Delicious changes await Rays fans at Trop
ST. PETERSBURG - The Tampa Bay Rays will introduce several new and improved menu offerings this season at Tropicana Field. These changes build off the success of several returning favorites, including the signature cuban sandwich and the Fan vs. Food Challenge, recently rated the "No. 1 Thing Every Floridian Should Try in 2011" by Metromix Tampa Bay. Visit the Brewhouse and watch fans take on a 2-pound burger piled sky-high with four 8-ounce patties, 16 slices of bacon, four slices of cheese on a bun and a pound of french fries. Improvements include new menu items and concession stands, renovations to the center field restaurant areas and the addition of authentic game-used merchandise in the main team store near Gate 1.The Rays said the new features are the result of extensive fan surveys and focus groups conducted by the team, with the goal of creating a superior dining and entertainment experience for fans. Here are some of the changes: Everglades BBQ Smokehouse The Batter's Eye Restaurant in center field is now the Everglades BBQ Smokehouse. This family-style restaurant will feature traditional barbecue, smoked fresh daily in on-site smokers and served with a choice of signature sauces. The menu includes favorites such as pulled pork, ribs, chicken, wings, corn on the cob, natural-cut potato wedges and an extensive salad bar. The restaurant will also be home to the Rays' radio pre-and postgame shows, featuring broadcaster Rich Herrera. The stadium's vendor, Centerplate, said it expects to smoke 1,500 pounds of pork shoulder, turkey wings and ribs before every game. The restaurant overlooks center field and is accessible via the escalator just inside the main rotunda entrance to Tropicana Field. It will open two hours prior to game time and remain open through the conclusion of the postgame show. Reservations for parties of six or more can be made by calling (727) 825-3378. Everglades barbecue will also be served at takeout locations in the first-base food court and on Right Field Street. The Brewhouse The sports-themed bar has a fresh look and updated menu of food and beverages, including a selection of local craft beers. The beer menu now includes microbrews, including two from Cigar City Brewing in Tampa. In an effort to get fans to tailgate indoors, the Brewhouse will offer happy hour specials two hours before the first pitch of every game. There will also be pregame entertainment. The Brewhouse is on Center Field Street, near the main rotunda entrance at Gate 1. Burger Up Burger Up features four signature ground burgers served on a corn-dusted Kaiser bun: the Cuban Burger, Mushroom Swiss, Bacon Blue and the Old Fashioned. The Cuban Burger resembles the flavors of a Tampa-style Cuban sandwich. Executive chef Joshua St. Pierre uses bread from La Segunda Central Bakery in Tampa for the rolls. All burgers, which come with fries and a pickle spear, cost $12. Burger Up is in the first-base food court. GF! Gluten Free Ballpark Favorites This new stand on Center Field Street features gluten-free versions of traditional ballpark favorites like hot dogs, pretzels and beer. Wings Around the World A new stand located on Center Field Street offers boneless chicken wings with a large selection of special sauces, including Buffalo, golden barbecue, sweet red chili and Cajun. What will be your food of choice at the Trop this season? Will you try something new or stick to the same stand-by?