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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Saturday, Aug. 23, 2014

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In Dining

A new line of smoked food, including this beef brisket sandwich, is on sale at Miller Park this season.

In Dining

The new smothered and covered french fries feature cheese sauce, scallions, crumbled bacon and ranch dressing.

Miller Park will be smokin' this season


The winter acquisitions of starting pitchers Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum greatly enhanced the Brewers' chances of winning a pennant. They also are likely to increase our appetites at Miller Park.

"When the team is winning, people eat and drink more," Jon Clope, the operations manager of Sportservice at Miller Park, reports. "Winning creates a festive atmosphere. It is more celebratory."

What better way to celebrate than having another brat, beer or frozen margarita?

Sportservice provides the food and drink concessions at 10 major league baseball stadiums. At Miller Park it operates four kitchens for 29 concessions stands, the Gehl Club, the NYCE Stadium Club and tailgate catering in the parking lots.

Greinke and Marcum aren't the only important off-season additions here. Sportservice installed a large-capacity smoker that will produce an entirely new line of sandwiches and entrees this year.

Hand-carved smoked turkey breast and BBQ beef brisket sandwiches, three smoked brisket or pork sliders, smoked and grilled BBQ jumbo chicken wings, and a parfait of the beef brisket or smoked pork with mashed potatoes will be on sale at various park locations, all for $7. The BBQ sauce is being made in-house, according to Miller Park executive chef John DiMartini. The carved sandwiches will be made to order at a cart that served pasta in previous years.

Fresh cut french fries are getting a new emphasis at Miller Park with some intriguing variations. The French Canadian specialty Poutine consists of beef gravy and Wisconsin cheese curds served over spuds. Chili cheese fries include scallions.

Smothered and covered fries feature cheese sauce, scallions, crumbled bacon and ranch dressing. All of the fancy fries variations are priced at $7. Traditional french fries are $4.50.

A new grilled cheese sandwich stand will serve up the classic ($4) and two specialty offerings ($6) -- a tomato and bacon with dijonaise on Greek bread, and a zesty grilled cheese with pico de gallo on jalapeno cheddar bread.

A cart that previously sold Asian food items has moved its focus to other parts of the globe. Three spicy fish tacos that each contain cabbage slaw, pico de gallo, chipotle cream and a 4-ounce fillet of blackened pollock are $7.50. New Orleans style chicken and shrimp gumbo with rice is the same price.

Two steak sandwiches ($9.50 each) developed with the Food Network are new and will be sold only at the stadium's Plaza Grill. One of the sandwiches is stuffed with Maytag blue cheese and a sweet and spicy Peppadew pepper mayonaise, and the other comes with a sharp and hoppy beer cheese.

A couple of $9 cocktails, vodka lemonade and vodka cranberry, are the new alcoholic offerings this season.

While Poutine and gumbo give fans a wide variety of tastes to sample, old time baseball food dominates concessions sales at Miller Park. "The vast majority of our business is still hot dogs, brats and other sausages," Clope said while sitting in his office beneath the stands on the third base side of the stadium.

"Hot dogs are actually outsold by the other sausages (brat, Polish, Italian and chorizo) and that makes us unique among ball parks," he added. All five sausages are featured with pineapple in a new shish-ka-bob being offered for $6.50 at the Plaza Grill.

Traditional baseball fare may rule at Miller Park concessions stands, but one 21st century menu addition is being consumed in record proportions. "Frozen margaritas ($9) have become huge the last four years," Clope reported. "Sales have gone through the roof."

Maintaining high quality while preparing and selling food at high speed is the biggest challenge Sportservice faces, the operations manager said. "We serve 30,000 people in three hours."

I had one final question for Clope and DiMartini. What's the secret to the secret stadium sauce?

"We'd tell you, but then we would have to kill you," Clope replied.


Talkbacks

Mike | April 11, 2011 at 12:02 p.m. (report)

It's about time. The Miller Park concession stands have had the most boring food in baseball-dom for years now. This is a welcome change.

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brewcitypaul | April 5, 2011 at 12:29 p.m. (report)

I'm positive there is a pulled pork sammy and an order of cheddar fries in my future. New items sound amazing, way to change up the menu.

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