Tampa Bay Rays announce new foods for 2016 season

The Rays fan versus food challenge

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Just in time for Opening Day at Tropicana Field, the Tampa Bay Rays have unveiled new ballpark food options.

“You are going to see a lot of Cuban recipes in the building, a lot of products that you find within the region, seafood, produce … That’s really our mantra this season,” Tampa Bay Rays Executive Chef Matteo Casini said.

On Tuesday the Rays let reporters taste test some of the new menu items. Pipo’s Original Cuban Cafe is one of the new restaurants fans will get to enjoy during the game. Another rookie vendor is Green Bench Brewing Company. Green Bench will brew and serve a special craft beer, which will only be available during home games.

“It’s the Rays 2-Seam Blonde (Ale), and for us it was a great beer to make. It’s light, refreshing, something you can drink throughout the game in the summertime and any other time of year,” Green Bench Brewing Company’s Nathan Stonecipher said.

Every year the Rays host a fan versus food challenge. Past challenges have included huge burgers, but this year Chef Casini added a twist – with a five-course mega meal.

The mega meal includes a pound of brisket, pound of pork, pound of macaroni and cheese, pound of chicken wings and pound of French fries. Then there are four slices of garlic Texas toast. “You have 30 minutes to complete it and if you do so, you get two tickets to the next game and a T-Shirt that says you survived,” Casini said.

Opening Day for the Rays is this Sunday, April 3, against the Toronto Blue Jays. If you have plans to catch a ball game this season, you’d better bring your appetite.


Rays press release:

Top new additions at concourse stands for the 2016 season include:

  • Pipo’s Café—serving an award-winning menu of Cuban and Latin dishes for more than 30 years in Tampa Bay, Pipo’s will serve their delicious Cuban sandwiches, empanadas, and fried plantains from locations in Centerfield Street and the first base concourse.
  • Cuban Favorites—serving up authentic Cuban-style sandwiches, Cuban-inspired hot dogs, and a sustainably-sourced fried grouper sandwich with cilantro sauce, lettuce and tomato on Cuban bread.
  • Ybor Dog—will feature a signature Kayem all-beef jumbo hot dog with picadillo sauce, as well as perennial favorites chili-cheese dogs topped with bacon, or BBQ dogs with pulled barbecue pork.
  • Burger Up—introduces the “Triple B” Sandwich with hot roast beef, fried bologna, white American cheese, grilled onions, sliced tomato, apple jalapeno coleslaw and 1,000 island dressing on a Kaiser roll.

At the popular Everglades Brewhouse in Centerfield Street, exciting new menu items include:

  • Buffalo Chicken Sliders—crispy chicken medallions, Red Hot sauce, shredded lettuce and bleu cheese dressing on flour-dusted potato buns.
  • The Ripper Dog—natural casing hot dog, deep fried and served with house-made kettle chips and your choice of chili and cheese or traditional horseradish, mustard and sauerkraut toppings.
  • Smokehouse Burger—custom-ground, char-grilled burger cooked to medium and topped with smoked bacon and American cheese on a toasted bun, served with fresh Bibb lettuce, sliced tomato, red onion, pickle chips and house-made kettle chips.
  • Fan vs. Food Challenge—serious eaters can try to finish 1 pound each of sliced brisket, pulled pork, BBQ chicken wings, macaroni and cheese, and French fries with four slices of Texas toast for two free tickets to a game, a t-shirt and bragging rights.

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