Kansas City Royals Leading MLB – In Crazy Food

Apr 9, 2017

Aramark Executive Chef James Mehne shows off new food items like the truffle mac & cheese and lemon garlic rotisserie chicken during a tour of the renovated Diamond Club at Kauffman Stadium.
Credit Peggy Lowe / KCUR 89.3

Old-school Kansas City fans who prefer the standard stadium stuff – hotdogs, peanuts and Crackerjacks – may snub their noses at some of the new fare at Kauffman Stadium. But one thing is certain: the Royals are already winning in crazy food concoctions.

Kansas City takes two slots on USA Today’s ranking of “10 craziest ballpark foods for the 2017 MLB season”  – more than any other team.

No. 6 is the Royals’ “Sunrise Dog,” a hot dog loaded with bacon, cheese, white sausage gravy and topped with a fried egg. No. 2 is the “pulled pork patty melt,” complete with fried onions, coleslaw, a jalapeno pepper skewer and the bun is a funnel cake.

What was Aramark Executive Chef James Mehne thinking?

“It’s fun. It’s whimsical. It takes a little bit of all different parts of our ballpark here and puts it into one,” he says. “We try to do some fun crazy exciting new items every year.”

The Pork Patty Melt ranks No. 2 on USA Today's ranking of the 10 craziest ballpark foods for the 2017 season. It contains funnel cake, BBQ pulled pork, shredded cheese, fried onions, coleslaw, and a jalapeno popper skewer.
Credit Peggy Lowe / KCUR 89.3

This year the new food is also reflective of a remodel of the stadium’s Diamond Club, a restaurant and lounge area with three levels of seating area offering a direct view of the field.

During a tour Friday, Royals reps showed off the renovations, which include a modern grill, where fans can watch as their beer battered fish and chips or short rib cheese curds are made; a special craft cocktail bar and lots of sweets, including house-made cinnamon buns and ice cream with made-to-order flavors, chilled in 30 seconds with liquid nitrogen.

Kauffman Stadium’s last face lift was in 2009 and these new fixes are part of a plan to remodel different areas of the ballpark, said Toby Cook, the Royals vice president for publicity. There are also upgrades to the team store and other areas on the main concourse.

There’s also been a bit of a democratization of the Diamond Club, so fans with regular tickets can get some of the new foods and drinks.

“When you order things here inside the Diamond Club there’s actually a back area where people can get the exact same food if they’re just walking by,” Cook said. “And that’s a big deal for us because that allowed us to expand it to all 40,000 people who will be here on Opening Day.”

Mehne says they have been listening to what fans want – some in-season foods, upscale dishes, and outrageous takes on basic snacks, like nachos. There will still be the basics like hot dogs, hamburgers and popcorn, he says.

The Kansas City Baking Co., located in the Diamond Club at Kauffman Stadium, makes ice cream chilled in 30 seconds with liquid nitrogen.
Credit Peggy Lowe / KCUR 89.3

“We have a little bit of everything here,” Mehne says. “From our slow-roasted rotisserie plates, our liquid nitrogen ice cream, or Kansas City’s take on fried cheese curds and our fresh pub burgers.”

Peggy Lowe is investigations editor at KCUR and Harvest Public Media in Kansas City. She can be found on Twitter at @peggyllowe.