The White Sox are rebuilding after trading off some off their top talent for a haul of prospects, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy yourself at a game this summer.
Sox Park, the Cell, Guaranteed Rate Field, whatever they’re calling it these days, long has been known for great tailgating, and even better food and beer offerings in the park.
The South Side ballpark constantly updates to keep up with changing tastes, and has an array of vegetarian options as well as gluten-free sandwiches, hamburgers, hot dogs, pizza and beer. You can even find something if you’re a vegan.
In recent years, Guaranteed Rate Field pioneered buzzed-about items like an ice cream sundae in a baseball helmet. The menu is diverse, like Sox fans: There’s elote, pierogi, Cuban sandwiches, Andouille sausage, Oreo churros, tamales, Polish sausage, Italian beef, Irish Nacho Helmets, bacon on a stick and more.
This season, the White Sox leveled up their already strong craft beer game, inking deals with Goose Island, Bell’s, Founder’s, Modelo and Pabst Blue Ribbon. You can find a number of beers from Chicago-area craft breweries such as Revolution, Metropolitan, Off Color, Solemn Oath and Two Brothers. The new Craft Kave at Guaranteed Rate Field has got Yum Yum from Northwest Indiana’s own Three Floyds, Rick Bayless’ Tocayo and Hop Butchers’ Good Ryes Wear Black.
It’s also rolled out a host of new menu items, including Beggar’s Deep-Dish Pizza, Essenti Caramel Praline Ice Cream Bars and a Triple Play BBQ Sandwich that piles high jalapeno cheddar sausage, barbecue pulled pork and Vienna Beef smoked brisket on a Kaiser roll.
The club level has some truly impressive new dishes, like a Choco Kebab, a Latin vegetable salad with cilantro lime dressing, and a 16-inch Mac & Cheese Grilled Cheese that can come with or without brisket.
The Times headed to Guaranteed Rate Field to sample some of the new concessions. Here’s what we found out:
Nothing is more all-American than packing away some encased meat at a baseball game. Guaranteed Rate Field has some great sausages, including the Comisky Dog that’s a Chicago-style hot dog you can get in either regular or foot-long length. A new offering is The Heater, which is available in Sections 116, 126, 139 and 535.
It brings the heat with a Johnsonville jalapeno cheddar sausage that’s smothered with spicy coleslaw and drizzled with Sriracha mayo. It’s hot, but in a way that’s palatable to the masses.
The creaminess of the coleslaw dampens the spiciness, and the kick isn’t readily apparent with the first bite. But the simmering heat has a slow build, and you’ll start to feel it after awhile.
It’s still not so caliente as to put off anyone who might find blander food more in his or her comfort zone. The Heater hits its mark as a tasty alternative to a hot dog.
— Joseph S. Pete
The beginning and end points of baseball season don't have the most agreeable weather for sitting outside. The wind, rain and maybe even the snow can be in the forecast.
At that point you may want something that's hot, and luckily Guaranteed Rate Field will have just that. Extra points for creativity go to the cleverly named Wok Off Noodles & Rice booth.
The options are simple as stated in the title, with the headliner being a package of egg lo mein noodles, and vegetables mixed in. It's a classic, simple, more or less Americanized Asian cuisine option.
The lo mein noodles are quality, having a decent soft texture and salty taste from the soy sauce. The vegetables are also a smooth addition and aren't too crunchy as some variations might offer. The chicken gives something nice to boot that's salty and chewy.
The dish goes for $12, can be served mild or spicy, and is a great option your body and taste buds can warm up to.
— Kale Wilk
Veeck as in Wreck Burger
The Craft Kave on the right field line boasts an impressive array of eight craft burgers, and the most towering of all is the Veeck as in Wreck burger. The Himalayan mountain of a burger pays tribute to “Sport Shirt Bill” Veeck, the legendary Sox owner who added the exploding scoreboard that shoots fireworks after every home run and after some games.
The pairing of a double patty and American cheese is a classic, like adding players’ last names to jerseys, which Veeck pioneered. The outrageously steep pile of onion rings is a fitting homage to a man known for zany promotions like the Disco Demolition Night he staged with Steve Dahl. It's a complete meal with the side dish thrown in, like a French fry-stuffed Primanti Bros. sandwich, that sells for $12.
— Joseph S. Pete
High Cheese Burger
Typically chili and cheese is saved for hotdogs, but adding them to a burger is a whole different ball game.
The High Cheese Burger is a tasty option for those who aren't afraid to get a little messy while chowing down. Not only are you getting two juicy patties, but also some sharp nacho cheese and delicious chili salsa.
The patties naturally have a smooth beef taste, but then have an agreeable combo with the creamy nacho cheese and the slight spiciness of the chili. You'll want some napkins at the ready as one bite is bound to leave your lips or cheeks with chili cheese residue. A drink is probably a good addition with this, too.
Out of the burgers available from the Craft Kave, this one is on the lower side of the prices at $12. Each bite of chili cheese beef goodness is worth it as this style is not on the side of more common burger options or combos.
— Kale Wilk
Four Bagger Burger
There’s double cheeseburgers and triple cheeseburgers, but the Four Bagger Burger at the Craft Kave is a real home run of meat.
It’s no frills: just four thick quarter-pound patties layered with melted American cheese. That’s right, it’s a pound of beef. And we’re talking juicy, top-grade beef.
The Four Bagger is $15, but you probably won’t need to eat afterward for a week. You can wash it down with one of 75 different craft beers, including from Munster’s Three Floyds, in the newly rebranded craft beer bar on the right field line.
The view is spectacular, and the burgers even more so. Other food options in the Craft Kave include burgers topped with Italian beef and giardiniera, or Italian sausage, marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese.
— Joseph S. Pete
Wild Pitch Burger
Sometimes it's a hit or miss (or rather a swing and a miss) ingredient with some, but if you're a fan of mushrooms consider the Wild Pitch Burger from the Craft Kave.
If mushrooms are to your liking, you won't be disappointed. The kitchen gives a generous serving on top of some Swiss cheese that already has melted nicely on the patty.
The classic mushroom and Swiss combo on a burger is a good choice for a taste deviation. It has a gentle flavor different from the sharpness of the typical slice of cheddar or American. The mushrooms are soft and moist, going along perfectly with the juiciness of the burger. The onions are a good addition, too, with a subtle zest to the smooth flavor.
In regards to pricing among the burgers offered at the Craft Kave, the Wild Pitch sits in the middle at $13. While on the pricey side, these burgers will fill you up.
— Kale Wilk
Southside Mini Donuts
You've stuffed your gullet with more than peanuts and Cracker Jacks, but you've still got a little room for dessert.
The Southside Mini Donuts in Sections 110, 115 and 531 will satisfy any sweet tooth. You get five piping hot doughnuts in a small white bag slicked with grease, or deliciousness if you prefer. They’re deep-fried and dusted with a mix of cinnamon and sugar.
The Mini Donuts taste like a mixture of churros and elephant ears. They’re about the size of the mini doughnuts you might find at the grocery store, but they’re far more satisfying because they’re fresh out of the frier. There’s just something primal and elemental about warm dough.
It’s a worthy addition to the plethora of dessert options at Guaranteed Rate Field that include soft serve, warm cookies, waffle cones, helmet sundaes, churros, sno-cones, theater box candy and root beer floats.
— Joseph S. Pete