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Ballpark food is better at Four Winds Field this season

The South Bend Cubs are a minor league baseball team with major league food. The prices fall somewhere in the middle.

The home opener for the team on Thursday, April 9, showed off a new team and shiny ballpark laden with marketing and advertising. Owner Andrew Berlin and President Joe Hart have overseen a number of upgrades and the transition to being a Chicago Cubs affiliate.

Opening night was a sellout, though there were some empty seats due to the threatening weather. Concession stands had some lines, but service was quick, even with $2 beers or sodas for Thirsty Thursday.

I haven’t been to the stadium for several years and the food is definitely better.

The FlashPoint Grille concession stands down the first and third base lines offer the basics. Hot dogs, hamburgers and fries. Peanuts, chips and drinks.

Skip the chicken chips ($5) unless you’re 12. They’re flat discs that purport to be chicken. You’re likely better off with the chicken tenders for a few bucks more.

The hot dogs are straight out of Fenway Park. Owner Andrew Berlin said they import the tube steaks from Massachusetts, where the Fenway hot dogs are rated the best in Major League Baseball.

Getting one for $4 is a good deal and good eats. The Johnsonville brat for $4.75 is what you’d expect.

The specialty items at some of the smaller concession stands along the concourse offer the best flavors. The Philly cheesesteak booth between home plate and third base on the concourse lets you get nachos laden with the meat, peppers, onions and cheese for $8.

It may be the best deal at the ballpark. Mark McGill of Michiana News Channel recommended it. The tray I got and shared had good flavors, but was a bit dry.

Skip the cheeseburger for $6 in the FlashPoint Grille and get the one from the speciality stand inside the gate behind home plate. For $8, you can get a burger loaded with all sorts of toppings, including whiskey barbecue sauce and Italian beef. It’s a great, juicy burger.

Another good value is the Ben’s Soft Pretzel for $5. It’s a big, hearty pretzel and is “the official pretzel of the South Bend Cubs.”

Drinks aren’t as cheap at Four Winds as they used to be, but this is a different team, a different day.

You can now find a drink for $2 or $3; and craft beer, available throughout the park and sold specifically at a stand behind home plate, is $7.50 for a 16- or 24-ounce, depending on what you get.

Drewry’s is available on tap, as is Round Barn Kolsch. Evil Czech is available in cans. Domestic beers include a range of Budweiser and Miller products.

Drink specials on Thursdays and free hot dogs, hamburgers, peanuts and popcorn included in a higher-priced ticket on Monday offer chances to enjoy the minor league experience for less money. That’s smart on the part of management.

What Four Winds Field needs is better desserts. We should have more than Dippin’ Dots or ice cream served in a little plastic batting helmet. How about a bearclaw sundae? How about a signature dessert made by a local bakery (Rise ’N’ Roll Sundays, anyone?) the way local beer is being featured? 

This isn’t Covaleski Stadium with the South Bend Silver Hawks. This is Four Winds Field with the South Bend Cubs.

The food, like the stadium, has gotten an upgrade.

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story referred to Joe Hart as the general manager. We regret the error.

For more food news and commentary from Marshall V. King, check out his column on Mondays in The Elkhart Truth, or subscribe to the Dining A La King email newsletter

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