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On Monday night the Nationals unveiled for an invitation crowd the four new concession options brought to Nationals Park by the Union Square Hospitality Group. Shake Shack (which has already taken Dupont Circle by storm), El Verano Taqueria, Blue Smoke Barbecue, and Box Frites are side-by-side along the Miller Lite Scoreboard Walk in Center Field, and will be open 2 1/2 hours before every game. (There will also be $5 "happy hour" beer specials on the Scoreboard Walk, starting 2 1/2 hours before every game for the rest of the season.)
The area behind the scoreboard has also been "refreshed," with new furniture, plants, trees, herbs (really!), and synthetic turf to give a "backyard" feel. There are also 14 "shade sails" now erected over the area to help keep fans waiting in line for the new eats from falling over in the heat; the sails are supposed to reduce ambient temps by up to 20 degrees, and also provide UV ray protection of up to nearly 94 percent.
The Nationals are hoping that this revamped spot becomes an "iconic" area at the ballpark, with COO Andy Feffer explaining that the stadium already has "cool clubs," but they are private and not open to everyone as these will be. As for whether they will be able to handle what could be quite a crush of hungry foodie fans, Feffer said "We shall see," while noting that since the USHG folks have existing operations at Citi Field in New York, "if anybody's prepared, these guys are."
And, is there a chance that these four stands could ever open to the public on non-gamedays? Feffer says they've talked about it, and that it's a possibility down the road, when the area's worker-and-resident population expands further.
I took a slew of pictures of the food and signage (two of my favorite photo subjects, even surpassing shots of buildings!). The eateries will open to fans on Tuesday at 4:30, before the 7:05 Nats-Cardinals game. (As always, 400 $5 tickets are available at the box office on game day.) The photo gallery also includes photos of the menus if the suspense is too much to bear.
UPDATE: The Post's Dan Steinberg has more on the new offerings.
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E. Coli Palooza says: (6/13/11 11:31 PM)
$4.75 for corn-on-the-cob?? More like "Danny Meyer Corn Holes the Fans." FUDM.


Alan says: (6/14/11 9:04 AM)
Hey JD, you know anything about that huge red tent that just went up outside the 1st base gate? It seems to be a permanent structure since it's anchored into the sidewalk.


JD says: (6/14/11 9:10 AM)
@Alan, no haven't heard about it. If it's kind of down nestled next to the staircase, that's where they sometimes hold private events, so maybe it's for that.



JD says: (6/14/11 9:12 AM)
And, in other news, thanks to Mr. Palooza (who's trolled under scads of different user names in the past few months), I've decided to finally pull the trigger and require a registered account in order for people to post comments. See the links below to register or to log on if you already registered. (If you've forgotten your account info, the log in page gives you an option to reset your password.)



JC in DC says: (6/14/11 9:53 AM)
Tuesday is also $2 ticket night!

link


BillP says: (6/14/11 10:09 AM)
So now that Nats Park has traded DC area icon Five Guys for NY's own Shake Shack, how long until they replace Ben's Chili Bowl with Papaya King?!?!?!

Snarkiness aside, as a frequent Nats Park visitor, I am glad they are doing more to utilize the Scoreboard Plaza area but they'll never be able to convince me that these changes could not have been made prior to opening day!


SML says: (6/14/11 10:59 AM)
I don't understand why anyone would desire to pay stadium prices for stadium food on non-gamedays. I get the 'hood food issues, but come on.

$5 happy hour pre-game beer specials is pretty good, too. Nice move Lerners, for once.


Tim says: (6/14/11 11:27 AM)
thanks for the photos. loving the signage for all these eateries. i used to resent the party scene at nats park, but hey, if it's bringing in the fans, might was well join in. good fries = win.


thedofc says: (6/14/11 2:17 PM)
UGH! I had hoped that the taco stand I heard was coming would offer more vegetarian options. I suppose there will at least be more french fry and shake options. Portabella burgers you disgust me.


JH says: (6/14/11 2:34 PM)
@Alan--the tent was put up for Ladies Night, which is tomorrow night at the park.


E. Coli Palooza says: (6/16/11 4:45 AM)
Oh, come on, JD. While I've ~ very occasionally ~ posted snarky comments I'm hardly "a troll." I've gone legit and am fully registered! I'll play well with others. Can't promise I won't post an occasional smartass remark though. :) Love ya, JD.

ECP


FourthandEye says: (6/19/11 10:58 AM)
>> "I don't understand why anyone would desire to pay stadium prices for stadium food on non-gamedays. I get the 'hood food issues, but come on."

The burgers at the Nats Shake Shack are priced the same as the burgers at DuPont. I did notice the Soda was much more but I think all vendors at the stadium are instructed to sell the soda at the same price - probably a deal with Coke...

I didn't think Box Frites was anything special. Maybe the same as Boardwalk Fries but with fancier dipping sauces? I had higher expectations.

As for Shake Shack, burger was roughly the same quality as other locations (DuPont,NYC). But I usually like to go heavy on mustard on my Shake Shack burgers and the stadium mustard isn't the same as the mustard at the Shake Shacks. Tangent: other burger places I like ketchup but b/c Shake Shack burgers are so rich I find ketchup doesn't add much to the flavor profile while the mustard does.

All in all, I think I'll stick with hot dog vendors when the attendance is high likes this weekends O's game. I like Shake Shack burgers but not worth standing in line for 40 minutes again.

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