat entrees.

Feel free to mention the notion to Centerplate in your continuing dialogue, SBF.

Trust in Kasten. All Good.

Davidson said...

Ledo Pizza is all I need.

Abby's Mom said...

How about 5 Guys? Best burgers in town!

And how about a Jr. Nats Meal? It would be nice to have a kids meal with chicken nuggets/hot dog/peanut butter& jelly sandwich/mini pizza with fries/chips/apple slicesgrapes and juice box/milk for under $10 to make the kids happy. Would make for a more family friendly outing.

Anonymous said...

Five Guys
Hard Times
Bens Chili Bowl
Julias Empanadas
Rocklands BBQ (better than RH&B IMO)
Moby Dick Kabobs
Armands Pizza (or Italian Store)
Maybe a Cap City Brewery?

more as I think of 'em...


sid bluntley said...

Five Guys!!!!!!
Pollo Rico
White Castle (an excuse to finally bring them to DC)
Ben's Chili Bowl

An Briosca Mor said...

Putting a Five Guys in the new park would be nice. But putting a Good Guys in there would be even better. We could use it as a selling point in trying to attract ARod to come to the Nats, or if he signs with another team it would serve to distract him whenever they come to town.

All joking aside, I would love to have a Five Guys to be able to get some decent fries in the park instead of the soggy limp ones that are everywhere in RFK.

One other thing, seemingly minor, that I have never been able to find in RFK: a cup of coffee. Would be nice to have at those cold spring games, or the noon starts like the 4th of July. Charlie Slowes even had to beg over the air for coffee one night when he showed up without having stopped for a cup on his way to the park, and then couldn't find one anywhere in RFK. So add Starbucks or Caribou or Mayorga to your list, please!

JuliaLB said...

Julia's Empanadas, muy bien.

Natsphan1 said...

Thanks SBF-here what i would love to see in the new park. In fact, having these places represented in new Nats Park would make me giddy...

-Five Guys, Hard Times and Ben's Chili Bowl-it doesn't get any more "DC area standard foodstuff" than these three.

-Chipotle or Baja Fresh-someplace that sells a decent chicken burrito.

-Red Hot & Blue or Rocklands BBQ

-Boardwalk Fries

-Whitlows, the Arlington institution. My girlfriend said they should have a Whitlows stand at the park and i was like, "GREAT IDEA!!"

Section 5-something said...

I think everyone can agree with me on two things: Kettle Corn and Helmet Sundaes. Kettle Corn (natch) but helmet sundaes, a norm and fan favorite at every mlb park i know of, have been absent at RFK these first three seasons.

Also SBF, next time you talk to one of the higher ups can you get the skinny on the naming rights to the new stadium? I can't believe they haven't announced a name yet.

An Briosca Mor said...

I second the comments favoring helmet sundaes and saying that Rocklands BBQ is better than Red Hot and Blue. There's a BBQ place up in Rockville that beats them both, though - Urban BBQ. They also have another place called Urban Burger that's better than Five Guys.

Since DC is such an international town, it would be cool to have a range of ethnic food stalls in the park, from Thai to Indian to Mexican (Rio Grande? Anita's? Austin Grill?) to sushi to whatever, in addition to the standard ballpark fare (done right, of course).

Anonymous said...

Sundaes. Of course. My favorite ice cream place--frozen custard, actually--is the Dairy Godmother (formerly Del Ray Dreamery) here in alexandria. The stuff is killer. But if that's too small an operation then maybe giffords. I love Carvel and Ben and Jerrys too, though neither are particularly DC.

And while we're on sweets, would a Fractured Prune donut shop be too ridiculous?

An Briosca Mor said...

Mmm, donuts. However, please let's not steal Dunkin Donuts from the Red Sox unless we give Sweet Caroline back to them first.

As for frozen custard, there's a small chain called Milwaukee's Best out in the NoVa 'burbs that's really good. They are in Chantilly and (I think) Manassas. And even though they have Milwaukee in their name, I think they're local.

paul said...

Can we have some fruit and vegetables to go along with our more sclerotic food? I don't want to die soon.

Anonymous said...

May already be noted but Beer Vending in California was discontinued some 20 years ago so that is why you didn't see any vendors yelling "Beer Here" around AT&T Park. I'm sure the concessionaires would love the extra revenue but its the law.

FMI said...

All this talk about the food and no doubt Aramark needed to be pitched out.

On the other hand,souvenirs did not need to be changed but the Nationals never negotiated in fairness with FMI whatsoever leaving us in limbo on what or how much to re-order to this season.

I see all the food complaints about food and justly so.

In three years,where were there any complaints about souvenirs.

There were none.

The Nationals have fumbled the ball in this the third year from season tickets,to putting out the last season RFK logo late,to not selling single game tickets in ALL of the retail stores,to lack of originality on giveaway items,to having the promotion list out last among the 30 teams.


exnatsvendor said...

How do you like Centerplate now? They are going under, they won't pay their employees, refuse to pay their sales taxes, and on top of it all, managed to lose a contract with the Yankees that they had for over 20 years. Having worked for both companies, I can tell you that ARA was much better suited to cater to the new park. If the fans only knew how limited the infrastructure at RFK was, they wouldn't be so quick to judge. Oh, by the way, is three screaming vendors per aisle enough or did you like it better at RFK when there were only about fifty vendors total, and you could actually see the game? In case you haven't noticed, just about all of the vendors that were working at RFK since 2005 are now gone. Most of it is because they haven't been paid, or were shorted one too many times on their paycheck. And, in the last week, CP cut their wages by 25%, so it's doubtful that the few remaining holdouts from RFK will be staying, You can probably expect a whole new group of kids to give you crappy service in the next few weeks. Good luck with Centerplate and those new team owners you have. Seems they were made for each other. (8/2/2008)