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7 stadiums piling on local flavor with loaded fries

PHOTOGRAPH: SIMPLOT

Modern-day stadium operators have long understood that the amenities they offer are almost as important as the games. And craveable food is arguably the most obvious way to engage with fans. With local specialties and over-the-top treats ruling, developing signature versions of staples like hot dogs, popcorn and fries is a great way to drive business.

Loaded fries, already popular at sports-themed bars and casual restaurants, are a natural candidate for customization, and stadiums across the country have cashed in on the idea. According to Technomic’s MenuMonitor, 8.6% of recreational vendors sell loaded fries. Among flavors trending up are cilantro, avocado and cotija, reflecting the influence of ethnic flavors on loaded fries dishes.

Denver’s Coors Field

An example of this ethnic spin is the Mexican-influenced Colorado Queso Stak served at Denver’s Coors Field. Waffle fries are topped with green chile queso, pork carnitas, pico de gallo, jalapenos and sour cream.

Houston’s Minute Maid Park

The Houston Astros’ Minute Maid Park interprets Latin fries a bit differently; its Loaded Taco Fries are topped with beef picadillo, avocado, queso, sour cream and tortilla strips. During last year’s World Series, L.A.’s Dodger Stadium served al pastor fries in a souvenir helmet. Toppings included al pastor-style pork, refried beans, nacho cheese sauce, pico de gallo and avocado crema. And carne asada fries from La Taqueria are a Dodger fan favorite.

Detroit’s Comerica Park

At Comerica Park, home of the Detroit Tigers, Grecian French Fries pay homage to the city’s large Greek community. Essentially a deconstructed gyro, the toppings include gyro meat, tzatziki, feta, cucumber, tomato and olives.

Baltimore’s M&T Bank Stadium

Stands at other sports venues incorporate local specialty foods into their versions of loaded fries. In Baltimore’s M&T Bank Stadium, Ravens ticket holders can sink their teeth into the B’More Stak: Fries topped with shaved Baltimore pit beef, Maryland crab dip, aged cheddar, scallions and cherry peppers.

New York’s Yankee Stadium

At Yankee Stadium in New York, Mighty Quinn’s is known for its barbecue and serves Dirty Fries piled high with brisket burnt ends, chili-lime sauce, red onions and scallions. In another barbecue-obsessed destination, Kansas City, Little Pig BBQ’s Loaded Fries at Arrowhead Stadium are topped with baked beans and barbecued pork.

Louisiana’s Tiger Stadium

Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, La., home to the Louisiana State Tigers, sells a Crawfish Poutine Fry Stak along with other Creole-inspired dishes. Instead of cheese curds and gravy, this Southern riff on the Quebecois dish retains the cheese curds but layers atop them crawfish queso, chicken andouille gumbo, sour cream and scallions.

Pittsburgh’s Heinz Field

Some stadiums target carnivores in the crowd with their versions of loaded fries. The Pittsburgh Steelers’ offering at Heinz Field is the Steel City Pot Roast Stak, a bucket of fries topped with pot roast, gravy, and cheddar and Colby cheeses. Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ fans at Raymond James Stadium can dig into the Cuban Fry Stak, a gut-busting mashup of skin-on fries, smoked ham, roast pork, salami, fried pickles, mustard cheese sauce, scallions and smoked paprika.

Fries are already a fan favorite, but adding a local or ethnic spin to this classic ballpark fare is a recipe for stronger sales.

This post is sponsored by Simplot

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