Rays Colored Glasses: Where's the Beef? This year, at the Trop

Where’s the Beef? This year, it’s at the Trop!

Anyone who has attended a game at Tropicana Field knows that the best thing Stu Sternberg might have done is allow fans to bring their own food in. Considering the costs of concessions and the downright blandness of the food, it was little wonder.

The Rays are banking on a couple of recent area trends to change that however.

Barbecue has always been a popular food in the area. You see them popping up in the strangest places when driving around Pinellas county, often occupying locations that formerly housed fast food chains that were shut down due to the economic fall-out. The old Batter’s Eye restaurant has been replaced with an Everglades BBQ Company restaurant, sure to be a crowd favorite with offerings like pulled pork nachos, smoked brisket and ribs. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

There will also be wings (sans bone…I guess security would prefer to keep a lid on anything that could easily be converted to a sharp weapon or projectile) from Wings Around the World and even Gluten free hot dogs, pretzels and (to gulp or not to gulp) beer.

My early favorite will be Burger Up! If you have to spend $12 for a burger and fries you should get something of value in return and this one sounds pretty darn good to me. The meat is “ground fresh daily from a mixture of chuck, rib eye and strip loin” according to Tom Scherberger (of course) of TampaBay.com. Their signature serving iincludes two (2) four oz patties on a Kaiser roll but the one I’ll pound first will be the Cuban…served on a local bakerie’s cuban bread and topped with ham, salami, swiss cheese and a pickle. Throw in a fresh beer and I can be a pretty happy fan, although the seats might get a tad tight!

Speaking of tight seats …this last belly buster might be the most brilliant offering.

The Budweiser Brew House is rolling out a Fan versus Food challenge that should get some attention. For $30 you face off against a 2 pound burger that’s makes you reach for the sky…and paper towels. It includes four 8 oz. patties, 16 slices of bacon, four slices of cheese and includes a pound of french fries. For the fans who succeed in conquering this belly blasting behemoth, the prize includes a picture on the wall of fame, a t-shirt and two tickets to a future Rays game.

The changes may seem minor, but give Stu and the gang credit. They certainly are paying attention to the little details, and hopefully that will equate to more fans with Rays jerseys and cowbells in the stands.

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