Review: Great American Ball Park

Ah, it’s baseball season. Who cares if the Reds aren’t doing very well (okay, we care, but I think that we in Cincinnati are pretty used to losing pro sports teams), it’s still fun to go to the ballpark, grab a hot dog and a beer, and sit back and relax.

Problem is, the Reds ballpark has the worst traditional ballpark junk food ever. The “regular” hot dogs, Kahn’s, are tasteless– they’re slightly more moist versions of the bun they serve them on . In the Club Level (we had free tickets that came with Terry’s season ticket package), the food is pretty much the same as the rest of the park, except that it’s even more overpriced– adding insult to injury. I realize that I’ll pay too much at a ballpark for food, but does it have to be tasteless?

You do have other options: Penn Station is a nice choice, and as Veggie Option noted, you can get vegetarian hot dogs. You can also have a La Rosa’s pizza delivered to your seat, or buy it and other La Rosa’s products by the slice.

My favorite thing about the ball park?

Oh, yes. The onion machine. That and some brown mustard are the only thing that can rescue those hot dogs. And they don’t even sell fresh nachos with that nasty cheese dip anymore! It’s all prepackaged, except at one stand (and I have no idea where it is).

The Club seats really aren’t worth the extra money, except perhaps on a hot day when you’d like a mixed drink (gin and tonic is my choice) and some a/c or some healthy options, like fruit or chicken. It is really pretty, and the bathrooms are really clean.

Sometime, we’ll try to make it to The Machine Room before or after a game. We ended up going to Rock Bottom for a beer in the seventh inning– the score was 9-1. But it was a beautiful night for a ball game.

19 thoughts on “Review: Great American Ball Park”

  • Six fifty for a hotdog? Good god man why not sick a gun in my back and just take my wallet? I bet the sausage and brats taste like ass.
    A co-worker loves to tell the story of how one fall afternoon when the Reds were getting creamed he ended up in the Machine Room watching the Bengals.

  • Those pictures are so crisp and clear! I usually will “go” to a Reds game but spend my time wandering around the stadium. I can never sit still for longer than 30 minutes! Amazing the type of crowd a baseball game can draw!

  • Thanks, Cin Twin! Terry and I spent most of the third inning exploring the rest of the stadium. There’s always something to see or do there!

  • I like the white hotdogs there….brats? They taste like they are the Johnsonville brand, but I haven’t been there since last year. Maybe they changed brands.

  • Those are brats, and a decent option if you don’t like the hot dogs. But darnit, the Dayton Dragons– a single-A affiliate of the Reds– has better food, and they’re not a major league team! Hmpf.

  • I spent $40 at the ballpark last week. I’m kind of dumb that way sometimes. For that money, I got:
    – 2 Big Red Smokeys (metts, I guess?)
    – 1 bag popcorn
    – 4 beers (aka “where they get you”)

    It’s enough to make me want to travel to Columbus for one of the Clippers’ “Dime-A-Dog” nights.

  • I think Big Red Smokeys are metts. I think we spent about the same– one gin and tonic for me, three beers for Terry, two hot dogs.

  • I am with you on the dogs. I was just playing golf at a random course outside of Baltimore and got an all beef hot dog on the turn and it was great. I immediately thought to myself, why can’t the Reds have this? It was double the size, eight times the flavor and only cost four bucks.

  • Im with you 5chw4r7z, I have been boycotting the obscene pro sports scene since the stadium fiasco. Back around 2000 I won second place in CityBeats That’s Soooo Cincinnati contest with this.
    “Taxing me to buy a football stadium for a millionaire, that houses only one team, an open-air stadium in a city that has unpredictable weather, that hosts only 10 games a year for a sport I don’t like, that will block the river from my city, and then, if I do want to go, making me pay an outrageous price to watch millionaires play millionaires.”

  • sadly, i love ballpark food and can drop a large amount of cash at a game. do they have the goetts dogs again this year?

  • As Julie said, whenever I walk into a Major League ballpark, I understand as I pass through the gate that I will be paying obscene prices for food and drink. I understand. I get it. And honestly? It’s OK. Really.

    But there is no excuse for charging such exorbitant prices for such bad food. I would think that Reds/GABP front office people would be embarrassed by it.

    I’ve visited close to a dozen MLB parks through the years. And ALL of them have better food than Great American. And not just better…MARKEDLY better. The hot dogs at Wrigley are terrific. The garlic fries at AT&T Park in San Francisco are legendary and positively orgasmic (and guaranteed to ward off vampires for a lifetime). The knishes at Shea in New York, though pre-fabs, are still fairly tasty. The crab cakes at Camden Yards, though not up to most restaurant standards, are also quite good.

    The best bet at GABP is to stay with items that have names attached to them…Skyline cheese coneys…LaRosa’s pizza…Montgomery Inn pulled pork sandwiches.

    But when I go to a ball game, I want a hot dog. I guess for the time being, I’ll stick with the Big Red Smokey…and smother it with mustard and onions.

  • You’ve never told me about the garlic fries! We should have used those free plane tickets to go to San Francisco.

  • k– at a later game, I got a goetta dog. Flavorful, but kinda dry.

    Jaime– got the garlic fries. They would have been better had the fries actually been crisp and not half-cooked.

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