Friday, April 03, 2009

New Offerings At Nationals Park

Late this morning the local media and bloggers were again together for the second time in one week--this opportunity at Nationals Park for a special tour. Team President Stan Kasten was leading the assembled 25 or so on hand through New Changes At Nationals Park. This 30-minute get together started in the rain in Centerfield Plaza, headed over to The Nats Family Fun Area and concluded in The Family Picnic Area where Levy Restaurant's New Executive Chef--Phil Bucco--introduced many of the new food offerings at The South Capitol Street Ballpark. Menu items that, for the most part, are available to EVERY SINGLE PERSON THAT ATTENDS A HOME GAME for Our Washington Nationals. No, these food offerings are not just for Stars & Stripes Club, Diamond Club and Presidents Club. And there are some goodies.

This post will be--word for word--the entire transcript of Mr. Kasten's walk-through and Phil Bucco's introduction to the new menu food offerings at Nationals Park. Looking ahead--Footlong Crab Louie Sandwich--EXCELLENT!! Way High on the list of new favorites--along with The Shrimp Burger--great spices mixed into that sandwich. The African Queen LOVED BOTH OF THEM--and remember she's a TOP CHEF in her own rights!!

With that, here we go with today's tour with Mr. Kasten and Phil Bucco. Our Team President Leading Off.

“Well let's start right here. New LED Informational Signage (as seen on Nats320 Yesterday)—that’s pretty exciting. We have the new entrance to our team store with an interesting new red cap awning. On that wall, you will see our promotional schedule listed under every game this year. Underneath that you will see our Topps Starting Lineup for our team that night with Topps (Baseball) Cards going into those spaces as you enter (from Centerfield Plaza). You will see the red recycling cans that Coke (Coca Cola Corporation) has provided us this year. There are 75 of those around the ballpark.” (An absolute favorite new item in the ballpark for us. We love those Recycling Cans--maybe Coke can volunteer one to us?)

As the rain became heavier, we all moved into The Red Porch Restaurant.

“For those of you who were here exactly this time last year, you remember that The Red Porch Restaurant was the last thing done in the ballpark. Literally, we had it turned over to us the day before the opener. So we never had the chance to finish it on the fly. We’ve done that this off-season. We’ve completely changed it. We’ve expanded it in both directions. We have fully opened the last row field side. We have the glass garage doors that open to the plaza side. We have an outdoor patio with tables and dining out there. We have tables that will now be moved out into the seating bowl for diners. And we have changed the menu completely. Our Chef, our new Chef from The Levy Company will be walking you through the new menu at the conclusion of this—including making the tasting available. We’ve expanded the bar into a patio that reaches out into the plaza. So this whole experience (Red Porch) is going to change more into what we thought it would be previously. We’ve changed the flooring and the walls. This is last year’s furniture; the new furniture will be here during the first home stand. It’s not going to be here for tomorrow (Exhibition Game). But we are going to have new furniture. And again, out on the patios, in both directions. This should be really cool. We have, as you may have already read—an exciting new array of beers-quite a wide selection. I am not a beer guy, but I can tell you that people who are beer guys are really excited. So, I am happy.”

“Right now we are in the Sony PlayStation Area which was so popular last year, it’s back. As I said, it’s become very popular for kids and adults. We’ve rented the area out for hospitality. Through here you will see a change in The Geico Racing Presidents Section. This year we will have Life-Size Replicas or Bobbleheads (And the heads do bobble). In the past you could only get pictures with our mascots after the 4th inning race. This year, you can come here before the game, during all the nine innings and even after the game and get pictures with the Life-Size Bobbleheads. It will make it a little easier for your kids.”

“Lets keep walking through the play area. Don’t forget, every night you can do the karaoke contest right here and the winner gets up on the big board that night. Here you can see our Topps Display. Topps will be providing the art that will go on the wall for our starting lineups every night when you enter the ballpark.”

“We are now in the Exxon Strike Zone. They’ve done a lot to dress it up this year since this was completed so late last year. On the back (wall) there is a mural explaining all the things that were done to get this stadium its LEED Rating and making it the Greenest Stadium ever built. We’ve got a lot of scientific, fun facts on the ground and the walls talking about some of the signs, some of the physics of baseball—that’s kind of interesting. And this is just a lot of fun for kids and grownups. We’ve got the pitching and batting machines here. And of course, we have our Rookies Stand right behind you were kids can get Kids Food unlike the regular stuff we do throughout the rest of the ballpark.”

“We are now going to walk over to The Family Picnic Area where I am going to turn the program over to Chef Phil (Bucco), our new main Chef from the Levy Company. He is going to go over some of the new menu offerings this year and have a tasting. In that area and sprinkled throughout the ballpark this year—there are going to be many more picnic tables—both here and on the other side outside Ben’s (Chili Bowl), up on the 400 Level. We are also, over the course of the year adding 500 linear feet of drink rails in addition to the picnic tables throughout the park.”

“And by the way, later on during the season, we are going to be building a smoking (BBQ) pit up there at The Red Loft. That’s going to take another month or two to finish off. That’s being fabricated right now. We are going to have fresh BBQ up there, as well as, another Barbecue Pit somewhere else in the ballpark.”

“Tomorrow (Saturday April 4th) will be their first day (Levy Restaurants). Opening Day will be their first day with a big crowd. So it still might take a game or two or three before everyone is comfortable with what they do. Please be patient for those first couple of games. As I am confident that once we hit our stride the customer service will be far superior to what it was last year. It was never where I wanted it all of last season. So Chef Phil—take it away—tell everyone what you are doing these days.”

Levy Restaurant's Nationals Park Executive Chef Phil Bucco took over.

“Well, let me tell you what Stan and I have been cooking up in this off-season. Just some of the highlights here—some of the new things that are going to be here at the ballpark this year. Between The Nationals and Levy Restaurants, we’ve put some world-class food forward here. What we’ve got is from a Shrimp Burger to a Veggie Burger. A Pear and Walnut Salad for our healthy cart. You are going to walk in over by Centerfield Plaza and you will find a healthy cart. On that you are going to find fruit, hummus, some dips. You are going to find some grilled vegetable wraps. They are phenomenal. In there also, you are going to come down this aisle right here (left centerfield main concourse) and you are going to find a quasi dilla—that's right there. It is an inside/out quesadilla that you eat like a sandwich. Good Times. We’ve got meatball subs. We’ve got your old favorites here. What’s better than a DC Half-Smoke right? We’ve got them back. Chili Cheese Nachos. Look what I caught here—a Crab Louie Sandwich. It’s a foot long of crab—that’s what I am talking about. We can do a Crab Cake Sandwich that is coming back. We’ve got Turkey Burgers for a little healthier option. And to top it all off we are bringing Gluten Free Snacks and some organic candy to the stadium as well. So we’ve got great food lined up. We’ve got great options. We are just blowing it out.”

“The whole idea is that we are bringing healthy; we are bringing great quality food into the ballpark, fresh and right from the farm stands. Notice how we have the hummus and vegetables here.”

Are these offering available for everybody in the ballpark? (SBF)

“Yes, everything you see here is in general concessions—minus our Shrimp Burger which is a Club Concession. What we really wanted to bring to you today was what we are offering out here (in the ballpark). What we are offering for every guest. So we’ve got a lot of great foods to offer.”

“The Shrimp Louie will be offering up in The V (The Concessions in Centerfield Plaza where Hard Times CafĂ© & Noah’s Pretzels reside). Since that part of the park opens earlier (for batting practice)—all fans can enjoy that.”

With those final words--the munching began for all those on hand. Team President Stan Kasten and Levy Restaurant's Executive Chef Phil Bucco did One-On-One Interviews with anyone wanting. Those two chats coming later.

Other facts to take out of today's Media Tour:

Some food price points are listed in the photos immediately above this sentence. Click on any photo to enlarge.

The following three value meals will be offered throughout Nationals Park--all for $7.

1. Nats Dog Meal--Nats Dog, 16oz. soda and chips
2. Nacho Value Pack--Small Nachos and 2 16oz. sodas
3. Popcorn Value Pack--12oz. Popcorn Tub and 2 16oz sodas.

Click on the picture directly above this sentence to see exactly where some of today's announced new offerings will be located at Nationals Park.

The Rookies Concession Stand in The Nats Family Fun Area will include:

Junior Nats Dog
Uncrustable Peanut Butter & Jelly
Kids Meal (Uncrustable or Junior Nats Dog, Apple Slices, Juice Box & Toy)
Helmet Sundae, Cake Cone and Ice Cream Novelties
Megaphone Popcorn, Cotton Candy and Cracker Jacks
Kids Juice Box
Most of these offerings will cost less than $3.

MASN is building a stage in Centerfield Plaza to host their Nats X-tra pre and post-game shows.

And finally--outside Nationals Park--even more banners being placed on lamp posts. These new white Script Curly "W" Washington Banners now on Potomac Avenue--most likely to be placed all around the ballpark--once completed.

All Photos Copyrighted--Nats320--All Rights Reserved


VCUAlum Kyle said...

Stan and the new restaurant team added some neat stuff!!!

Love the:
new anwing over the team store, recycle bins (SBF, they should sell these at the team store!), Topps Starting Line-up cards (very cool and different), and the new menu!!!!!

I liked how beer and water look like they went down in price this year, thats great! And they got rid of Vitamin water and brought back Dasini water.

I am gitty for my first game April 18th!!!

Great job Nats front office, great job Stan!

Brian said...

Wow...I can't wait to try some of these things out - thanks for the info! And I can't believe they actually lowered the price of beer! Bottled beers were $7.50 last year, but it looks like (according to the menu in the post) that they are $6 now. The high price kept me from drinking very many last season, so I'll rethink that this year. Hopefully it will be the lower price, not the team's performance, that drives me to drink more!

Section 131 said...

That's pretty impressive. As long as the service and quality holds up, these changes are a tremendous improvement over last year. Thanks for your continuing efforts SBF, you are very informative.

Anonymous said...

Shrimp Burger, Pear & Walnut Salad, Halfsmokes, Foot long crab sub (please no imitation crab meat,it brings out allergies and lawyers), all combined with 9 guys on the field representing the DMV. What time is lunch again?

Screech's Best Friend said...

Footlong Crab Louie--All Fresh, all natural, no imitation. Really good. Really--comes with Old Bay Fries.

Anonymous said...

Citizens Bank Park (Philly) has the Topps Starting Line-up cards too. Very cool.

Edward J. Cunningham said...

Love the pictures! Can't wait to see all this stuff later tonight if I'm not too tired to go!

One more word to my fellow Nats fans. Yes, there will probably be many O's fans tonight, and some of them may be obnoxious. But many, MANY times I have seen fans at Nats Park wearing O's caps when the Orioles weren't playing---and these guys clearly weren't rooting for the visitors. So even if the Nats lose, let's be on our best behavior---this is Washington, NOT Philadelphia!

jimshoes said...


Anonymous said...

wow, looks great