April 14, 2011
U.S. Cellular Field
For 2011, the Cell caught up to Wrigley and unveiled its own stand-alone restaurant named for a rum manufacturer and operated by an iconic Chicago steakhouse.
At Wrigley, it's Captain Morgan's Club, run by Harry Caray's; here, Bacardi Cafe, operated by the Gibsons steakhouse folks, sits across 35th Street (at street level, beneath the pedestrian walkway into the stadium).
The bilevel space includes flat-screen TVs at every possible angle, a full bar and a short list of Minors (appetizers) and Majors (burgers and sandwiches), including a hefty 10-ounce prime beef hamburger ($12.75) dubbed "The Big Hurt." Mercy.
Inside the park, the Wao Bao kiosk has moved to Section 138 (third-base side) and has added spicy Mongolian beef and vegetarian edamame baos to its lineup (two baos are $6, arguably the best deal at the Cell).
Beneath the center field Fan Deck is Redden's Irish Pub, where you can get Guinness on tap and something called a corned-beef panini ($8), that's a smidge chewy but not bad. The pizza is now by DiGiorno's; I know I'll get flak for this, but the crispy crust pizza ($4.75) is pretty solid.
At several places in the park you'll find a cheesesteak ($9.50) and a Sox Steakhouse sandwich ($8), but I can't recommend either; the steak sandwich was too chewy and my cheesesteak had no cheese, an omission that hopefully won't reoccur.
And the new gutbuster entry is the two-pound Nacho Helmet ($11.50), a huge portion of nachos dished up in a souvenir Sox helmet.
The big news items at this park, food-wise, is the return of Vienna Beef as Wrigley's official hot dog and the anointing of D'Agostino's as the park's pizza purveyor.
Vienna Beef hot dogs are now all over the park, and at The Works, a concession stand inside the main gate, you can find the dogs in "loaded" form ($6), including a Deli Dog (with kraut and Thousand Island dressing) and a Heater (buffalo sauce and bleu-cheese slaw).
OK, I guess, but I'll take mine with mustard, thanks, though I'm intrigued by the Banh Mi dog that will be rolled out soon. I still love the bison hot dogs ($7), introduced last year.
The D'Agostino's pizzas are decent; take the personal deep-dish pizza ($6.50) over the thin slice ($4.50). And in the right-field corner, the Sheffield Grill and Broadcast Grills are offering burgers from Stanley's Kitchen & Tap.
The Stanburger with fries ($9) is good and the double ($12) is even more indulgent, though likely too big for in-seat consumption.
Finally, Wrigley's latest over-the-top offering is the Big Cheese ($15), a huge slab of garlic toast topped with a three-cheese blend. People stare when you carry this thing around. It's actually not bad, provided you share it with at least two other people.
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