Today we present you with another guest blogging effort, this time from my good friend Jon Eick who runs the always enjoyable food-obsessed Sogoodblog.com, if you haven’t read it yet, do so immediately. Eick is one of the only people I know who willingly watches and roots for the Nationals. He also once voted for Bush and used to be a Yankees fan, so, there is that too. Anyhoo, he had tickets to both of the games this weekend at their brand new shiny stadium and offered to do a review of the stadium for the readers of The Slanch Report. Buckle up!
I went to both the first game EVER at Nationals Park, an exhibition game on Saturday against the Orioles, as well as the first OFFICIAL game, last night on ESPN, against the Atlanta Braves.
On Saturday we were only in our seats for about 3 of the 9 innings, because we were exploring everything. I didn’t get to walk around the whole stadium outside and see the trees and plaza and stuff in “front” (i.e. outside the stadium behind the home plate side). Instead, we entered through the CF gate. It’s right by the metro, and when you come out of the metro there is a really cool narrow street called ½ street, which has, or may have soon, a sort of Yawkey Way type feel to it. If they develop it as they hope to, it could be a really fun happening street (happening? You really are a 40 year old trapped in a 20something body). Right now there is no development on it yet, and there weren’t even food vendors there.
The food at this ballpark is insanely good. So much good stuff everywhere, and it all appears to be of really high quality. The line for Ben’s chili bowl was about 100 people long for the whole game. However, I discovered that the “Ben’s half smoke” was available at all the food stands. The Ben’s half smoke is going to be THE signature food for Nationals Park. Fenway has Fenway Franks, Dodgers have Dodger Dogs, we have Ben’s Half Smokes. If you don’t know what a half-smoke is, that’s because it is a unique to DC thing. It’s like a 50/50 cross between a spicy sausage and a hot dog. Delicious. And you’ve got to get the Ben’s half-smoke “all-the-way” with chili, onions and mustard. One semi complaint. The food stands don’t each have their own signs, everyplace just has their name in these sort of lit up glowing neon letters, If each food place had their own unique signs, it would make the inside tunnel areas where you get food feel a little bit less strip-mallish.
There is an abundance of food vendors, underneath/in back of the stands there are just rows and rows of food vendors. Beer, there appeared to be decent selection, including Stella on tap, and what appeared to be 20 or 22 oz cups at certain locations. The restaurant in Centerfield, called “Red Porch” is quite large, as is the “Red Loft” bar above it.