Yankee Stadium eats.

I’ll be on ESPN 710 in LA at 1:12 pm PDT today, and on Mike & Mike tomorrow morning at 9:25 am EDT. I posted a piece on five interesting prospects recalled on Tuesday. I also appeared on AllNight on ESPN Radio last night.

I am not impressed by the food at Yankee Stadium. You build a $1 billion ballpark in the greatest eating city in the country – at taxpayer expense, of course – and you put in Johnny Rockets and Nathan’s and Famiglia Pizza? There’s virtually nothing local. The breadth of cuisines represented in the city where you can find food from any country where they eat food is dismal. And I only found one item there there I’d actually recommend*, the steamed dumplings at the noodle bar in the third base food court. They were superb, not heavy, not over-gingered (I like ginger, but a lot of restaurants go a little berserk in the dumplings), and steamed perfectly. You get four for $6, which wasn’t quite enough for lunch, but two servings would have been overkill.

*Okay, I lied, they have Carvel, which, for those of you outside the northeast, is frozen custard that rivals anything I’ve had in Wisconsin. It’s overpriced, and you can get it just as easily outside the Stadium, but yes, I had some, and you probably should too.

I went to the Lobel’s stand for a $15 steak sandwich, which seems to be the consensus “best food item in Yankee Stadium.” I don’t really have a problem with paying $15 for good beef; beef is expensive, and it should be, because cheap beef is nasty to eat, bad for the environment, and really bad for the cows*. But this sandwich was boring as hell – the steak had absolutely no flavor of its own, it was drowned in some undefined sauce, and, worst of all, it was tough. I’m no aficionado of steak, but one thing I know is that good steak should not be tough. Either it wasn’t cooked right, or it wasn’t carved right, not that I could tell under the tsunami of brown stuff on top.

* Okay, beef production in general is bad for cows. Just go with it.

That’s the good and the bad; here’s the ugly. Zeppole are the Italian version of fried dough – thick blobs of yeast-raised dough deep-fried until crispy on the outside but soft and chewy on the inside, and then doused with powdered sugar. If you grew up in New York and ever went to an Italian feast, you probably love them as I do. What they serve at Yankee Stadium and call zeppole should get the concessions people arrested. They’re tiny, tasteless, and, worst of all, fried before the game. It’s a ballpark. You have deep fryers at full blast all around the place. You can’t fry a few zeppole to order? If they’re not going to do it right, they should just take it off the menu entirely.

I did have one meal in Manhattan on this trip, breakfast at Good Enough to Eat at 83rd and Amsterdam, recommended by a few readers, including a couple of NYC sportswriters. I asked the girl behind the bar what I should get, and she suggested the four-grain blueberry pancakes, which sounded good since 1) I like pancakes 2) I like blueberries 3) “four grain” makes it sound all healthy-like. They were fine, nothing special, and including a few stray blackberries, which I’m assuming was an accident rather than a gift from a Keith Law fanboy in the kitchen. The pancakes themselves had a faint cardboard-y taste of whole wheat – common, but avoidable – and they were a little overdone and dry, and probably shouldn’t have left the kitchen like that, although it takes a lot more to get me to send a dish back and waste the food.


  1. I wish I had caught wind of your decision to eat at Good Enough earlier. I live on 87th and Amsterdam, and I would have done everything in my power to let you know how unspectacular it is. Oh well.

  2. I’m clearly too late to the part to be useful to you, but I endorse the potato knish stand stealthily located next to the vegetable market in a corridor behind the plate on field level. Huge portion, heated well, good filling, only about $4 IIRC.

    And yes, Carvel is crafted from the milk of gods. Or Wieters, can’t remember which now.

  3. The secret is not to eat at Yankee Stadium, but to make the journey to Arthur Avenue (near Fordham) afterwards.

    Some of the best Italian food you will ever have.

  4. Keith!

    I didn’t know you had this site! I’ll definitely be checking in more often. I do have to ask: what is this “Italian version of fried dough?” I always thought Italians invented fried dough, also called a pizelle. What gives?

  5. I’ve had the steak sandwich from Lobel’s three times…it was great once and the other two times it was awful.

    The cheeseteaks from Carl’s are usually very good, as are the garlic fries. Did you try them? Brother Jimmy’s is passable, but I wouldn’t recommend it if you’re big into BBQ.

    Supposedly the food in the infamous Legends Suites is very good, but I’ve yet to sit there.

  6. John Liotta

    Thanks for the Heyward update BTW . . .

    Have you had a chance to see Chris Davis since he has been recalled? I know it is a very small sample size but he appears to be making contact a little more (.355 I think). Will it last or will he revert? Will he end up at third because Smoak?

  7. At least 3 people rec’d Good Enough, including Ed Price and Ken Davidoff. I figured that was, well, good enough.

    A pizzelle is a cookie made in an iron, not deep-fried. Also good. Everything they cook in Italy is good, except for all the offal. Seriously, Italians will eat any part of the animal that can be chewed.

    No cheesesteaks for me – I hate any kind of cheese you might find on one – and garlic fries don’t appeal either.

    Saw the farmer’s market – great idea, really – but missed the knishes. I’ll check that out next trip.

    Even as the child of two Bronx-born parents (one of whom went to Fordham), I can’t get on the 4 train fast enough after the game. I’ll take Manhattan over the Bronx any day for food options.

  8. It’s Buster time for the Giants. And sadly, he’s probably one of their best hitters right now.

  9. I tink they change the cuts of meat each day @ the lobel’s stand. Maybe you were just there on a bad day; it was fantastic the day I went (sirloin i think).

  10. have you ever had good food at a staduim? I don’t know I ever have. we always bring food in these days as it is a crime how much they charge and it is a second crime how bad the expensive food is.

  11. Keith, I know you said it’s not in your plans for this season, but you really need to get out to Citifield. The food is great. The lines are a bit long, though not lately.

    Good luck trying to convince your employer to send you there on a scouting trip though. 20’s all around!
    Running, pitching, batting, fielding, managing FAIL.

  12. I’ve never had anything but fantastic meals at Good Enough to Eat and I usually agree with your tastes, at least in the Boston, NYC and SoCal posts that you’ve done (don’t quite do the amount of traveling in the rest of the country that you do). I mostly eat in the Flushing area nowadays but you might want to give Good Enough to Eat another try some other day.

  13. For breakfast, you should have flown to San Francisco for the French toast at Sears Fine Food.

  14. Anything attached to Lobel’s should be ethereal every single time, because the quality of the product they sell at their UES store meets that standard.

    Agreed on GETE, not a good choice, even for the UWS.

    Finally, as a season ticket holder, I really hate that the stadium has Carvel. After I’ve stuffed my face with too much food and too many beers, I’m actually supposed to be able to resist the helmetful of soft serve that I know is going to make me incredibly ill? Not possible!

  15. The beer selection at Yankee Stadium was no less embarrassing. If there was a place to buy something local, it was well-hidden. Then again, given hipsters’ fascination with PBR, maybe Miller Lite is good out of sheer irony.

    The food at Nationals Park is its most redeeming factor — Ben’s Chili Bowl is pretty good. Food at Citizens Bank isn’t bad, but their failure to have brown mustard is inexcusable.

  16. keith-

    I used to live right around that neighborhood on the UWS. Is that where you stayed? GETE was solid, not great. Brother Jimmy’s was probably best BBQ in that neighborhood, though Virgil’s and Daisy May’s would trump it for NYC as a whole. Probably about as good as you’ll get up north.

    How is a farmer’s market in a stadium a good idea? I also heard they have a butcher? Is that true? Do people do their grocery shopping at the game?

  17. Connecticut Mike

    Boy did I used to love Carvel ice cream cakes. Haven’t had one in years, though. There must be some other New Englanders who remember their classic commercials:


    Tom Carvel sounded like he smoked about four packs a day.

  18. My wife is a huge fan of Carvel cakes too. I once spent an afternoon trying to find one in Madison, WI based on a vague memory I had of seeing one in one of the grocery stores here. Sadly, I was wrong, but the birthday was not ruined.

  19. It’s not a real farmer’s market. That’s just what they call a stand where you can buy apples, bananas, and fruit cups. I’m not saying they have to start serving quinoa or tofu burgers, but offering healthy snacks at the ballpark is commendable.

  20. keith-

    Gotcha. That makes sense. The butcher still makes no sense, unless they actually cook the steak for you, in which case they ought to just call it a steak house. It would be nice to get solid healthy snacks at a stadium.

    RE: Carvel – My girlfriend got me a Fudgie the Whale cake for my birthday a few years back. Holy crap! We lived off that thing for weeks. And couldn’t have been happier.

  21. I have been to Yankee Stadium 4 times this year, and the food is still the worst around:
    from dried up Nathan’s hotdogs to mushy Nathan’s fries; low-grade Johnny Rockets hamburgers to heat-lamped, no cheese Carl’s Cheesesteaks, it’s the pits.

    The only food that I’ve had which is passable is J-Rockets chicken finger/fries and Brother Jimmies pulled pork sandwich.

    At least you can eat those without thinking it’s your worst ballpark meal ever.

    Citifield did it right: bring in proprietors that have some PRIDE in what they serve. Danny Meyer’s stands are all excellent (and the lines show it).

    Yankees are just in it for the buck, not the fans. (Yes, I know it’s a business, but they take the fun out of being a Yankee fan.)

  22. @Tim: I have searched high and low for local beer at the Stadium — none to be found. That’s why ballparks like PNC are so much better. Give me an Iron City beer any day over Bud Light.

  23. Wouldn’t you consider Nathan’s to be local to NY


    And if you were on 83rd and Amsterdam, you should have walked a few more blocks to Shake Shack and had some good food

  24. Citifield has a Shake Shack (Danny Meyer).

  25. Boss Hogg, why would you go to PNC Park and drink Iron City when you could be drinking, say, Yuengling?

  26. @Mr. P – Yuengling is horrible, that’s why (not that you asked me).

    If you really want local at PNC it’s all about Penn Pilsner. Blows away IC and Yuengling.

  27. no one goes to yankee stadium for the food. they go to talk on their cell phones and conduct business transactions.

    citifield on the other hand? some of the best food you will ever have at a stadium, since restauranteurs planned the food aspect of the stadium.

    the best part of the food at citi though? $5.75 for a shake shack burger… which is the EXACT same price as their burgers in madison sq park and the UWS. no price gouging the fans, which is rare as my steak these days.

  28. Citi has a Shake Shack? I never went to the UWS one (it arrived shortly after I moved), but I have heard it’s not quite the same experience as the MSP one, since I understand its “just” a sit down joint. Not only are the burgers great, but the shakes/concretes are spectacular, too.

  29. It’s not fair to list Famous Famiglia’s Pizza and then say “nothing local”, since they’re a New York institution. Sure, they’re widespread now, but that’s just due to their success; I know when I was in high school (some time ago…), the location at Madison and 97th was as authentic as a New York Pizza place gets.