The Indians held somewhat of an open house last night to introduce fans to Phase 2 of the Progressive Field renovations that were completed this off-season. It includes new food offerings from over a half dozen local restaurants, a Great Lakes Brewing Company beer garden next to the team shop, a Home Plate Club for select season ticket holders and a big ass new scoreboard.
The event was for any fans who participated in their Tribe Live program last season. I did not, but knowing that a review on Bottlegate dot com can make or break you in this town, the team realized they needed to get us there and bombard us with free food and happy hour priced beer.
So after shameless and incessant begging I finally got my name on the list. We entered through the left field gate, which has new signage outside it (a small thing I noticed – sections throughout the stadium are much more clearly labeled now.) Side note – all gates have special season ticket holder entrances this season.
There’s a new Budweiser beer stand on the home run porch that’ll make the new drink rails in left a viable second option to The Corner:
The first place I saw on my immediate right after walking in was called Build-a-Burger. Putting aside the negative feelings I have for that phrase after my girlfriend in middle school broke up with me before I could give her the Build-a-Bear I made her, I decided to try it.
Build-a-Burger: Pulled pork and slaw on top of a burger patty – B
Solid. Very solid. The burger was a little dry but I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt that it will be better when they’re made to order during games. The fries were tremendous. Very crispy. BBQ sauce on pulled pork was tasty.
And yeah, I got a Pepsi. I was thirsty. It was delicious. But then I needed to hydrate so I waddled over to the new Great Lakes beer garden.
Love the East 4th lights. Great touch. Place will be poppin’ during the season. I’m seeing a Sharks-Jets type rivalry forming between Corner people and GLBC people. Had my first Rally Drum Red Ale – not bad.
But back to the food. Our next victims were another pulled pork sammich from Throwing Smoke BBQ and a fresh ‘rito from Ohio City Burrito. We took those puppies down in the new Home Plate Club, which is awesome.
The perks of spending 2-4,000 American dollars on season tickets.
Throwing Smoke BBQ: Pulled pork with a jalepeno, actually could have been a pickle, and other stuff I wasn’t really paying attention to because I wanted to get to my burrito: C
Nothing really to write home about here. In hindsight I’m kind of upset I wasted space in my stomach on a ballpark stand instead of one of the local joints (although I did that at Build-a-Burger too but that was actually pretty good). Poor planning on my part. Anyway, the meat was cold which I guess is understandable when you’re making hundreds of samples, and I think there was some mayo type sauce on it which is a big no-no for me.
Ohio City Burrito: Chicken burrito – A
The star of the culinary show if you ask me. First of all, props to the workers at the Ohio City Burrito stand, and all stands really. Big players make big plays no matter what the conditions are outside, and it was a GD wind tunnel on the concourse last night. If you can make me a delicious treat while dodging flying tableware, you’re okay in my book.
The burrito was fantastic. Wrapped well despite the elements, it was a nice clean eat. Burritos are a perfect ballpark food really. Just shove everything you like inside it and use your non beer hand to hold it. Don’t have to worry about toppings falling off like a hot dog. I see quite a few of these in my near future.
Moving to some seats behind home plate now, we decided to grab something from Happy Dog. Little did we know it would become a national story not even an hour later…
Happy Dog: Slider dog (pimento mac and cheese, bacon, fruit loops) – B+
So I’m from Cleveland and I’ve never been to Happy Dog. Sue me. But that made my experience last night that much better. It’s like how jealous I get when someone tells me they’re just starting to watch Breaking Bad. They have no idea how much awesomeness they’re in for, but that ship has already sailed for me. My first experience with a Slider dog last night was WAY better than anyone who has already had one before.
This could easily shoot up to an A during the season. I’m again giving them the benefit of the doubt that it’ll be a little hotter and fresher when it’s made to order. I’ve got a weird thing for pimento cheese after living in Charlotte for a year, everyone loves bacon, and fruit loops reminds me of my childhood. The people who think this dog is stupid can suck it easy.
Oh, because pimento mac and cheese, bacon and fruit loops are trash now? GET LAWST
And that’s all you guys get cause I had Chipotle for lunch like an idiot yesterday and I would have expired right there in the ballpark if I would have consumed one more morsel of food. Closing thoughts:
- Pictures of the scoreboard really don’t do it justice. This thing is huge.
- Play-by-play section of the scoreboard – great touch
- Really looks like a new ballpark with the opening of the concourse wrapping all the way around now
- Home run porch has the potential to be as wild as The Corner
- Video ribbon boards and new out of town scoreboard – icing on the cake
KEEP THE CHIEF