Over-the-top milkshakes, an exclusive pilsner, vegan sausage and hamburger options, fresh takes on nachos, chicken sandwiches and more.
No, I’m not listing the menu of a trendy hotspot in the Meatpacking District. Those are some of the new food offerings at Yankee Stadium this season.
“Ultimately, a lot of these stands are built with flexibility, so we can do whatever we want,” the stadium’s Senior Executive Chef, Matt Gibson, told me Monday. The 27-time World Series Champions opened the Audi Yankees Club yesterday to media for a tastings event of the new 2018 food items. “The Yankees have done a lot every year in regards to kind of renovating a bunch of stands. So we really just track the sales, see how the general population feels about things and then we can switch things out.”
Another factor: social media, specifically Instagram. The menu is tied to the campaign #YankeeStadiYUM and Gibson noted how the platforms affect both how the food is served and where it is consumed.
“We want to make sure that they have an offering that’s Instagram worthy as well as a good bang for their buck,” he said. “You should see the camera rolls on our phones. We look at (the food) from every different angle and how we can dress ‘em up so that it looks good on film, on your phone and as well as tastes good.”
Gibson joined the Legends Hospitality staff in the Bronx back in 2010 and save a year, has been there ever since. When the Stadium opened in 2009 the general buzz food-wise revolved around the Lobel’s sandwich, the availability of fresh fruit behind home plate and the sushi in right field. Additions since then have included a Parm Restaurant sandwich stand, foot-long cheese steaks, chicken and waffles, the Toyota Terrace and Frank’s Red Hot Terrace in center field and now a whole plethora of options, from plant-based to decadent and everything in between.
“At the end of the day, we wanted to make sure everyone enjoyed themselves here,” the executive chef said of the decision to include more vegetarian and vegan items. These include black bean taco cups from Brad Holtzman’s Taquitos Especiales (ed. note: Brad was a classmate of mine at Syracuse University) and the aforementioned vegan “meat” options, both served up by New York City-based chain Bareburger. “There’s a vegan sausage over there that’s lights-out. You won’t even miss the meat.”
And he was right. Rounding out the additions to the dining experience: a General Tso’s crispy chicken sandwich, King’s Hawaiian Original Sweet Pineapple BBQ Kalua Pork Nachos and a Lobel’s Meatloaf burger. On the beverage side, Bluepoint Brewing Company is the title sponsor for a new bar in the bleachers and will be serving a Pinstripe Pilsner exclusively at Yankee Stadium. There are also four new “Grand Slam” milkshakes including the “Celebration Shake,” which comes with a sugary-sprinkle-covered rim and a mini-cupcake garnishment.
For me, there still will be nothing sweeter than walking out of Yankee Stadium listening to Sinatra serenade a victory… but that might be a close second.