Three Foods to Try at
Great American Ball Park
There’s also several stands that celebrate the local chains, and each one has something that makes for great ballpark food.
1) The Skyline Chili Cheese Coney. If there’s a go-to item at Great American, at least judging by the number of them I saw being purchased, it’s probably the Skyline cheese and chili dog.
Skyline chili is a very popular chain that can be found all over Cincinnati, known for the local style of chili—which is probably different from the way most people know it, with both cocoa and cinnamon as ingredients. There are several Skyline stands at Great American.
The Skyline Chili Cheese Coney is a small hot dog with a generous amount of Cincinnati-style chili and a nice helping of shredded cheddar piled on top. They’re not very long, only about four inches or so…and they’re fairly economically priced so most people get two of them.
Definitely get a fork and some napkins for this one, but it’s good eats.
2) A Penn Station Cheesesteak. Penn Station East Coast Subs got started in 1983 when a Dayton deli owner made a trip to Philadelphia and was enchanted by our fair city’s famous meat and cheese sandwich. He designed one of his own, and it’s apparently good enough that there are now 220 Penn Station Subs locations stretching as far as Pittsburgh.
Chopped beef and provolone with some hot peppers if you want them; it’s what a Philly cheesesteak should be…and a lot of places even in the Philly area can’t get it right. The Penn Station cheesesteak is considered by some to be one of the better values in the ballpark; a sandwich and their fresh cut fries costs about the same as it does at one of the restaurants.
Far be it for me to point out that Penn Station is actually in New York City, not Philadelphia. But hey, I’m not complaining.
3) LaRosa’s Pizza. I would be giving LaRosa’s a shoutout anyway, since I visited one while I was in town and the folks there couldn’t have been nicer to me. But it’s also pretty darn good pizza in its own right, and I’m a South Jersey pizza snob. I live in an area with several chains: Domino’s, Papa John’s, Little Caesar’s, Pizza Hut. LaRosa’s is easily better than all of them, and I hope they open a few in Jersey.
At Great American LaRosa’s is represented with a few stands in the upper and lower concourses; you can get a plain slice, a slice with pepperoni, and a Montgomery Inn BBQ sandwich for some reason. According to the Reds website, they sell a calzone too, but I didn’t see it. Don’t be put off by the congealing slices that have been sitting on display for a while; your slice should be a little fresher.
LaRosa’s also runs a promotion where if the Reds strike out 11 batters in a game, everyone at the ballpark gets a free pizza with their ticket stub. I was the recipient of a free pizza during my visit…thanks Mat Latos!
That’s three suggestions for food to try at Great American; there’s many other choices but I would go with these three if you’re looking for a real taste of popular Cincinnati institutions. And that’s what it’s really about when you visit a ballpark!
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