By David Saltzer, AngelsWin.com Senior Writer
There have been a lot of words used to describe Angels Stadium by fans over the years. Comfortable. Convenient. Family-friendly. Generic.
But there is one word that Angels fans have never used to describe their home, especially when it comes to the food. And that word is “amazing”. Until now. You read it right, the food at Angels Stadium is amazing!
For the past 32 years, my family and I have had season tickets. And in all that time, one of the most common refrains I’ve heard from fans is that our stadium food has been subpar, especially compared to other stadiums in the game.
But that is about to change. Legends, the Angels Stadium food management partner, spent over $3 million dollars on upgrading the kitchens throughout the stadium. And it shows!
On Friday, I attended a media preview event for all the new food and merchandise items, and I was blown away. The sheer number of new and improved food items was staggering. To give you an idea, I couldn’t even try every new item with just a sampler plate as there were too many items to try!
Moreover, I couldn’t come up with just one new favorite item. At one restaurant alone, the Changeup, I couldn’t decide between the Pork Katsu, the Teriyaki Chicken, and the Cheesesteak Sandwich. Add in the other restaurants, and I was torn between the Empanadas, the Cubano Grilled Cheese, the Crispy Jidori Chicken Wings (pictured above at the Saint Archer Brewing Co. Restaurant), and the Smoke Ring Spud.
As a season ticket holder, one of the biggest challenges in going to all of the games has always been the repetitive nature of all the food in the stadium. But now, there are plenty of options to tickle one’s fancy.
What really impressed me was the Changeup Restaurant. Each month throughout the season, Legends created a menu inspired by a different player on the team. Here’s the whole lineup for the season.
Not only will the menu change every month, but in many ways, the Changeup will operate as a “test kitchen” for the stadium. If items prove truly popular at the restaurant, they may find their way into other parts of the stadium. Personally, I think it would be really cool if the players got involved and made it a bit of a competition as to who sold the most items during his month with the winner making a donation to a charity of his choice. (And before anyone jumps on me, yes, I know that there are rules and things about advertising that may make this impossible–but it still would be really cool IMHO). I could easily eat at this restaurant once or twice a homestand, and since the menu rotates, I can honestly say that I will eat more at the stadium.
For the true stadium foodies, Legends created a unique pin program for fans. With each lapel pin purchase, fans can receive a $5 discount of $25 or more purchased in the team store. When fans collect all 9 lapel pins, they can purchase a unique item in the team store. Here are all the pins.
Legends didn’t forget about two other things: families and deserts. I asked, and there will be plenty of family friendly fare at the stadium. In particular, my sons wanted me to ask about Icees and Wetzel’s Pretzels (their two favorite items) and was assured that they will be there. As will most of the usual Concourse items, like hot dogs and things.
But, they may be really tempted by plenty of the new options, especially the upgraded deserts. One that I think will really get them is The Mound, a helmet filled with 15 chocolate chip cookies! The hardest part about this desert may be working out how to share it.
Legends also is in charge of the merchandising in the stadium, and they added a lot of new gear for fans. Hands down, my favorite was this retro-looking jacket. I’m sure that there will be one hanging in my closet soon.
If you want unique gear, Legends created some special items just for the Home Opener. So, be sure to go by a store during the opening home stand to get some of this gear.
There were plenty of new and improved merchandise options from all of the partner companies. But again, having a family, I did ask, and yes, there will be plenty of family-friendly items for fans. The $7 hat will still remain, along with an affordable youth T-shirt and an adult T-shirt.
In thinking about all of this, it seems that Legends and the Angels truly want to enhance the overall fan experience at the stadium. Between the new scoreboard (which, if you haven’t seen it, is amazing!), the revamped food truly adds value throughout the stadium. Legends motto was “Restaurant quality food in the Concourse”, and I believe that the new items will achieve that.
For the premium seat fans, Legends upgraded the experience as well. In the Diamond Club, the upgraded items are truly sumptuous. I really enjoyed the Beer Braised Short Rib with Aged Cheddar Grits, but the other items looked equally as good.
And, for fans who have in-seat service, Legends unveiled its RBI program–Restaurant Brought In-Seat. I really enjoyed the improved Carne Asada Nachos (way better than the previous chicken nachos), the Fried Chicken Sandwhich, and the Pastrami Fries. Again, the improved food adds an incredible value for fans in those areas.
Besides the lack of variety, the one criticism that I have heard over the years about Angels Stadium food has been the slow lines. So, I asked Legends management about that, and I was assured that they will be monitoring throughput at each restaurant. Additionally, I was told that at the bottom of each ticket will be a way for fans to give feedback on their experience. Obviously the most popular items and eating times will require the most time, but, with the investment in the kitchens, Legends is working to reduce wait times.
Normally, in an offseason, Angels fans are always hopeful for the team to make improvements on the field. This year, with Shohei Ohtani, Zack Cozart, and Ian Kinsler, the team didn’t disappoint.
But, as much as the team did to improve the product on the field, they did even more to improve things off the field. They really raised the overall stadium experience for fans. Whether it is your first time going to the stadium or your hundredth time, take your time and explore the stadium. You’ll notice plenty of changes, and as a fan, I can’t be more excited! If the pictures alone aren’t enough to make your mouth water, do yourself a favor, go try it. You’ll be happy that you did.