All around the country, sports fans pour into stadiums every day to cheer for their favorite teams. Jumping up and down and coming up with clever smears against the opposing team can make even the burliest sports fanatic hungry. It used to be the case that America's stadiums could offer little more than generic ballpark staples like hot dogs and beer. But with the current influence of fine dining on classic American dishes, stadiums across the country are benefiting from a new era of gourmet-sports food.
From classic Philly cheesesteaks to sushi and fried fish sandwiches, going to a ballgame no longer means having to choose between starving in the 7th inning and munching on mystery meat. Here are our picks for the most mouthwatering stadium meals, followed by our picks for junkiest. Then, in our Hot Dog Showdown, we want to know which ballpark you think has the best dog - L.A.'s Dodger Dog or Boston's Fenway Frank.
No list of best stadium foods would be complete without the famed Gilroy garlic fries or Ghiradelli's hot fudge sundaes at San Francisco's AT&T Park - both local treasures in themselves. (Photo courtesy of Flickr/wallyg)
New York's new Citi Field went a similar route, offering burgers and hot dogs from Shake Shack in New York City. The "Shack-cago" dog is one of their most popular offerings with Rick's Picks Shake Shack relish, onion, cucumber, pickle, tomato, sport pepper and celery salt.
At Seattle's Safeco Field, there is fresh sushi available as well as the much-lauded "Ivar" dog, which is a fried fish sandwich with signature slaw.
Baltimore's Oriole Park is home to retired first baseman Boog Powell's popular BBQ stand. Situated just outside the park's entrance, Powell serves up Boog's Barbecue to hungry Oriole's fans who love the hickory-smoked beef with beans and slaw.
Another local legend serving at the stadium is Tony Luke at Philadelphia's Citizens Bark Park. Locals and visitors to Philly line up for Tony Luke's cheesesteaks in town, but now they're also served up special for Phillies' fans.
Last, but certainly not least in this short-list, is the peach cobbler at the Georgia Dome, home of the Atlanta Falcons. Clearly plenty of stadiums have savory foods down, but few serve up well-done desserts like warm peach cobbler (a local favorite). (Photo courtesy of Flickr/wallyg)
On the other side of the coin, we've listed the worst stadium foods in the U.S. By "worst," we don't mean those stadiums who have been hit with food safety violations. (We are too scared to look, really.) These "worsts" are foods that might make your heart beat a little slower or make you feel like you've taken on a Man vs. Food-style challenge.
WORST (FOR YOU)
Top of this list is undoubtedly the Krispy Kreme burger found at the minor league Gateway Grizzlies' stadium in Illinois. Modeled after the "Luther Burger," the Krispy Kreme Burger has a beef patty covered in cheese with two strips of bacon and a split Krispy Kreme donut as the bun. (Photo courtesy of Flickr/myinnerfatty)
Following closely behind is the Charleston Riverdogs stadium's Homewrecker Dog. A hot dog piled so high that it actually has been on Man vs. Food, the Homewrecker is a half-pound, foot-long hot dog with up to 25 possible toppings from pimento cheese to jalapenos and from pickled okra to chili cheese.
The Homewrecker's endless options are its scariest feature, much like the All-You-Can-Eat seats at Minute Maid Park in Houston. Available for any game, pay just $30 for a mezzanine seat and access to all the chili dogs, sliders, wings, BBQ beef sandwiches, stacked baked potatoes, and "Texas Most Wanted" dogs you can shake a stick at.
At Chase Field in Arizona, Diamondbacks fans line up for the Sonoran hot dog. At its base, it is a hot dog wrapped in bacon. But, that's not all. It also has pinto beans, grilled onions and peppers, tomatoes, relish, tomatillo, mayonnaise, mustard, ketchup, and cheese.
Then, there is Dodger Stadium's pretzel on steroids: the Victory Knot. A two-pound salted pretzel, the Victory Knot can come with your choice of dipping sauces, including a beer cheese sauce. (Photo courtesy of Flickr/roboppy)
Wash all these options down with a requisite beer (and schedule a check-up with your doctor), then tell us what you think in the comments. Did we miss your stadium? Don't forget to also vote in our Hot Dog Showdown on The Daily Meal's Travel homepage.
- Nicole Campoy-Leffler, The Daily Meal