Tag Archives: nationals park hard times
Posted by Kurt Smith
The Nationals Park food menu offers a few items that are uniquely D.C., a few items that reflect the taste of the region, and a couple items that are popular in other National League East cities for some odd reason.
Below I’ve included some of my favorites here to help you decide what to eat at Nationals Park.
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Nationals Park Food Tip #1: Ben’s Chili Bowl. The Chili Half-Smoke from Ben’s Chili Bowl is a spicy all beef sausage, with Ben’s special recipe chili piled on, along with cheese, chopped onions and yellow mustard. In my opinion, it’s the best food at Nationals Park.
It’s a truly amazing chili dog, just grab some napkins and maybe a spoon for the abundant chili. Ben’s also has chili cheese fries and chili burgers, and they don’t skimp on the chili or cheese. I persuaded my brother to try one at a game, and three innings later he was getting another.
Nationals Park Food Tip #2: Hard Times Café. Hard Times is a local chili and burgers chain, so most locals are familiar with it. Hard Times’ nachos—covered with spicy chili, real cheese, sour cream, jalapenos and onions—are one of the better food deals in Nats Park, with easily enough for two people. I’m a big fan.
Last I checked Hard Times also offers a popular Frito pie, chili dogs, chicken wings, and a Cincinnati-style “Chili Mac”, chili and cheese served over spaghetti noodles.
Nationals Park Food Tip #3: Chesapeake Bay Crab Company. Since crabs are a thing in the area, the Nats have a stand selling crab cake grilled cheese sandwiches on large slices of buttered bread. Ballpark plus seafood equals very pricey, but it is a big sandwich.
You can also get crab balls or crab nachos. The nachos are Old Bay kettle chips topped with crab queso, roasted corn and salsa. They’re not as big as the Hard Times nachos, but it’s definitely something different and worth trying.
Nationals Park Food Tip #4: Haute Dogs & Fries. For the classic ballpark food, Haute Dogs & Fries has some innovative offerings of gourmet beef dogs on New England rolls, including the Haute dog with brown onion relish, mayonnaise and celery salt, and a Banh Mi dog with jalapeno, carrots, cucumber slaw, cilantro and sriracha mayo.
That’s just some examples…they might be different when you visit. Hand cut fries too. Haute Dogs is one of those cheap hot dog joints that is popular enough that even when they’re not cheap at the ballpark they’re still good.
Nationals Park Food Tip #5: See. You. Tater. See. You. Tater. is named for MASN announcer Bob Carpenter’s signature home run call. This joint is about chicken wings and tater tots: wings come in flavors like Buffalo, sweet & spicy BBQ, lemon garlic butter, Old Bay or mango Caribbean jerk.
The tots are the big draw though…a pile of tater tots can be smothered with Buffalo chicken and blue cheese, pork belly and picked cucumbers (called the “Intentional Wok”), BBQ sauce and mac and cheese, or my personal favorite, the Chesapeake Bay with crab meat and crab queso.
Again, probably a good idea to grab a fork to eat these.
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Nationals Park Food Tip #6: Enzo’s Pizza. Enzo’s serves up pretty good pizza in my opinion, at least by ballpark standards, with thin crust and ample pepperoni. It’s greasy stuff though…pat it with a napkin if you care about that.
At present there is only cheese and pepperoni, if I see any specialty pizzas I’ll let you know. The pepperoni slice is only slightly more expensive than the cheese slice. Or you can get a full pie for a head-shaking price.
Nationals Park Food Tip #7: La Casita Pupuseria. Yep, seven items in I’m already up to three stands serving up some variation of nachos (and I’m not done yet). La Casita Pupuseria is a popular chain in the area with five locations in Maryland, plus a food truck.
Okay so maybe pupusas aren’t exactly nachos…they’re somewhere between nachos and gyros, a thick tortilla covered with typical burrito fillings like chicken or pork, tomatoes, lettuce, cheese etc. It’s a great ballpark snack, easy to carry around if a bit messy.
Nationals Park Food Tip #8: Steak of The Union. I’m impressed that Steak of The Union has managed to stick around serving cheesesteaks, given how popular Philadelphia fans are here. But it’s an authentic Philly cheesesteak, “wit” fried onions, peppers and Cheez Whiz.
And of course, more nachos…you can get a truly daunting plate of cheesesteak nachos here, with the all-important whiz glop and cheesesteak meat for that Philly flavor.
Nationals Park Food Tip #9: Melissa’s Field of Greens. Field of Greens stand offers mushroom burgers, salads, wraps, and hummus; it’s a good spot for vegan sorts. Melissa’s Produce is actually a thing; they’re based in California and have a stand in Yankee Stadium too.
Last I looked, the stand had a Portobello mushroom burger with provolone and roasted red peppers, and they even had veggie cheesesteaks and crab cakes. The meat in the cheesesteak is wheat protein made by Vegadelphia; I’m guessing wheat protein isn’t gluten-free.
Finally, it takes some walking, but the Scoreboard Pavilion in right field is home to some cool spots:
Nationals Park Food Tip #10: Jammin’ Island BBQ. The Jammin’ Island grill near the Loft has very spicy jerk ribs and chicken cooked on a charcoal grill, of which you can get a combo plate with sweet potato fries. You can eat while standing at ample counter space with a view of the field.
I’ve read a lot from Nats fans start declaring Jammin’ Island to be the hidden gem at Nats Park. Employees sometimes hand out samples, which frequently result in purchases.
Nationals Park Food Tip #11: Shake Shack. The Shake Shack is a Citi Field staple (there’s one in Philly’s ballpark now too) but it is equally popular here; lines get very long for the Shackburger, a fresh beef patty topped with lettuce, cheese, tomato and (thousand island style) Shack Sauce on a potato roll. Shell out a few bucks for an extra patty.
There’s also thick milkshakes excellent enough to have a separate (much shorter) line, and I can definitely vouch for the quality of the fries too.
Nationals Park Food Tip #12: Box Frites. If you like fries, Box Frites (another Citi Field delicacy, SMH) is it…crispy boardwalk-style fries with several dipping sauces that change periodically. You might find smoky bacon or black pepper parm sauce or something like that. Try the garlic parmesan fries…you’ll thank me.
They have several unusual hot dogs here, like a Frites dog or BLT dog. For a fee you can get additional sauce.
I’m really just scratching the surface here; Nationals Park has a seriously long menu. But if you need help deciding what the best food at Nationals Park is, hopefully this helps.
Lots more tips where that came from…be sure to check out my complete guide to Nationals Park! Whether you’re a regular or first timer, there’s lots of tips to help you out.
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