White Sox Play It Safe With 2024 New Food Options

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Hey, baseball fans — remember those days of ridiculously large sandwiches and meats on a stick? When stadium food would create viral buzz to start the season with gimmicky offerings that would grab the attention of even the mildest baseball fan?

Opening Day for the Chicago White Sox is Thursday, March 29 versus the Detroit Tigers at Guaranteed Rate Field, and it’s a good time to note how the terrain has changed since 2020 when Major League Baseball played a regular season without fans attending games. COVID’s impact is still being measured, but the pandemic is one of the culprits behind a stadium food lineup that has diverged from what you’d find at your local state fair. If Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf gets his wish and the team moves along the Chicago River in the South Loop, expect to see more changes in closer competition with downtown restaurants.

Perhaps one reason to ditch the gimmicks is that fans are into ballpark staples — the hot dogs, and Cracker Jack. If they want a full meal, they can stop by at any number of restaurants. Or they can have DoorDash or Uber Eats deliver when they come home. That’s not to say stadium gimmicks are dead, but they are few and far between.

A corned beef on rye.
This corned beef sandwich, “Settling a Beef,” is found in the Stadium Club.

Over the last two years, the White Sox have hosted midseason food refreshes. With a team that’s underperformed, it’s critical to drum up interest and convince frustrated fans to visit the ballpark to try something new. MLB also began partnering with the Infatuation with a presence at EEEEEATSCON, a festival held by the “restaurant discovery platform” in different cities. They’ve partnered with a few restaurants, like Antique Taco, over the years on special one-off items. While these items aren’t available in the ballpark, the fest presents a branding opportunity and a way to grow the fanbase, something baseball has struggled with over the years.

It’s a shift from when current White Sox Senior Vice President, Sales & Marketing Brooks Boyer blankly stared at me at a Sox Media Preview held in 2016 when I asked him — while we stood behind home plate — if the Sox would ever partner with local chefs in the same way the Chicago Cubs have partnered with Hot Doug’s, which has a stand at Wrigley’s bleachers.

So what’s new foodwise at Guaranteed Rate Field for 2024?

Like most years, the most changes come for folks at the club level and in the suites. In baseball, coaching and player development is vital and teams gain reputations if they see success in drafting and then nurturing players. For example, the Sox have built a Cuban pipeline with players like Minnie Miñoso and Jose Abreu.

In terms of the food, the Sox have cranked out really good milkshakes. The horchata churros milkshake unveiled in 2022 was a game changer in 2023, the team allowed fans to spike the offering. Sweet drinks are tricky — ask McDonald’s — but the Sox showed restraint in delivering a drinkable dessert that didn’t rattle your teeth too much.

The Campfire Milkshake

The Jack and Coke Float comes with ice cream.

This season, the milkshake lineup expands with the addition of the Campfire Milkshake. It’s a chocolate shake with graham cracker and toasted marshmallow. Shakes are Instagram bait — they’re pretty and look good on the platform. Available at the Huntington Stadium Club, this item proves the Sox should be soaring on the next rankings from Milkshakes Prospectus. Yes, that’s a fictional publication.

The team has also unrolled Jack and Coke ice cream floats in Sections 124, 144, 154, and 538. Yes, those in the upper bowl, the 500 level, actually have some new options.

These new baguette sandwiches are designed with portability in mind.

For suites, the Sox are finding their French side. While the clubhouse could use a few veterans, they’re not bringing back retired Braves legend Jeff “Frenchy” Francoeur. Instead, they’ve launched a line of sandwiches on baguettes called Walking Sticks. Find them in turkey, roast beef, and ham versions.

Keeping it simple, the Sox are leaning into smash burgers. It remains to be seen if fans will get that nice sear that produces those burnt crispy bits that make those thin patties tasty. There are two versions. At the ChiSox Bar & Grill (which is no longer run by Gibsons Restaurant Group), the Smoke House Smash is a single patty with pulled pork, barbecue sauces, an onion ring, and beer cheese sauce. The Southside Smash burger comes in In-N-Out Burger-style cartons. It’s topped with American cheese, pickles, and a secret sauce. Both come on brioche buns.

Kind of looks like a burger from a West Coast chain.

A smash burger with barbecue pork and onion ring is kind of retro.

For vegetarians, the biggest news is the Sox will now serve Impossible brand hot dogs at Section 155 and selected stands. Impossible burgers are available at all grill stands. There’s also a spinach empanada in Section 160.

Traditional brats and Italian sausages will also get a makeover as Johnsonville is out. The Sox have gone local by bridging in Ogden Foods.

Look for a full rundown on Guaranteed Rate Field’s food — and beer — later this season.

Guaranteed Rate Field

333 West 35th Street, , IL 60616 (312) 674-1000 Visit Website

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