As the sports editor for the Marietta Daily Journal, there are a few times a year when the job has its tasty perks.
The start of the baseball season at The Battery Atlanta is one of those times, and in preparation for opening day, the Braves held a media day Tuesday to allow members of the press to see what’s new coming to Truist. Park for the 2023 season. They wanted us to inform our readers about new uniforms, merchandise, promotional items, stadium improvements, and stadium news.
The other thing the Braves introduced was the new food options, and as someone who weighs 270 pounds, and not by accident, let’s just say that caught my eye Tuesday.
Under the direction of new executive chef Louis Martorano, Delaware North, the company that manages the Braves’ ballpark concessions, is bringing new dining options to fans.
Martorano said he wanted to bring a flavor of Braves Country, different areas within the Southeast, to the ballpark. If someone from the Carolinas or Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama or Tennessee made the trip to see a game, Martorano said he wants there to be a food option to remind them of home.
With a growing Latino population in the region and on the team, Martorano said he created additional items for them as well.
These new items will be made to order at various concession stands to keep them as fresh as possible. They are also designed to be prepared quickly. Speed will be of the essence with new shot clock rules that have shortened games by an average of 20 to 30 minutes during spring training.
“It’s a good playing field for taste profiles,” Martorano said.
To be fair, if I had tried everything available, I would not have walked through the door on the way out. But I tried four of the high-profile new items. Hopefully this review could help you make your culinary decisions for him in the park this spring and summer. In the order consumed, here they are:
1) The Submarine Sandwich — House-smoked turkey carved in front of the fan, topped with Red Dragon cheddar sauce, Applewood bacon, fried green tomatoes, butter lettuce and avocado cream.
Let’s just say Subway, Jimmy John’s and Jersey Mike’s don’t have any of this.
The turkey and bacon combo is one of my favorites, and the bacon flavor really comes through. It is served on a flavorful, crusty bread that holds up throughout the entire dining experience. It can be purchased two ways: a single serving for $13.99 or a full 3-foot sub that’s supposed to feed eight.
Really, if you’re a big guy like me and my friends, there are four good chunks in there. The cost of the complete sub is $79.99 and either option can be found at The Carvery near Section 112.
Fat Sports Editor Rating: 4.5 donuts on a five donut scale.
2) The triple game — This is comfort food on the next level.
It’s a play on the Caribbean staple of papas rellenas: a creamy potato-filled ball with chicken and then browned and golden. He wasn’t sure about the spices in the batter, but he added a little kick in the rear. It’s simple, it’s full and it’s good.
The price is $20, but it seemed like the serving size was three baseball sized orbs. It will be available in the Section 313 and Section 343 marketplaces.
“I don’t care what country you’re from. You are going to want to eat it,” said Martorano.
Rating: 4 donuts. I’m not a chef, but I’m married to one. I think I could have used a little jalapeno mixed in, but that’s just me.
3) The ‘Douille dog – It’s an Andouille sausage topped with chili, onion, and cheddar cheese. I could feel my arteries hardening with each bite.
The snap of the sausage casing was what really got me. There’s something about that snap that separates good sausages from average.
This heart attack that’s about to happen is $9.99 and worth every penny. It is available in the Section 313 marketplace.
Rating: 4.5 donuts. Spicy mustard would have put it over the top.
4) The Nearby — A beef hot dog wrapped in mashed potatoes with mozzarella and fried dorado. It is served with a spicy mayonnaise drizzled on top.
It’s a nice crunch on the outside that leads to a nice creamy texture on the inside. Like the ‘Doulille Dog, this frank has a nice snap to the carcass.
This is a good size hot dog and is priced at $10.99. It can be found in the Section 343 market.
For Hannah Basinger, the Braves’ senior vice president of basketball operations, it’s a new guilty pleasure.
“It’s the hot dog I didn’t know I needed,” he said.
Rating: 4 donuts. I liked the ‘Douille Dog’ a little more.
There were two other standout items that I did not try.
The Cleanup Burger – Four grilled beef patties topped with hash browns, hickory-smoked bacon, cheese, and a sunny-side-up fried egg. Served on a buttermilk Belgian waffle with maple syrup. The burger, priced at $26, looked good, but I’m not a fan of fried eggs, so I took a pass.
It was said that it will serve one to four people. I’d say it’s good for two.
Finally, there was the Georgia BLT, a sandwich of bologna, butter lettuce, tomato, pimento cheese, and garlic mayonnaise on a brioche bun. It’s another item that looked good, but pimento cheese isn’t on my list of options. Also, since when has bologna been substituted for bacon?
The BLT will be located at 1871 Grille near section 141.
If you haven’t noticed, none of those items are low-calorie or low-fat, so I’ll order them with a Diet Coke to help balance things out.
However, as the season progresses, Ryan Crocker, the team’s director of food and beverage, said additional grilled, vegetarian or vegan items will be added to the menu. Those items are now being tested and should be ready by the All-Star break.
A couple final things about the food: “fan friendly pricing” for traditional items is back with many items under $5 including regular hot dogs, nachos, etc. However, fans are likely to see marginal price increases on other items due to inflation.
Also, with games seemingly destined to be shortened, Basinger said the organization anticipated problems that could arise with getting fans in and out of concession areas and back to their seats. All the traditional concession areas have a new point of sale system which should help flow in and out.
Additionally, there will be five new self-checkout concession locations. One in the lower level of Section 137 will be similar to last year’s quick stop markets. The other four, in Sections 315, 335, 313 and 343, will also offer hot food.
There will also be a new store called Walk off Market. It will be powered by Amazon technology and is close to Section 130.
Fans enter the market area by scanning their palm, if they have it connected through their Amazon account, or by scanning a credit card. Once approved, users become an ad on the radar, tracking their movements and adding up the items they pick up. Once they have finished shopping, they simply return to their seat. There are no stops anywhere to pay.