WASHINGTON -- Grilled cheese made with fresh lump crab meat and cheddar cheese, sandwiched between two slices of artisan sourdough bread; farm-to-table burgers with meat sourced from the Shenandoah Valley Beef Cooperative; hand-rolled chef specialty sushi rolls; and barrel-aged bourbon cocktails.
No, this is not a menu for a new D.C. restaurant. It's what fans can expect to see from a variety of new concession stands at Nationals Park.
This year, the park added a handful of new food and drink items to push its menu beyond typical ballpark fare.
"There are a lot of [new food] options, and that's the fun part about what we do in the off-season," says Nationals Park Executive Chef Dave Peterson. "The team is putting a great product out on the field; we want to have a great product that the fans can come out and enjoy."
This season's new dishes will be prepared in a new way, too: right in front of customers as they order.
Jonathan Stahl, senior director of guest experience and hospitality operations at Nationals Park, says the Park invested a lot of money in this season's concession equipment so food can be made directly in front of diners.
"We kind of want to change the perception of the ballpark experience and ballpark food. It's not just food that's been sitting out on a warmer, ready to go," he says. "We want to make it ready for you."
For Friday's home opener, our best advice is to go hungry (and thirsty). Here's what you can expect to find:
Mike Isabella Meets MLB: G at Nationals Park
Mike Isabella is bringing his famous D.C. sandwiches to Nationals Park. (AP Photo/Greg Power)
Mike Isabella's G has been the subject of buzz since the "Top Chef" alum opened the 14th Street sandwich shop last summer. Now he's expanding his stackable creations to the ballpark with G at Nationals Park.
Expect to see Isabella's classic chicken Parmesan sub, an Italian hero and a meatless roasted cauliflower sandwich.
Oh, and one other sandwich: The Drewno, named after The Source's Executive Chef Scott Drewno.
"This is a ballpark hotdog on steroids," Isabella says.
The Drewno consists of house made kielbasa, giardianiera, sauerkraut and "a little bit of shaved beef on top."
"It's a sandwich packed full of meat and that's what we do at G Sandwich," Isabella says.
Lamb chili and peanut brittle will also be sold at the stand in Section 136.
Sand, Sliding and … Sushi?
Last year, Chef Peterson says, he saw a huge demand for fresh and healthy foods from fans. They'll get their wish this year at the park's new South Capitol Sushi stand.
South Capitol Sushi will sell the basics (spicy tuna rolls, avocado rolls and California rolls), plus one specialty roll each game.
"If we have Atlanta coming to town, we can do barbecue eel. We can really play with a Philadelphia roll … we can have a lot of fun with that specialty roll. I think this is going to be a home run as far as a portable cart," Peterson says.
A baby shrimp salad and a calamari seaweed salad will also be available at South Capitol Sushi, in Section 129 on the Main Concourse.
Asian Noodles at Intentional Wok
Who needs peanuts and Cracker Jack when you can have drunken noodles and pad Thai? Intentional Wok will serve made-to-order Asian noodles in takeout-style containers.
"It's portable. You can take it, eat it with a chopstick, walk around," says Chef Peterson.
The noodles will be made on demand as well.
"The guests can actually tweak their items a little bit; make it just how [they] like it," he says, citing the spiciness of the stand's drunken noodles.
Intentional Wok is behind Section 233.
Chesapeake Crab Co. Brings Regional Cuisine to Games
Traditional sports food is getting a makeover in a big way at Nationals Park: with a lump of crab.
The new Chesapeake Crab Co. stand, in Section 114, offers everything from crab cakes to crab nachos (Old Bay kettle chips, crab queso, roasted corn and tomato salsa) and a crab grilled cheese.
Burritos, Bowls and Salads at Bullpen Burritos
Carne asada, spicy chicken and vegetarian burritos, bowls and salads are the focus at Bullpen Burritos, a new concession stand in Section 140 on the Main Concourse.
Chef Peterson says diners can chose from roasted tomatillo sauce and a homemade pico de gallo to top the stand's selections.
Bring on the Beer! And Bourbon!
Nationals Stadium is expanding its beverage program. This season, the park will offer more local beers and craft cocktails. (WTOP/Andrew Mollenbeck)
Nationals Park is expanding its beverage program this year. Last year's highlight was the addition of local craft beer. This year, it's craft cocktails.
Nationals Park's Stahl says the stadium will be able to make everything from aged Manhattans to infused vodkas.
The beer program is also bigger; Nationals Park added new local beers to its list. The park also added two additional District Draft beer carts.
Port City, 3 Stars Brewing, Atlas Brew Works, Mad Fox Brewery and DC Brau will all sell seasonal varieties over the next several months.
"Each one of those breweries will bring us six to seven different beers throughout the course of the season," Stahl says.
Cask beers will be offered again each Friday home game in the Red Porch restaurant at Nationals Park.
Sourcing Locally and Showing Some Love to the Vegetarians
A new food concept that Peterson says is one of his favorites is the expanded farm-to-table program at Nats Park.
"We're doing a beef co-op program with Shenandoah Valley, where they're actually raising the cattle. We purchase the whole cattle … and they're making our burgers for us. It's a fresh product that they're cooking to order in front of the guests," Peterson says.
But you don't have to be a meat-eater to enjoy a burger or other common stadium staples, such as a Philadelphia cheese steak. Nationals Park will serve a meatless variety this year.
"It tastes like a cheesesteak, but it's with vegetarian meat," Chef Peterson says.
The park's expanded vegetarian offerings also include a grilled portabella burger with provolone cheese and roasted red peppers.
The all-vegetarian cart Field of Greens is behind Section 113.
Keeping the Classics
Area classics Ben's Chili Bowl and Hard Times Cafe will expand their food locations at the park.
Ben's Chili Bowl will add a second location behind Section 141 and Hard Times will open a third spot behind Section 310.
Here's where you can find new food at Nationals Park:
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