It used to be that Major League Baseball fans were lucky to grab a hot dog, box of Cracker Jack or bag of peanuts and a cold beer while watching their favorite team round the bags. But over the past few years, more and more ballparks have been hopping on the local foods bandwagon, featuring local chefs, restaurants and dishes from their particular corner of the world. And why shouldn’t they? The practice not only satisfies locals, but also exposes countless visitors to the unique culinary assets of that city. p>Until now, Cleveland Indians fans – and those of the visiting team – have had to make do with a very small and not altogether thrilling roster of local foods when dining at Progressive Field. Those hot dogs hale from Sugardale Foods in Canton, the mustard, of course, is world-famous Bertman Ballpark brand, and there’s some Pierre’s Ice Cream floating around. But other than that, it’s slim pickin’.
That is, until the start of the 2015 season. Since the close of last season, the Tribe has been hard at work transforming Progressive Field to make it more fan-friendly. Much of the work has been confined to right field, which will boast a brand new gateway to E. Ninth Street, a new two-story bar, and more intimate connection with pitchers warming up in the bullpen.
What’s been a mystery – up until this afternoon’s press conference, that is – is the selection of local food operators we’ve been hearing rumors about. When the newly branded Right Field District is unveiled this spring, it will feature the familiar names of Melt Bar & Grilled, Barrio, and Sweet Moses.
“The addition of local brands like Melt, Barrio and Sweet Moses to one of pro sports’ gems, Progressive Field, offers even more fan-friendly options at the ballpark,” explained Kurt Schloss, Indians Vice president of Concessions.
Like Melt University at the stately new Tinkham Veale University Center at Case Western Reserve, this outpost will feature a truncated menu built around the most popular sandwiches. Those include the Kindergarten, Chorizo & Potato, Parmageddon, and Mushroom Melt.
“We’re excited to bring our unique sandwiches to Progressive Field and be part of the Tribe’s growing success on the field and off,” noted Melt founder Matt Fish.
Barrio, which launched three years back in Tremont, and now has a location in Lakewood and one on the way downtown, has cut its teeth on build-your-own tacos and crafty cocktails, both of which will be on display at the ballpark.
Sweet Moses, everybody’s favorite soda fountain in Gordon Square, will offer a limited selection of its decadent ice cream sundaes and treats.
“We’re thrilled that the Cleveland Indians have chosen Sweet Moses to be part of the exciting changes at Progressive Field,” added owner Jeff Moreau. “As an old-fashioned soda fountain named after our city’s founder, we’re proud to be associated with such an iconic Cleveland sports tradition.”
To keep track of the latest physical developments going on at the ballpark, check out this live-streaming construction link.