The Giants held their annual media open house Wednesday, unveiling some upgrades to the ballpark and highlighting promotions and special events slated for the upcoming season. Of course, the big attractions as usual were the food offerings, as AT&T Park continues to find new ways of expanding fans’ waistlines in all sorts of delicious manners.
First, in non-food-related news, perhaps the most visible change to the ballpark will be out next to the Coca-Cola Fan Lot (where the Coke bottle, incidentally, will have a fresh paint job in honor of a seven-year extension of the soda company’s partnership with the Giants).
Gone is the Build-A-Bear Workshop and in its place will be a new social media center, which “will display social chatter of Giants fans in real time including tweets, photos from Instagram and polls from Facebook, all in real time.” The center, which will be named during its grand opening, will also feature a Peet’s Coffee Bar.
Also notable on the Promenade level: The From the Clubhouse shop, where fans can buy authenticated and game-used items, has been relocated and expanded to a spot right where fans enter the concourse off the ramp inside Willie Mays Gate. Nearby is a newly expanded ticket office and a large new walk-in Guest Services center, next to the Gilroy Garlic Fries stand.
The Giants will continue to lead the Majors in cool giveaways, which are listed here and include many World Series champions items, three bobbleheads, two gnomes and Giants announcers bottle stoppers.
The special events calendar also is packed, with highlights including Metallica Night, Elvis Presley Night and Until There’s a Cure Day featuring a Rod Beck bobblehead. A personal favorite: On Social Media Night (July 26), the Giants will recognize an idea posted to the McCovey Chronicles blog and give away a Marco Scutaro rain globe, in tribute to Scutaro’s legendary pose in the rain during the NLCS-clinching game. Both the fan who posted the idea to McC and the blogger who runs it will be included in the night’s events.
Remember that all special events require a special ticket in order to receive the giveaway item and participate in pregame parties.
Lots of sponsorship news, including Coca-Cola partnering with the Giants for a “Salute to the Military” program and Mumm Napa releasing two new Giants-branded sparkling wines. Fans will also be happy to hear the ballpark will have more than double the number of WiFi access points this season, as well as the addition of more than 400 mobile charging points.
But let’s get to what draws the most attention: the ballpark food. Pop-up bistros will appear at AT&T Park, and they’ll only be advertised on the @sfgiantfoodie Twitter feed, a la food trucks.
The list of new and featured stands, kiosks, carts and offerings is long, so I’ll paste it in directly at the bottom, after a selection of photos from the media open house. Keep in mind that the portion sizes shown here are much smaller than normal, since we’re sampling a wide range of offerings.
Poutine fries (fries with brown gravy and white cheddar cheese — alas, not traditional cheese curds)
SF Giant roll from Mashi’s Sushi.
Lamb burger from Murph’s Pub, Idaho Russet potatoes and buttery mashed potatoes from the Emerald Isle Potato Bar.
Original Joe’s burgers will be available at the Derby Grill Specialty Burger Stand on the Promenade level in left field. (The burgers were cut into very tiny pieces, so not photogenic.)
Giuseppe Bazurro’s popular Greek salad and chicken Caesar are now available as wraps.
Here’s the full food rundown from the press materials:
Promenade & View Levels
Vintage 58: A new wine bar with an exclusive location behind home plate on the Promenade Level featuring tasting room décor and offering selected varietals from various regions.
McCovey’s BBQ Restaurant Kiosk: A new location for McCovey’s tasty BBQ at the top of O’Doul’s Gate featuring pulled pork nachos.
Say Hey Sausage Kiosk: A new portable kiosk on the Promenade Level featuring a variety of specialty sausages including Atomic Hot & Half Pound Polish kielbasa sausage and Bavarian Pretzels.
Chicago Dog Cart: Located directly behind home plate on the Promenade Level featuring the Original Chicago Dog with all the authentic toppings.
Lefty O’Doul’s Bar: Another San Francisco icon joins the team at AT&T Park. This satellite location of the historic Lefty O’Doul’s bar located at Union Square, features their famous Bloody Mary mix, specialty cocktails and is located at the top of the O’Doul Gate.
Original Joe’s Burger: The Derby Grill Specialty Burger Stand located on the Promenade Level in Left Field, will feature the exact recipe of the iconic Original Joe’s burger.
Other new Items found throughout the ballpark: Pannini sandwiches, Poutine Fries — French fries smothered with beef gravy & white cheddar; Mumm’s Sparkling Wine; Carmel topped Ghirardelli hot cocoa; and field roast artesian vegetarian sausages.
Field Club & Virgin America Club Levels
Pop Ups: Playing on the popularity of mobile food carts, pop-up bistros will be advertised only via the @sfgiantfoodie Twitter feed. #GiantPopUp will feature treats not currently available at the ballpark, including made-to-order hot pastrami sandwiches and knish, oysters on the half shell, hot apple cider and warm turnovers filled with Frog Hollow Farms fruit preserves.
Ferry Terminal Seafood: In partnership with Ferry Terminal Seafood, the new Club Level seafood cart located near the Carvery and Section 234 will offer up such favorites as New England and Manhattan clam chowder, shrimp and crab Louis, seafood cocktails, and freshly baked sourdough bread. Still and sparkling wine by the glass.
Emerald Isle Potato Bar: A baked potato concept located next to Murph’s Pub on the Club Level. Like Long Taters, Emerald Isle will feature extra-large baked Idaho potatoes and buttery mashed potatoes with an array of classic toppings.
Farmer’s Market: A brand-new look for the Farmer’s Market, located on the Club Level. The mercantile offers locally grown produce, fresh fruit aguas frescas, strawberry shortcake, seasonal pies and gelato. Indulge a savory appetite with seasonal vegetable antipasti and a wine bar specializing in sustainable and locally crafted wines both on tap and from the bottle.
Joe Garcia’s: New items available at Joe Garcia’s include: Crisp griddled gorditas topped with a house pickled cabbage and jalapeno slaw; Chipotle Sweet Potato Fries; and a Burrito Bowl featuring char grilled chicken, ancho chile rubbed skirt steak, carnitas or chile lime marinated white fish served with Spanish rice and topped with classic burrito fillings.
Guiseppi Barzurro’s: New items available at Guiseppi Barzurro’s include the favorite Greek and chicken Caesar salads available in wraps and a Grilled Eggplant Sandwich featuring balsamic, thyme and garlic marinated eggplant grilled and topped with roasted red bell peppers, goat cheese, salsa verde and baby arugula on a baguettini.
Mashi’s Sushi: New items available at Mashi’s Sushi include SF “Giant” Roll-ahi tuna, avocado, bok choy, shiso, green onion, fried tofu and scichimi aioli create one giant roll; Sashimi Bowls with ahi tuna or arctic char garnished with shiso and mayo with a choice of brown or white rice; and Tofu and Bok Choy in a lemon-grass green curry topped with ice peppers served over brown or white rice.
Murph’s Pub: The Irish Lamburger served with Guinness caramelized onions and Irish Cheddar will be a new item on the popular menu.
Krukow may remind fans to bring their gloves, but it’s fair to say they should also bring their appetites.
We’re back! The Giants‘ annual media open house had so much interesting stuff, I just had to share it, and that seems like as good of an excuse as any to revive this too-long-dormant MLBlog.
The media open house is an annual event the Giants hold where they invite — duh — the media to learn about AT&T Park improvements, promotions, marketing campaigns and food items that will be prominent in the upcoming season. The event is usually held on the field and in the Field Club, but this year, it was moved to the club level.
Make that the Virgin America Club level. Thanks to an expanded partnership with the San Francisco-based airline, the club level has been rebranded as the Virgin America Club. Flight attendants greeted the media as we went up the escalator to the club level, and the new look of the escalator trumpeted the partnership in a big way. Yep, that’s a mockup of the inside of a Virgin America plane, featuring their signature mood lighting. The lighting (purples, grays, reds) is subtly repeated in various areas of the club level itself.
The Virgin America sponsorship also includes the introduction of “Fly Bye Baby,” the newest member of the Virgin America fleet. It’s an Airbus A320, and Giants games and feature programming will be featured on Virgin America’s in-flight entertainment system. See a photo of the beard-wearing plane here.
The club level also includes the Virgin America Flight Deck, which the Giants describe as a “hip, outdoor club-like environment” behind sections 229-230, overlooking Second and King streets (it’s the same location where Switchfoot performed last year). It will include new seating, the Widmer Brothers Fan Haus bar and two fire pits surrounded by wind screens to create a more protected fan environment.
After covering promotions (including four bobbleheads, two gnomes and two World Series team reunions) and the new commercials, the Giants discussed major capital improvements to the ballpark. First and foremost, the goal with the offseason renovations has been to enhance views, improve traffic flow and create a more open feeling overall. It’s noticeable right away in the main Promenade level concourses.
The overhead hanging signs have all been removed, and the lighting has been improved. They’ve also moved all the food carts wedged behind the lower bowl seating to the opposite side of the concourse, mostly in new nooks created along the outer wall.
It wouldn’t be media day without some bathrooms news, and restrooms along the Promenade level have been reconfigured, with the left-field one getting additional capacity.
A new men’s room behind section 132-133 has what the Giants are calling “Northern California’s best view from a public bathroom,” looking out to the Bay Bridge (and another larger window overlooks MoMo’s, but don’t worry — they’re pretty high up in the wall).
The Bullpen Box, a premium group seating area next to the visitors dugout, is being turned into the Corona Beach Club. It’ll include a small sandy beach, two Adirondack chairs and other beach-themed amenities.
As you may have read previously, another notable change is coming down the left-field line, where the congested narrow bridge near the Coca-Cola Fan Lot is being replaced with a new area spanning the entire width of the Fan Lot. It’s called Ghirardelli Square South and will include a Ghirardelli location plus a full concession stand that will include garlic fries and (I’m told) the popular Sheboygan brats.
Little Giants Park, the mini ballpark in the Fan Lot, is also being renovated to open up the views toward the Bay Bridge and to add a padded left-field wall just like the real park.
Out behind the scoreboard, the upper concessions area has been dubbed Anchor Plaza and will include an Anchor Brewery Tap Room kiosk. We were told that more Anchor Steam beer is sold at AT&T Park than any other location in the world.
Finally, media day wouldn’t be complete without a whole lot of food. Seriously, I think some media members attend the open house just for the food offerings. Some of these are new items; others will be available in new locations. Here’s a sampling (note that many of these selections are presented in mini sizes just for media day, since there are so many choices available):