** Update: You can read the rest of the post if you like but the word is that the Ballpark Cafe has closed. That’s too bad. I wonder why? Was it an unqualified owner in order their head? Bad planning? Bad hours? Who knows. Hopefully someone else will take over the space soon. **
I don’t typically make my way downtown just for a bite but since I had an appointment I decided to make an effort to eat there. Recently several new eateries have opened their doors downtown, perhaps in an effort to capitalize on the stadium, lofts or just because they love the area. Either way I need to eat downtown more often when I can. After polling my Twitter friends for a good spot I settled on Ballpark Cafe which recently opened.
Without getting into details Ballpark Cafe serves pretty much everything you would find at a baseball game: Burgers, Hot Dogs, Wings, Tri-tip sandwiches, etc. The BeeHive has a nice post about it with their menu attached.Getting down to business I ordered the Line Drive (bacon burger) with french fries and fried pickles and the Slider (bacon wrapped hot dog) with potato salad.
All good burgers need a solid foundation, the bun. The Line Drive burger was served on a nice chewy bun capable of accommodating copious amounts of cheese and sauce. The produce was fresh and the BBQ sauce is house made. I didn’t care for the sauce that much but it didn’t distract. The apple wood bacon was thick and properly cooked. The only knock on this burger is the patty is frozen. How do I know besides tasting it and noticing thats its perfectly round? I overheard the chef tell another co-worker when they were preparing our order (they were a little chatty back there). For those that follow my blog, you know how I feel about frozen meat and re-heat. Am I asking too much? After all, it’s not that hard to shape a patty from 80/20 and throw it on the flattop. With that said, it was a well rounded messy burger that I ultimately would eat again.
The fried pickles were a pleasant surprise. Nicely fried with a great batter. These are a definite order again item when I go back. The fries were halfway between wedges and steak fries. They were quite good.
The hot dog had a nice snap. For a hot dog, the casing makes a huge difference and these were good. I wouldn’t be surprised if they were traditional, i.e. sheep intestines. Sounds gross but thats reality folks and they make the best dog. The bacon wrapped around the dog was slightly limp, but without deep frying it I’m not sure how else they could pull it off. It was a good dog and I would eat it again. The chef was telling us about the El Gigante, a half pounder. Yikes.
The potato salad was not scratch made but it wasn’t bad. I think they doctored it up with some bacon bits. That never hurts.
Overall Ballpark Cafe is a nice stop for lunch midweek and a great place to go before or after a game. With good food, baseball memorabilia throughout, a pool table, flat screens and a beer and wine license pending, I think they have a great shot at making it downtown.
P.S. For those of you that were wondering, I found a parking spot without incident.