When at Citi Field for a game, the days of just getting a hot dog and a light beer can be a thing of the past. Not that there is anything wrong with a stadium dog and a Bud Light, but Citi Field, since opening in 2009, has put a premium on unique and delicious food and drink options at all levels of the ballpark. If you’re looking for something a little beyond some peanuts and Crackerjack, we’ve got you covered.
First of all, if you can take public transit to Citi Field, do so. Parking isn’t cheap and, depending where you’re coming from, there may be multiple tolls to be paid. The 7 train and the Long Island Railroad are convenient, reliable and affordable ways to get to the game.
Unlike a lot of ballparks, Citi Field isn’t located in the middle of a particularly cosmopolitan or destination-heavy neighborhood. There has been talk of this neighborhood redevelopment being just around the corner for decades now, but until that happens, there are very limited options for refreshments before you walk in the doors.
While I can’t speak to the quality of the new K Korner, occupying the former McFadden’s space, Ebbs Brewing is the best spot for a pre- or post-game beer and snack. Located near the right-field gate, the space is not inside the stadium, so you don’t need a ticket to enjoy the space. With a menu featuring snack items and a sausage sandwich and a limited cocktail menu, this is a space intended for beer drinking.
While the variety of beer at Ebbs doesn’t quite match its former tenant, Mikeller, Ebbs features a full tap list of locally brewed offerings, including a variety of hard seltzer. Their watermelon-flavored Gose No. 1 and Summer Ale No. 1 are both refreshing, easy to drink options with a little more flavor than their lagers. However, IPA No. 1 tends to be my go-to at Ebbs.
The right-field gate is also a great place to get into the stadium if you’re looking to get a giveaway item. It’s one of the least used entrances, due to its distance from the parking lots and the train, and so can usually be a reliably shorter line for bobblehead or t-shirt nights. However, if you’re early and want to walk down memory lane, entering through the Jackie Robinson Rotunda offers access to the Mets Hall of Fame. If you want to see Timmy Trumpet’s instrument played on the field or the original, terrifying Mr. Met head - and frankly, why wouldn’t you? - the team’s Hall of Fame is a fun stop before a game.
Once inside the stadium, Citi Field shows off an extremely diverse set of dining options. There are, of course, the classics: Nathan’s Hot Dogs (with the signature crinkle cut fries), Premio hot or sweet sausage (go with the hot), and, in my opinion, the pound for pound champion, Pat LaFrieda’s Original Steak Sandwich (don’t skip the onions). In addition, there are plenty of places to get your garden variety soda, beer, and hard seltzers throughout the stadium. Yes, Shake Shack is still there and, yes, Shake Shack is still fantastic, but with the pitch clock in place, unless you want to miss four innings, don’t waste your time in line. If you ignore my advice, at least get the new Mets MVP Shake and tell me how it is.
One of the best spots for food in the entire stadium is the Jim Beam Highball Club on the 400 level behind home plate. Most tickets in the ballpark grant access to this club and you should make this a pre-game destination. When buying your tickets, check the club access you’re granted; it usually isn’t a big upgrade from the ‘no club access’ to ‘Jim Beam access’ level, and it offers a place to hang out in the rain, a change of pace for kids, and some amazing food.
Jacob’s Pickles had, perhaps, the best new food of 2022 with their fried chicken biscuit sandwich, this year added a honey BBQ chicken sandwich on a pair of glazed donuts (!). The Jim Beam Club also features Pig Beach BBQ, whose bases loaded fries feature outstanding pulled pork and cheese sauce. Right next door is Tipsy Scoop, which sounds like what it is: boozy ice cream. If that is too rich for your taste, right outside of Jim Beam is a stand where you can get a pineapple (or pineapple vanilla swirl) Dole Whip. This is one of the most slept on desserts in the ballpark. For purists, there are a number of spots around the stadium to get Mister Softee in a helmet or Home Run Apple cup.
If you’re a craft beer person and didn’t get your fill at Ebbs, Empire State Craft features lots of local craft beers in sections 132 and 519, and usually move pretty quickly, as far as stadium lines go. There are also some lemonade cocktails near the 132 location that go down a little too smoothly: drink with caution.
For 2023, there are a lot of food options that sound amazing. Celebrity chefs Marc Murphy and Sunny Anderson have new stands focusing on sandwiches and comfort food, respectively. Sunny’s All-American Kitchen features a ‘campfire parfait’ that sounds like a s’more in a cup, and is going to be a must-try for this season. New pizza bagel and (Pop Up Bagel) and cheesesteak (Chiddy’s) spots look worth a trip as well.
I’ve just scratched the surface. Citi Field also offers a ton of ethnic foods that offer a taste of the variety of the New York. In what other ballparks are there knishes, nachos, rice balls, pastrami sandwiches, bulgogi rice cups, kosher and vegan stands?
We all love going to baseball games because we love watching the action on the field. And with a team that looks poised for another good year, the focus should absolutely be on the Mets when you’re at Citi Field. However, you can’t go wrong with the food and drink at Citi when you’re there. I am now spoiled for food options when I travel to other ballparks; I save money when seeing games elsewhere, but that’s besides the point. Try something new at Citi this summer; you won’t be disappointed.