New Foods and Renovations Come to Miller Park
Today the Brewers unveiled the extensive renovations to Miller Park's food and beverage offerings. The upgrade is the largest project undertaken in the stadium since opening in 2001 and was funded entirely by the Brewers ownership and Delaware North, the concessions manager.
The largest structural changes are on the field and loge levels, on the first and third base sides. You might remember from last season that there were oval-shaped concessions stands that divided the main walkways in two. The field side was always crowded, and the side facing the parking lots was pretty much dead space. Those roadblocks are now gone and replaced with a whole new layout that opens up the walking space and adds some new bar islands that don't block the view to the field. These areas on the field level are now called the Third Base Ward and the First Base Ward, marked with arched signage reminiscent of the sign welcoming people to Milwaukee's Third Ward neighborhood.
The design of the new stands is modern and industrial, with black baseball-related buzzwords like “tararrel” and “cheer” suspended above the bars. The signs above permanent concession stands are now made from brick with dramatic uplighting. Even the concession carts, serving things like beer and Dippin' Dots got new, easier to read, signage.
Perhaps the largest change fans will notice is that Hospitality Democracy, the company owned by Joe Sorge, has practically taken over the concession stands. AJ Bombers is no longer relegated to a makeshift tent outside the stadium: Now there are permanent AJB stands located in multiple spots around the stadium to get your burger fix. The AJ Burger with American cheese and bomber sauce, the Milwaukee Burger with colby jack, Nueske's bacon and Schlitz onions, and tater tots are all available. Burgers come in a paper box so they won't get smushed on the way back to your seats.
The same is true for Smoke Shack, which now occupies multiple concession stands. Three different barbecue sandwiches are available: chopped brisket, smoked pulled pork and a dry rubbed tri-tip. They're served on substantial, pillowy buns with Smoke Shack's house BBQ sauce.
Also from Hospitality Democracy are the brand new J. Agave tacos and tequila stands. Four types of tacos are offered. Carne asada beef is topped with onions, salsa verde and cilantro; al pastor tops chipotle-marinated pork with pineapple and cilantro; shredded chipotle chicken gets a garnish of avocado, cilantro lime sauce and radishes; and finally a vegetarian option comes with mushrooms, sweet corn, black bean puree, cotija cheese and cilantro lime sauce. Nachos grande are also available at these stands, which makes me believe that the popular nacho carts will be no more.
A couple stands also serve frozen custard now, though it's the soft serve style as opposed to the custard machines you'd see at Kopp's, for instance. Even so, when you serve dessert in a mini Brewers helmet, it's all good.
Zaffiro's is a new vendor this year, and they're serving up individual—but generous—pepperoni pizzas. Fans of their pizza will be thrilled to see that it's the same super thin cracker crust that they're familiar with. Share it with a couple of friends for a great snack.
Other new foods this season include a Klement's smoked four-cheese sausage, mac and cheese in three different varieties, pastrami and braised turkey sandwiches, Sargento fried cheese curds, Bavarian pretzels and mini corn dogs, to name a few.
On the beverage front, the most exciting news is the addition of the Local Brews bar on the first base side of the loge level. It features 24 taps that are exclusively from Wisconsin, including some surprises like One Barrel Brewing from Madison, MobCraft, Raised Grain, Good City, Karben4 and Third Space. One tap is dedicated to Miller Lite, but this is Miller Park after all.
Also new in the beverage category is a brandy old fashioned on tap. It's available at the bar on the third base side of the loge level, though it may be available in other spots as well. It's quite tasty.
This renovation is decidedly an upgrade and gives the food and beverage offerings at Miller Park a cohesiveness that you probably didn't realize was lacking until it was improved. More adventurous fans will look forward to trying items like the tacos and new sausages. But don't worry if you're a hot dog and chicken tender fan, staples like those are still around.