With the opening of baseball season just a few days away, the Tampa Bay Rays have announced several changes to dining options at Tropicana Field.
In addition to the earlier announcement about original Trop restaurant the Batter's Eye becoming an Everglades BBQ Smokehouse, the Rays and their hospitality partner, Centerplate, penciled in new additions to the menu of game-day offerings, including gluten-free items, local craft beers and a new burger spot.
Here are the details, according to their press release:
The Brewhouse: The pub-like restaurant just a few yards from the rotunda entrance will get a fresh new look and an updated menu of food and beverages, including a selection of local craft beers (they'll start out with two Cigar City Brewing beers on tap). The sports-themed bar will also feature pregame entertainment. But the Rays Radio pre-and postgame shows, featuring Rays broadcaster Rich Herrera, will move to the new Everglades BBQ. The Brewhouse will open two hours before game time and is in Center Field Street. And in case you're wondering, they're keeping the Fan vs. Food Challenge. In this serious bout of eating, fans take on a 2-pound burger piled with four 8-ounce patties, 16 slices of bacon and four slices of cheese on a bun, plus a pound of french fries.
Burger Up!: This new spot along the first base food court will feature four signature fresh ground burgers: the Cuban Burger, Mushroom Swiss, Bacon Blue and the Old Fashioned. The homemade burgers will be served on a corn-dusted kaiser bun with natural cut fries.
GF!: This stand in Center Field Street will feature gluten-free versions of traditional ballpark favorites like hot dogs, pretzels, and beer. (Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye and barley, and many people can't tolerate it.)
Wings Around the World: Also in Center Field Street, this stand will offer boneless chicken wings with a large selection of sauces, including buffalo, golden barbecue, sweet red chili and Cajun.
The Rays announcement also included the previous news about the Everglades BBQ Smokehouse, which will feature traditional barbecue, smoked fresh daily in on-site smokers and served with a choice of signature sauces. The menu includes pulled pork, ribs, chicken, wings, corn on the cob, natural-cut potato wedges and a salad bar.
The team and Centerplate also said they'll be making renovations and improvements to the center field restaurant areas.
And not food-related, but certainly something fans will want to keep an eye out for: The team store at the Trop will offer authenticated game-used, worn and/or signed items from Rays players. The team tried this out at its Fan Fest in February, offering up practice jerseys, hats and even some throwback uniforms that had been worn.
The Rays open the season against the Baltimore Orioles on Friday at 7:10 p.m.