The Giants Versus the Royals, a World Series Food Fight

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Photo credit: StockFood

Sure, the San Francisco Giants have pitching ace Madison Bumgarner, but Kansas City’s Kauffman Stadium sits smack dab in the country’s barbecue epicenter. And the fleet-footed Royals seem to steal bases at will, but the City by the Bay’s status as a foodie mecca holds the concessions at AT&T Park to a high standard.

In anticipation of the first pitch to be thrown tonight in Game 1 of the World Series, Yahoo Food combed Yelp to find out which park hits a home run with its food.

Baseball fans visiting either park for the first time will find concessions as different as the teams they rep. AT&T Park truly reflects the culture of its surrounding community, housing a diverse group of restaurants. Many source locally and most serve a well-rounded mix of microbrews.

On the other hand, most of the food at Kauffman Stadium (lots of barbecue, of course, and a few clever twists on ballpark favorites) is cooked up by executive chef James Mehme. He and his crew smoke all their meats—up to 400 pounds of brisket and 600 slabs of ribs every other day—in the stadium’s own barbecue pit, conveniently located in right field. Kauffman might not have the delicious scent of the garlic that hangs in the air from Gilroy Garlic Fry at AT&T, but the homey smell of smoking hickory and oak can help any fan forget the score… for at least a few seconds.

The Yelp faithful logged 2,285 reviews for the overall AT&T Park experience, giving it a four-and-a-half star rating. Kansas City fans, not as socially passionate as their West Coast rivals, gave the overall stadium experience four stars based on 139 reviews. We guess they let the Royals do their talking for them. In the end, AT&T Park squeaked by in the overall ranking, helped no doubt by its diverse concessions.

A FEW YELP HIGHLIGHTS

Kathy P., a reviewer from Kingsburg, California who visited Kansas City over the summer, nicely summed up the differences between the two parks’ concessions in this post:

“We came to this stadium to root on the Giants and had a great experience. We asked a local and they said the best food at the stadium is the cheesesteak sandwich. Everyone in line claimed this was their favorite food there. I loved it! Super flavorful and very good portion size. The only thing is I’m used to ballparks having more small food carts that offer local favorites or twists from the normal concession stands.”

Kathy and other Giants fans with similar comments were probably thinking of standouts like Crazy Crab’z signature Dungeness crab sandwich, the Cha Cha bowl at Orlando’s Caribbean BBQ, and the rock cod tacos from Mijita.

But if Kauffman’s concessions trail a few points on diversity, Chef Mehme and his team are loading their rotation with a roster of new items for their World Series menu. Some hits include smoked crown chili (smoked burnt ends, smoked white beans, Boulevard IPA, ancho chile, smoked gouda), butternut squash bisque (with a spiced bacon pretzel stick and toasted pumpkin seeds), and a comforting turkey “Gobbler” (house roasted turkey breast, stuffing, and cranberry sauce with warm gravy on a fresh-baked roll). 

“At the game my boyfriend had the burnt ends and the ribs. He enjoyed both. I had the Pulled Pork Mac N Jack. It was absolutely amazing - you can’t go wrong with a pepper jack sausage, pulled pork, Mac n cheese with bacon! I also tried the Royal Bacon Bleu Fries. Also delicious,” Kimber B. of Sacramento, California wrote about Kauffman.

AT&T’s standout restaurants received solid reviews, but it seems like Mijita has a little work to do in the off-season. Here’s a quick rundown of that park’s concessions:

Crazy Crab’z: 140 reviews, 4.5 stars. “This is probably my favorite place to eat at AT&T Park.  How can you go wrong with 2 slices of sourdough dipped in ridiculous amounts of butter, grilled on a flat top, filled with delicious crab from the bay?! You just can’t!” Jen W., Reno, Nevada.

Orlando’s Caribbean BBQ: 43 reviews, 4.5 stars. “Easily the best food at AT&T park. I always make the trek out to center field to get a Cha Cha bowl. Think burrito bowl with jerk chicken and the amazing zucchini pineapple carrot salsa. I don’t know how they cut the veggies into noodle shape but it’s great,” Marty J., San Francisco, California.

Mijita: 121 reviews, 2.5 stars. “Bad food overall and overpriced. Our table of 5 all agreed that we will not be coming back,” Britton C., San Francisco, California.

Sheboygan Bratwurst Stands: 83 reviews and 4.5 stars. “Oooh, this is probably the best deal at the ballpark. A foot long Sheboygan with grilled onions and sauerkraut for less than 10 bucks. And if you love yourself enough, grab a side of garlic fries and an ice cold beer,” Carmen L., San Francisco, California.

Royals and Giants fans alike had plenty other comments about the stadium, too.

“Kauffman Stadium did not disappoint! I had a cheesy sausage with alfredo mac and cheese, bbq pork, and bacon on top. It was so good!” Leann P. of Crawfordsville, Indiana.

“Food is pretty standard, with a couple of standouts. 1 was a hot dog stand that had several different varieties from around the area. Also you can’t go to Kansas City without trying their BBQ,” Mark S., Jersey City, New Jersey.

“The food choices were decent, but I am a Giants girl. Baseball is not baseball without the smell of garlic wafting all over the place,” Clarice O., Concord, California.

Royals fans traveling to San Francisco will soon get their chance to smell the garlic at AT&T Park, while Giants fans will be taunted for the next few days by the aroma of barbecue wafting from the right field of Kauffman Stadium. Whichever team takes the series, fans at both stadiums have a lineup of winning menus to choose from.

Have a favorite restaurant, snack, or meal at either park? Let us know. And go ahead and make your prediction for the World Series winner.