One of the benefits of baseball returning for fans at Kauffman Stadium in 2021 was the fact that Kansas City sports fans could get their hands on concessions once again at a MLB ballpark.
Now, I know, Kansas City Royals fans typically are “tailgate” people. Even during a weekday game, it’s about either grilling out or having something picked up beforehand, and then chowing down in the parking lot, while sitting in foldable chairs, or standing up, with food in one hand, and a beverage of choice in the other. My “go-to” was LC’s BBQ, with a beef sandwich and fries usually the combo of choice. But this season, I did enjoy brats, burgers, mac and cheese, and all kinds of chips and dips as tailgate fare before various Royals games.
However, sometimes a tailgate before a game just isn’t a reality. And when that’s the case, good old “ballpark” concessions will have to suffice, even if it may cost more than it is worth at the end of the day.
In this edition of the “Royalty Awards”, I am going to look at the best concession items at Kauffman Stadium, which vary from beverages to main course items. Usually, I don’t post pictures with my posts (sans the “featured image”), but this time around, I will make sure to post a picture of the item for each of the top three Kauffman Stadium concession items.
This list may stir some debate, and if you disagree, feel free to comment below. That being said, here are the top three items I enjoyed at Kauffman Stadium during the 2021 season.
Second Runner Up: Gordo’s Golden Ale
Boulevard has traditionally brewed a Royals-specific beer since 2018. In 2018 and 2019, it was “Vamos“, a Mexican-Style lager (which received mixed reviews). In 2020, the beer was “Hustle Up“, though it didn’t really receive a place at Kauffman Stadium due to the pandemic preventing fans at the K that season.
This season, Boulevard and the Negro League Baseball Museum partnered to create “Tip Your Cap”, a “baseball lager” which directly benefited the Negro League Baseball Museum in the 18th and Vine District.
However, by August, Boulevard and the Royals announced a new Royals beer, “Gordo’s Golden Ale”, in honor of “future” Royals Hall of Famer, Alex Gordon. This Royals-Boulevard collaboration was exclusively sold at the K, unlike “Tip Your Cap”, which was available in stores.
Was “Gordo’s Golden Ale” really better than “Tip Your Cap”?
That’s hard to recall, especially considering both beers were so close in composition (the Golden Ale wasn’t really that much more different than the Baseball Lager, though maybe a little crisper, which is good for those hot August Kansas City nights at the K). That being said, there’s an awesome “niche” value to something that is sold “exclusively” at the K and is decent.
Hence, “Gordo’s Golden Ale” became my drink of choice at the K in 2021, and will continue to do so in 2022 as well.
First Runner Up: Footlong Hot Dog
I wasn’t able to go to a Friday night game at Kauffman Stadium this year, which meant that I missed out on “Dollar Dog” night this season. That being said, while I was not able to take advantage of the traditional Friday night “deal”, I was able to enjoy the hot dogs at the K this season, even if it came at full price (which was around 8-9 bucks if I recall, maybe slightly more).
Surprisingly, even without the “dollar deal”, the hot dogs, especially the footlong ones, hold up well and tasted better than I last remembered. Sure, a hot dog grilled in the parking lot (especially a Nathan’s or even a Kirkland brand all beef dog) at the K is an experience like no other. But, for a stadium hot dog, Kauffman’s footlong hits the spot, and unless you’re starving, you won’t really need another, which is good on the wallet.
In addition, the hot dogs have gotten so much better since Aramark’s “moldy dogs” fiasco during the 2015 season, which made national news, unfortunately:
Even in that post “dollar dog-gate” era, I used to remember hot dogs at Kauffman Stadium either being slightly on the cold end, or just not filling enough, and that wasn’t the case this year. The footlongs had some good snap, in addition to a nice taste, a good balance and combination for any hot dog, let alone one at a ballpark where fans will have to pay top dollar for.
Maybe it was my “affinity” for being back at the K that affected my taste buds with this item. But hot dogs at the K were one of the more stellar concession items this year, and I hope to enjoy the Dollar Dogs on Friday night again in 2022 after a season of missing out.
Concession Item of the Year: Chickie’s and Pete’s “Crab Fries”
As stated before with the “Gordo Golden Ale”, I enjoy concession items that fans can only get at Kauffman Stadium. Chickie’s and Pete’s is a national brand, based primarily out of Philadelphia and is widespread across the East Coast. That being said, they have made their presence known since 2019 at Kauffman Stadium, and their standout item, the “Crab Fries,” really stands out as the best concession item overall at the K in 2021.
First off, the “Crab Fries” are unique, especially for an area of the country that is not as “familiar” with crab boils and feeds, which are much more prevalent in the West and East Coast. Now, what makes it “Crab” fries is that the fries are dusted with Old Bay seasoning, which is the seasoning of choice for steamed Chesapeake Bay blue crabs, which are widely available in the East Coast, especially Philly and Baltimore. The crinkle cut fries are hot and crisp, and seasoned generously with that wonderful spicy magic dust. And to top it all off, Chickie and Pete’s gives you a side of cheese sauce for dipping.
It’s a part of the East Coast tucked nicely at Kauffman Stadium…
And you can’t get it anywhere else in Kansas City…well…other than across the parking lot at GEHA Field at Arrowhead, apparently. I guess the Truman Sports Complex is the “South Philly” of the KC Metro.
Now, I know some Royals fans will call this blasphemy. After all, how can something that is based out of the East Coast be seen as the best concession item of a Midwestern baseball team? Shouldn’t it be the “Brisket-Acho”, which does come in a wearable KC Royals helmet?
On paper, I wanted to love the “Brisket-Acho”. After all, it has all the KC BBQ favorites (brisket, cheesy corn, baked beans, slaw, and sauce over chips), and it’s in a cool John Olerud-esque helmet. It’s a two-for-one deal!
But all them together just didn’t sit right. And with Tostitos Chips? Maybe if it were over fries or tater tots, it would work, but the chips didn’t do it for me. It just was disappointing and didn’t live up to my expectations, even though I appreciated having the helmet as a souvenir.
The “Crab Fries” on the other hand?
I have had them on four different occasions since 2019…
And they still hit the same every time.
That’s why they remain the best concession item at Kauffman Stadium…
Who knew Philly could have a POSITIVE influence in Kansas City for a change?