Fans get a taste of Citi Field

Fans get a taste of Citi Field

NEW YORK -- New Yorkers have long loved two things: food and baseball.

So it's only fitting that the Mets' new stadium features the best of New York's culinary offerings, including the aptly titled "Taste of the City."

"It can't get any better," said longtime Met fan James Herbison.

A New York native and partial season ticket holder, Herbison made a beeline for David Pasternak's "Catch of the Day" to guarantee a fried flounder sandwich.

"This is perfect," Herbison said, gesturing to his two sandwiches, topped with homemade tartar sauce on a fresh potato roll. "But this is only the second time I've been here, so I haven't tried everything yet."

Given Citi Field's state-of-the-art dining, that could take a while.

The Mets' new digs features a 41 percent increase in concessions over Shea Stadium, and offers food from acclaimed restaurateurs Danny Meyer, Drew Nieporent and Pasternack.

Meyer's establishments include New York favorites like Blue Smoke, El Verano Taqueria, Box Frites and the crowd-pleaser Shake Shack.

So good are the Shake Shack's burgers that fans like Jay Patel and Frank Stylez planned on getting to the stadium early to avoid the long lines.

"We were here last Friday and this place is great," Stylez said, holding a "ShackBurger" and shake. "It's an awesome experience here [at Citi Field]. I mean, you can't even compare it to Shea."

Fellow New Yorker Oleg Zeltser agreed.

"It's absolutely ridiculous -- in a good way," Zelster said. A Brooklyn native, Zelster called his lobster roll the "opening course" and planned on eating at every establishment inside "Taste of the City."

In addition to the wealth of outdoor outfield venues, Citi Field has six clubs and lounges, including the acclaimed Acela Club, a 350-seat restaurant overlooking left field, and Caesars Club behind home plate.

"I feel like I'm in Vegas and not even in a stadium," said Melanie Teslik, who sat with her friends perched on a chic couch inside Caesars Club, drinking and watching fans enter the stadium through several overhead windows.

"What the Mets have done for the fan experience has been great," she said. "I love all these changes, I love the team and I love the food."

In addition to innovative eats like sushi and canolis, Citi also houses Nathan's Famous Hot Dogs and Premio Sausage for fans of more traditional stadium fare.

"There's so many choices here that this is only Round 1," Tommy Qurz said as he and his girlfriend stopped at Nathan's to grab chicken fingers and onion rings, but Qurz was already eyeing some barbeque and pulled pork for later.

"That's the whole fun of it," Qurz said. "It's a great variety of food and the ability to choose from so many vendors. It looks like it was well thought out."

According to Pasternak, that's exactly what it was.

"I think the Mets are smart -- they think baseball should be more than just a baseball game," he said. "It should be entertainment. It should be a night going out. I mean why can't you have good food at a baseball game?

Brittany Ghiroli is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.