If you plan on visiting Guaranteed Rate Field this season, come hungry.
The Chicago White Sox held their annual Food Day preview to the media as they began drumming up interest for Opening Day and the 2023 season. Introducing tasty new food menus has been a strength for the White Sox, who often rank as one of the top ballparks in concession variety and quality. Is that enough to convince wavering fans to pay money and attend a game? Probably not, but those that do will be impressed by this season’s offerings.
For the items I could sample, I’ll provide my quick review. All food takes are subjective and eye of the beholder (more like the stomach of the beholder). My review scale:
- Single: Worth trying once, but not a must have.
- Double: Solid offering that’s worth buying occasionally
- Triple: Terrific concession item that should be part of the rotation.
- Home Run: Must have at the ballpark.
New General Concession Items
Delaware North is the concession operator for Guaranteed Rate Field and will add the following items below to stands in the 100 and 500-level seating. There will also be two new bars in the 500-level: Blue Moon Balcony and Miller High Life Sky Lounge.
Located in the Blue Moon Balcony, the Belgian Banger is a spicy polish sausage on a pretzel bun topped with sweet orange caramelized onions and red cabbage slaw. The idea was to make a polish sausage paring with a Blue Moon beer.
The polish sausage is quite good but falls a bit short in overall taste compared to the classic Maxwell Street style.
Steak Sandwich Stand: Cheesesteak and Chimichurri Steak
A steak sandwich stand will be located near Sections 125 and 534 in 2023 featuring two options.
First, is your classic cheesesteak with the melted cheddar cheese, grilled onions and peppers on a hoagie roll.
It’s hard to screw up a cheesesteak sandwich, but the White Sox have a good combination of flavors with this offering. It could make a better eating option than Italian Beef while sitting down.
Located in Sections 140 and 544, the new Elote Corndog is your typical corndog paired with an elotes dip. Delaware North noticed that elotes are one of the White Sox more popular concession items and wanted to try a new twist.
Review: Elote Dip – Double; Corndog – Single
I enjoyed the elote dip as it reminded me of what Antique Taco on 35th and Morgan offers. While the dip is solid, I wouldn’t say I liked the corndog. I’d rather have a small bag of fried tortilla chips than a non-crunchy corndog.
Other new items:
- The Champagne of Dogs: Served at Miller High Life Sky Lounge in 500-level, this is a colossal Vienna Beef footlong hot dog topped with champagne Vidalia onions and a habanero mustard that includes truffle oil.
- Helmet Tenders and Fries: The White Sox are daring mere mortals with this new food helmet in trying to take it down solo. Not only are you getting a full pound of waffle fries, but ten jumbo chicken tenders are stacked on top of the fries with your choice of dipping sauce. This will be an easy 1,500-calorie food item. (Sections 140 and 544)
- Hot Honey Chicken Loaded Fries: I gave the Chicken and Waffle Fries helmet a Home Run review. I had it frequently in the waning months at White Sox games, and it was terrific. This year’s version will swap the mild sauce with a hot honey BBQ sauce. I will report back later in the season on how it stacks up to last year’s Chicken and Waffle Fries. (Sections 110 and 524)
- Poppy Bagel Wrapped Polish with Chi-Town Pico: Replacing the pretzel-wrapped bratwurst is a poppy bagel-wrapped polish sausage. I love pretzels and bratwurst, but that item was sorely lacking last year, and there wasn’t enough yellow mustard to salvage it. In an attempt to learn from that mistake, Delaware North is paring a Polish sausage in a bagel roll and served with Chi-Town Pico. The relish is very similar to what is piled on the Comiskey Burgers. (Section 105)
- New Mac and Cheese Varieties – Chorizo and Hatch Green Chile: A bit of a surprise last year was the amount of White Sox fans who enjoyed the Mac and Cheese stand located in Sections 123 and 527. I never thought that Mac and Cheese to be part of baseball concession menus, but the trend has caught on. The White Sox will have a chorizo mac and hatch green chiles to bring some heat in 2023. (Sections 123 and 527)
New Premium Food Items
While Delaware North takes care of general concessions, Levy Restaurants handles food for White Sox suites, 300-level, Scout Seats, and Stadium Club. Consider this the fancy concessions menu.
Colossal Potato Wedges
At first glance, it’s just a basket of potato wedges, but it’s a shocking amount of effort by Levy Restaurants in making them. In total the process takes three days to bake and slice at low heat to make the wedges extra crispy. A loaded baked potato dip that’s heavy on bacon flavoring was paired with the wedges.
Review: Home Run
I’m very confident in my ability to eat a helmet’s sized serving of Colossal Potato Wedges with that bacon dip. The crunch did not disappoint. It’s everything you ever wanted in a potato wedge. (Location: Diamond Suites and 300-level)
Other Premium Menu Items:
- The Authentic: Imagine one of the deli sandwiches you can order behind Section 108 turned into a two-foot offering to impress a crowd in your Diamond Suite.
- Local Charcuterie Board: Using local to Chicago sources of cheeses, Italian meats, dried fruits, nuts, olives, and honey, this charcuterie board will make your suite a fancy occasion.
- Char-Grilled Chicken Board: Think of a charcuterie board but replace the Italian meats with grilled chicken.
- Crispy Chicken Bao: A new 300-level addition, the bao has a fried chicken thigh paired with a spicy Thai chili sauce with arugula, cucumber, and carrot slaw. The White Sox will also have a Chicken Teppanyaki Noodle Salad for Diamond Suites.
One mini critique/rant:
While it’s great to see new Asian food offerings in the Premium level, my one critique is someone in Delaware North needs to figure out options for general concessions. In the 2020 census, Bridgeport neighborhood is 40% Asian/Pacific Islander. As someone who moved into the area in March 2021, I can tell you that with recent developments that demographic will continue to increase.
The White Sox, as they should, spend a lot of time and effort appealing to the Hispanics demographic. In addition to that effort, they need to start appealing to their local neighbors. It’s a missed opportunity.
- Rib Tips and Pulled Pork Sandwiches: The Chicago White Sox partnering up with Hog Wild BBQ to offer a rib tips platter and pulled pork sandwiches in the Stadium Club.
- Build Your Own Burritos, Nachos, and Tacos Stand: Located in the Vizzy View Bar, this new food stand will be a similar setup you see at Chipotle or Qdoba.
- Pan-Seared Pierogis: If you ever wanted a serving platter of two dozen potato and cheese pierogis with a stack of Polish sausages, the Chicago White Sox have made your dream come true. (Location: Diamond Suites)
New Craft Beer Options
Starting with the big news, Leinenkugel’s will continue as being the Official Craft Brewery of the Chicago White Sox. What’s often known as the “Craft Kave”, is technically called Leinenkugel’s Craft Lodge, and they are bringing back mixing different beer flavors.
While Leinenkugel signage will be everywhere, the many coolers stacked with craft beers from local breweries will remain. In total, there will be 75 different craft beers from 50 breweries.
New breweries to be featured:
- Funkytown Brewery’s “Hip Hops & R&Brew” Pale Ale
- 18th Street Brewing
- Magners Irish Cider
- Obscurity Brewing’s “First Time Feeling” Rotating Sour
- On Tour Brewing Company’s “Typical Day Dream” Farmhouse Ale
- Voodoo Brewing Company‘s “Oh Mama” Traditional Golden American Lager
- Metal Monkey Brewing
- Toppling Goliath Brewing Company
In addition to those breweries, the White Sox are partnering with Pilot Project Brewing, an incubator located in Logan Square to provide limited-time releases.