AT&T Park (credit: Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Baseball, great food, cold beer, sunshine and a bay view – what could beat that? Any San Francisco Giants MLB domination must begin with the first game of the season and someone has to be there to cheer the home team on; that’s where we all come in. When it comes to food at AT&T Park, the best advice is to arrive hungry and choose with care, since the selection and the history are ridiculously wonderful.
24 Willie Mays Plaza
San Francisco, CA 94107
Promendade Level, View Level
If your goal is a full tummy, achieve it with a hometown North Beach classic since 1937. An AT&T Park offshoot of the local historic hamburger czar opened in 2013 at Derby Grill stand behind the third base foul post. It has a confusing branding and location, but it’s worth your while to seek it out. Get your warm comfort food cooked medium rare with sharp cheddar cheese accompanied by even more cheese and light brown gravy on the Canadian-style Poutine fries.
Promenade Level, Upper Center Field
For just one year in 1984, the crazy crab was loved and hated, then swiftly retired as the Giants’ mascot. Today, most fans say this is the best darn sandwich in the ball park while bemoaning its price tag and its size. Real dungeness crab with a dollop of mayonnaise and a couple of tomato slices slipped between butter-soaked crispy grilled sourdough bread with a touch of garlic can set mouths to water at the mention of the ball park. Add zest with a squeeze of the lemon slice. Don’t expect much change from a $20. Really hungry? Get it with garlic fries and an Anchor Beer and grab some extra napkins while you’re there.
Field Level, Lower Center Field;
Promenade Level, View Level and Virgin America Club Level
No kidding, that dachshund in a bow tie and chef’s hat represented the original brand back in pre-McDonald’s days in 1948. There’s little else that says Americana better than a hot dog and fries at a baseball game. Make yours a freshly grilled Sheboygan bratwurst with garlic fries that can put a Fenway frank to shame. What’s your topping? Consider grilled onions, sauerkraut, ketchup, brown mustard, sweet relish or all of the above for heavenly indulgence. Help resolve the critical stand-versus-cart debate.
Promenade Level, Upper Center Field and View Level
This spot is named for Giants’ All-Star, NL MVP and Hall of Fame honoree and the former late-50s and early 60s-era first baseman Orlando Cepeda. Order the famous Cha Cha Bowl: grilled marinated chicken over black beans, rice, a julienne of zucchini and carrots and four different toppings. While eating with a fork at a ball game may seem a bit formal, it’s a healthy option. Decisions loom since this star-studded menu also tempts with jerk chicken nachos in spicy habanero sauce, no doubt inspired by “Baby Bull” himself, a native Puerto Rican Giants legend and humanitarian, now age 76.
Promenade, View and Field Level
What’s not soggy, not overly garlicky, beats Cracker Jacks and represents Northern California’s own garlic capital of the world? Since 1988 when garlic fries were introduced by Gordon Biersch to pair with beer, this has become known as an AT&T Park staple. Other ball park fans hardly know what they’re missing, but at 110 tons served up annually, there are plenty of fries sprinkled with parsley to share. WIth plenty of locations throughout the park and served by other vendors too, you’ll find the nearest by following that distinctive, pretty much irresistible aroma.
Laurie Jo Miller Farr loves walkable cities. A tourism industry professional and transplanted New Yorker by way of half-a-lifetime in London, she’s writing about the best of the bay and beyond for Yahoo, USA Today, eHow, and on Examiner.com.