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Posted by Kurt Smith
The Progressive Field food menu, in my humble opinion, is one of the best in baseball. The home of the Cleveland Guardians not only showcases iconic local restaurants (and who knew that Cleveland was such a great foodie town?), it offers a lot of the best in basic baseball food…like hefty foot long hot dogs and true ballpark mustard.
What the best food at Progressive Field is of course a matter of opinion, but I’ve picked out ten that I think you’ll be happy with, including some new food items they’ve added to the Progressive Field menu for 2023. This should help your taste buds if you’re a first time visitor especially.
Most all of these are on the lower level, although some of the concession stands have additional outposts in the upper level.
I’ll start with some amazeballs sandwich selections, after this quick word from our sponsor:
Progressive Field Food, Tip #1) Melt Bar & Grilled (Right Field District). Melt started in Lakewood with a simple goal: “gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches and lots of beer”. They have multiple types of large grilled cheese sandwiches at Guardians games, and the sandwiches are made with huge slices of Texas Toast and include a bag of chips.
Try the chorizo and potato or the mushroom sandwich with grilled onions…that might be the best vegetarian meal I’ve had at a game.
Recent additions to the menu: Melt now has mac and cheese bowls, including a Buffalo version topped with chicken. I trust these folks to get the taste right!
Progressive Field Food, Tip #2) Fat Head’s Brewery (Infield District). Fat Head’s is a North Olmsted brewery and sandwich shop known for large-sized sandwiches that they call “Headwiches” (because they’re the size of your head).
They have a “Fat Italian” – ham, salami, capicola, pepperoni and hot sausage with provolone, banana peppers and a hard-boiled egg; and a “Southside Slopes” – a kielbasa with pierogies, American cheese, grilled onions and horseradish sauce. The Slopes, incidentally, was voted #5 Best Sandwich in America by Maxim Magazine.
They make great craft beers too…including some award-winners at the Great American Beer Festival. If you like citrus beers in the summer, Fat Head’s is for you.
Recent addition to the menu: Pepper Jack bites! Crusted Pepper Jack cheese with ranch dressing included for dipping.
Progressive Field Food, Tip #3) Throwin’ Smoke BBQ (Main Concourse). Throwin’ Smoke isn’t a local eatery, just a cleverly named BBQ stand that was a long time coming to Cleveland’s ballpark. The sandwiches are definitely BBQ messy and you should probably sit down to eat one. They have a BBQ mac and cheese in a baseball helmet too (I would clean it out before wearing it).
You can get a pulled pork, chicken or beef brisket sandwich; get it topped with slaw, sharp cheddar and pickle chips. And the specialty sandwich is the Heater, any kind of meat with habanero BBQ sauce, jalapenos and pepper jack cheese. Don’t mess around with that one, seriously; get a beer to go with it.
Recent additions: They have a pork mac and cheese cone now…a waffle cone with mac and cheese and topped with Montgomery Inn pulled pork, cole slaw and BBQ sauce. In 2023, Throwin’ Smoke added mac and cheese brisket: mac and cheese again topped with that Montgomery Inn BBQ brisket, pickled crunchy onions, and BBQ sauce.
So there’s your sandwich selections, at least not counting what is basic ballpark food…but in Cleveland, they take ordinary ballpark items a step further…check out Happy Dog, for example!
Progressive Field Food, Tip #4) Happy Dog (Infield District). At the actual Happy Dog in Gordon Square, they have over 50 toppings, but at the Prog the pared down offerings are wacky enough. Witness the Slider Dog…topped with Froot Loops, mac and cheese and bacon. Wait, what? Froot Loops? Yes.
They have lots of other unusual options for baseball’s classic food here, so check it out. Last I looked there was a Dyngus Dog with red cabbage sauerkraut; a southern BBQ Dog with pulled pork, beer cheese, greens and caramelized onions; or a Summer Veggie Dog with tomatoes, cucumbers, cole slaw and chimichurri. If nothing else that’s healthier than Froot Loops.
All Happy Dog dogs are all-beef quarter-pound sizable hot dogs on poppy seed buns. I would get a fork for the heftier ones. Froot Loops…wow.
Recent additions: Going healthy? Try the Wild Thing…a Field Roast vegan dog topped with house made vegetable chili, shredded cheddar, diced onions, and (of course) Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. Your ballgame meal is complete.
Progressive Field Food, Tip #5) Build-A-Burger (Main Concourse). The name Build-A-Burger invokes the obvious question: how many toppings can I pile on? We are paying ballpark prices here, so get your money’s worth. You can find this one in the left field corner.
Here you go: get an All-American burger with cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion and pickles…or make it interesting with a pulled pork burger topped with BBQ sauce slaw, sharp cheddar and bacon (bits or slices!).
Several types of fries here, which I’ve read are crispy and excellent. Chicken tenders too. Get them topped with pulled pork, queso blanco, and/or peppers and onions or just plain loaded.
Recent additions: The Southwest Burger is a 1/3 pound all beef patty with guacamole, pico de gallo, nacho cheese sauce, and chipotle crema on a brioche bun…new in 2023 is the Pimento Cheese and Bacon Burger, a 1/3 pound patty topped with pimento cheese, bacon, and shredded lettuce on a brioche bun. I presume you can add toppings to these as well.
Unfortunately I am told Dynomite Burger is no longer in the Prog…(sniff)
Never drive to Progressive Field without a plan…
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Progressive Field Food, Tip #6) Dante’s Inferno (Infield District). Dante’s Inferno is the pizza shop of Cleveland chef Dante Boccuzzi, the owner of several top-rated Cleveland restaurants.
No typical ballpark pizza, this…Dante’s actually has a spaghetti and meatball pizza, and yes, it does have noodles on it (not a lot though, so don’t worry about the carbs). Dante’s also has a spicy Inferno pizza with sausage, pepperoni, olives and hot peppers, and an above-average veggie pizza with zucchini, eggplant, mushrooms and basil walnut pesto. Or just plain or pepperoni.
Dante’s sells pizza by the pie, and it’s a good-sized pie for one.
I should probably rank these next selections higher, because they’re all great…just saying that the Prog is a super place to get your Mexican fix on:
Progressive Field Food, Tip #7) Barrio (Right Field District). Barrio is a Tremont-based eatery with build-your-own tacos; you can get chicken or chorizo tacos and they have a veggie “street corn” version too.
But I must add that Barrio does a very impressive plate of nachos; they feature melted and shredded cheese (yes, both), and several different salsas with chicken or chorizo for a small extra fee.
The chips are salty in my opinion, but it’s definitely an above average plate of nachos for a ballpark, and it can easily feed two.
Progressive Field Food, Tip #8) Momocho (Infield District). Momocho is an Ohio City joint owned by Eric Williams, another “Best Chef” award winner, this time by Scene readers. Momocho is all about nachos and quesadillas. The chips are made to order and heated in a giant rotisserie oven and served with homemade guac and salsa.
Your choices of toppings include chicken, Barbacoa pulled pork or chorizo sausage; they come with pickled jalapenos, green salsa and cilantro-lime cream. You can add extra queso, beans or salsa for a fee that is worth it.
I thought the Barrio nachos were slightly superior, and a couple of nice Indians fans whose opinion I asked at the train station agreed, but I will say the Momocho chips were less salty. And they’re definitely still a great plate of loaded nachos.
Progressive Field Food, Tip #9) Ohio City Burrito (Infield District). I read once that the burrito is an ideal ballpark food, that you can use your non-beer holding hand to hold it; I couldn’t agree more.
Ohio City Burrito is, as the name strongly implies, a burrito joint based in the Ohio City neighborhood; they take pride in the burrito rolling technique that is especially important for eating in a ballpark seat.
At the Prog outpost burrito types include chicken, pork carnitas, Barbacoa beef and a veggie (which is just minus the chicken or beef); burritos include rice, black beans, onions, peppers, cheese, lettuce, and a choice of salsa, guac and/or sour cream. They are all available in a bowl without that calorie-laden flour tortilla. OCB is also known for sweet homemade salsa.
Finally, even with the basics, the Guardians clearly care about your needs:
Progressive Field Food, Tip #10) Big Hot Dogs With Bertman’s Mustard (Everywhere). At Sausages & Dogs or Ballpark Classics stands, whatever…if you look around, most of the generic stands have those really hefty half pound (yes, half pound) hot dogs. These are like the footlongs you find at a lot of ballparks, only thicker…and with peppers, onions, and Bertman’s Ballpark Mustard piled on, it can be a great value by ballpark standards.
It’s been a few years since I’ve been to the Prog, but they used to have a Charred Dogs stand behind home plate. If you like the skin burnt on your dogs, it might be worth a look.
Read more about Bertman’s Mustard here…you’ll like this tale.
There you have it folks…ten great selections of menu items for your next game at Progressive Field. One word of caution…as of 2023, half of the stands are cashless, so you’ll need your credit card (or Apple Pay or Google Pay device). I’m guessing there will be more of that in the future.
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