Plenty of pork products at Comerica Park this season
Baseball fans will notice about 20 new options at the Comerica Park food court and throughout the stadium when the Detroit Tigers home season starts April 8.
Pork is again front-and-center in the new offerings with new takes on hot dogs, pulled pork on burgers and even a flattened sausage on a stick called the Brat Pop. That last item — a patty grilled, dipped in pancake batter and deep fried — is the most out-there “attention getter” of the new options, said Mark Szubeczak, Tigers executive chef.
“Every year it seems to be getting crazier and crazier around the league,” Szubeczak said. “We like to stay to more realistic food — we’re not grinding up Cracker Jacks and putting them on a burger — but we do like to have a little bit of fun.”
The Brat Pop, he said, “is about as crazy as I’ve got.”
The chef and a staff of about 20 brainstorm during the off-season, coming up with new and they hope, popular fare. Offerings this season will include:
■Fried Bologna Sandwich — Fried bologna, grilled banana peppers and onions, served at Section 139.
■Street Nachos — Tortilla chips served with house-made queso blanco, fresh pico de gallo, sour cream, and your choice of barbacoa, chicken, or pork carnitas, served in Section 129.
■Deep Fried Oreos — Fried Oreos topped with powdered sugar and chocolate sauce, served in the Big Cat Court.
■Brat Pop — Brat patty battered, fried, and served on a stick, served in the Big Cat Court.
■Jumbo Corn Dog — Large deepfried corn dog, served in the Big Cat Court.
■The Downtown Dog — Natural-casing frank topped with house-smoked pulled pork, crispy onion straws, jalapenos, and sweet barbecue sauce, served in the Big Cat Court.
■The Mac Daddy Dog — Natural-casing frank topped with house-made mac and cheese, bacon bits, and scallions, served in the Big Cat Court.
■Quesadilla Wrap — Flour tortilla stuffed with chicken, muenster cheese, grilled onions, and grilled peppers (vegetarian option available), served in the Big Cat Court.
■Cork Town Burger — Hand-crafted burger topped with corned beef, kraut, Swiss cheese, and Thousand Island dressing, served in the Big Cat Court.
■Smokehouse Burger — Hand crafted burger topped with cheddar cheese, house-smoked pulled pork, crispy onion straws, jalapenos, and barbecue sauce, served in the Big Cat Court.
■Smokehouse Fries — French fries topped with cheddar cheese sauce, smoked pulled pork, jalapenos, crispy onion straws, and barbecue sauce, served in the Big Cat Court.
■Grecian — French fries topped with tzatziki sauce, diced cucumber, diced tomatoes, olives, feta cheese, and gyro meat, served in the Big Cat Court.
■Everything Pretzel Bites — Soft pretzel bites tossed in everything seasoning and served with queso blanco, served at MI Craft.
■The Lenny — Battered pork topped with pepper jack cheese, bacon, jalapenos, pickled red onion, and Dijon mustard and on a sweet and spicy bun, served at MI Craft.
■Gyro — Lamb gyro meat, red onion, diced tomatoes, and tzatziki sauce on pita bread, served in the Big Cat Court, Greektown.
■Pork Rind Nachos — Pork rinds topped with bacon bits, cheese, scallions, and sour cream, served in the Big Cat Court.
■Chicken and Waffles — Chicken and Waffles topped with powdered sugar and warm maple syrup, served in the Big Cat Court.
Comerica Park also will offer gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan options throughout its food stands, organizers said. The ballpark will again offer a grab-and-go section located down the third-base line across from the outfield that will offer lighter fares including fruit, yogurt and granola snacks.
A new stand-up bar across from section 123 includes a video wall and 30 taps with a variety of draft beers.
Szubeczak predicts the smokehouse fries will be a big seller. His personal favorites from this season’s crop of food include the Corktown burger and the fried bologna with onions.
“If you like bologna it’s great,” he said. “We think it’s going to do well.”
This year’s menu builds on last year’s when pork was also the featured food attraction. In 2015 crews unveiled queso pork rinds, Sriracha sauce deviled eggs paired with a slab of bacon and several variations on the hot dog including a foot-long coney, a coney encased in a quesadilla, a pretzel bun hot dog and a dog slathered with chips and French onion dip.
Alas, concessions, like baseball, can be brutal. A food that has great promise one year may not be around for the next. The pretzel dog, the chips and dip dog, the coney quesadilla and the deviled eggs have been cut and won’t return.
“We change it up. If it’s not selling we’ll take it off and offer something else,” Szubeczak said.