Brewing up America’s pastime: Cuisine complements the competition


A peanut and Cracker Jack's vendor walks the aisles of Miller Park during a Brewers game last season. Vendors are a critical part of the ballpark's overall entertainment experience. Photo provided by Getty Images

The smell of the freshly made hot dogs, taste of David sunflower seeds and sights of the players warming up fill the aroma that is Miller Park during the summer as our beloved Milwaukee Brewers play an old-fashioned game dating back to 1845. But it’s more than just a game: it’s a national pastime, one that has become a staple of American culture. Since I was handed a baseball bookcase when I was eight days old, I have become infatuated with the sport, and as I have aged it has become the hallmark of my interest. With this backdrop, I decided to take to The Highlander Online to showcase my thoughts about the local bunch of guys living out thousands of children’s dreams: the Milwaukee Brewers.

“Cracker jacks, here, cracker jacks, here,” bellows the man in the fluorescent, highlighter-esque construction worker vest as he walks up and down the aisle with the oversized and disproportionally heavy satchel over his shoulders. While you sit in your overpriced seat munching down on a fresh bratwurst, you have to admire the timeless element of baseball’s culinary aspects. Specifically, Miller Park has a wide assortment of food selections that are unmatched throughout the rest of the MLB.

First and foremost, Miller Park is the only ballpark where hot dogs are not the number one seller: rather, the classic Wisconsin sausage trumps it at this unique joint. As a result, the ballpark embodies the taste of the community and state, which is pretty cool to see at one of the most visited attractions in the city.

Within Miller Park, many stands with appropriate and light-hearted names roam the hallways. From “Home Sweet Home,””Brat Boys,” and “Pretzel Pit,” these stands are fair game for classic ballpark food such as hamburgers, pretzels, nachos, and alcoholic beverages for the stereotypical Wisconsin fan.

However, there are also some more unique options at the ballpark if one digs enough. In the right-field corner of the Field Level, the AJ Bombers stand allows fans to savor the aspects of a famous Wisconsin restaurant within the confines of a baseball game, which is a delicacy.

This year, two new food options are being introduced to the ballpark: the Smoke Shack, a barbecue-oriented dig, on the Plaza Level, and Holey Moley, a doughnut shop, on the first-base side of the Field Level. Ideally, these shops will invite fans to experience a more diverse selection of foods then is already at the ballpark.

Also, some rather obscure foods grace the same hallways. From bacon sloppy joe’s to bacon-covered brisket dogs, or even the brand new creation of nachos on a stick, one is sure to gain a unique culinary experience at Miller Park.

Personally, my favorite stand is the Chef’s Table on the first-base side of the Loge Level. This stand is unique because it serves foods traditionally associated to the visiting team’s hometown, and subsequently changes per series. From Skyline chili from Cincinnati to Reuben walleye sandwiches from Minneapolis, I have enjoyed experiencing a taste of America right from Milwaukee’s own downtown.

If none of the above floats your boat, there is always the classic man screaming up the aisles, ready to give you the decades-old Cracker Jacks that have cemented a place in our national history.