Behind The Scenes

ESPN’s ‘Ballpark Bistro’ debuts with Diamondbacks leading off menu

There was a touch of the warm, dry Arizona desert in damp, chilly central Connecticut Thursday when ESPN opened it “Ballpark Bistro Thursdays” lunch series with menu items from the Diamondbacks’ Chase Field.

Every Thursday, there will be an MLB team-themed lunch in ESPN’s award-winning cafeterias, with teams recognized alphabetically from April 12 (Arizona) through October 11 (Washington). Chefs will offer an item from each ballpark’s menu for each team’s fans, and employees who join them for lunch to talk about their season.

With MLB parks expanding their fare from frankfurters and fries to Sushi and Shake Shack Shakes, why not spend the summer on a snackin’ safari sampling stadium selections?

Ballpark Bistro Thursdays at ESPN

When Phil Ryan, director, Facilities, and Mike Bland, food services director for Flik (independent contractors running the Café), couldn’t think of a reason not to experiment, “Ballpark Bistro” was born.

With the idea simmering, a pinch of “OK” came from Human Resources, and dash of “Go ahead” was added from Legal.

With signage secured (Creative Services designer Crystal Cote worked on the logo), plans to play a team’s game in the Café monitors procured (Jesse Elgarten of Media Assets and Duplication Services), and the ballpark menu manufactured, “Ballpark Bistro Thursdays” was ready to serve today.

“I’m not really a Diamondbacks’ fan, but I’ve always wanted to go to Arizona,” said International Production’s Chenille Hernandez, after ordering her Deli Dog (Thousand Island dressing and sauerkraut).

“I’m waiting for Toronto Blue Jays Day and [New York] Yankees Day.”

The Deli Dog was one of five selections from Arizona’s “Extreme Loaded Hot Dogs” menu at Chase Field. Other offerings at the Café were:

Backyard BBQ Dog: Hot Dog, Baked Beans, Potato Salad, BBQ Sauce, Shredded Cheddar
Big Kid Dog: Topped With Homemade Mac and Cheese, Fritos
The Heater: Buffalo Hot Wing Sauce, Blue Cheese Slaw, Celery Salt
Taco Dog: Seasoned Ground Beef, Shaved Lettuce, Salsa, Cheddar, Sour Cream, Jalapeno
Deli Dog: Thousand Island, Sauerkraut

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