After coming within a single game of winning the World Series last year, the Dodgers — and their in-park dining program — plan to be back with a vengeance. The Dodgers might have renewed their agreement with Levy Hospitality in November of 2017, but changes are coming to the ballpark’s dining options, including appearances from Howlin’ Rays’ Johnny Ray Zone and Kogi’s Roy Choi as special guest chefs, in addition to a host of menu and availability updates throughout the park.
“Right now we’re working with Howlin’ Ray’s to have them come in and do special guest chef appearances,” said Dodgers Executive Chef Ryan Evans. “One of the big challenges we found [with Choi] last year was scheduling. When he was in LA, we were on the road — but he’s really shooting to be here on Korean Heritage Night.”
New this year will be the LA Open Deck Circle, a special stand dedicated to putting out homestand specials in addition to regularly offering one long overdue ballpark food item: The torta.
“Basically [the LA Open Deck Circle] is going to have our specials that the public knows about, but we’re also going to have secret menu items, only if you’re a follower to have first access to that stuff,” Evans said. “It’s something we want to grow as a culinary team.”
The torta was particularly a sticking point with Evans, who had wanted one at the ballpark since he was an executive sous chef. The torta will contain refried beans, jalapenos, cilantro, crema, avocado and a choice of protein. The telera bread will be supplied by local bakery La Princesa Bakery in Cudahy, CA.
The Cheeto-lote, which takes elote and covers it in Flamin’ Hot Cheetos crumbs and tops the creation with a spicy mayo, will be taken off the platoon and placed in the regular rotation in the upcoming season.
Dodger Stadium is also making an effort to expand its healthy food options at the Healthy Cart, including a quinoa and chickpea salad and a new pretzel-croissant grilled chicken sandwich with garlic aioli.
Among the remaining highlighted additions include the lobster roll and the chicken and waffle sandwich, the latter of which takes a battered chicken breast and tops it with candied bacon and syrup, and then sandwiches it between Belgian waffles topped with powdered sugar.
One of the problems with Dodger Stadium’s food options was its lack of availability stadium wide. Without committing to any concrete decisions, Evans stated his intention to increase the availability of food offerings at the Reserve levels, which is also accessible by stadium-goers at the Loge and Top Deck levels.
“We look at what’s available on Reserve [level] as opposed to Field [level], and what our most popular items are on Field,” Evans said. “For this year we wanted to expand our burgers and give the chicken and waffle experience [to the Reserve levels]. Trolley Treats, barbecue, having those available on Reserve on real estate that might have been given to, say, a Fanta stand, was important to us. You’re going to be able to get Fanta anywhere, but we wanted to bring more unique food options to the Reserve level.”
The Dodgers begin their 60th year in Los Angeles on March 29 with a home opener against the rival San Francisco Giants.