For the first time ever, the MLB is rolling out their MLB Foodfest on April 21-22, 2018. The indoor fest consists of all 30 MLB teams preparing samples from their ballparks for fans to try. Unfortunately for Chicago baseball fans, the fest is held in New York City. Even more unfortunate – tickets have sold out. For $25, fans get a taste from all 30 ballparks and pop (soda, as New Yorkers say) and water. For $40, you get the same deal plus three beer tickets. It is unknown at this time if the beers offered are unique the regions the clubs represent.
What dish best represents Chicago? It’s an obvious choice for many: the Chicago-style hot dog. It’s an all-beef dog (usually Vienna), placed into a poppy-seed bun, and then dressed mustard, white onions, neon-green relish, a pickle spear, sliced tomatoes, pickled sport peppers, and finally, a sprinkle of celery salt. No ketchup, ever. This is the Chicago-style hot dog. The Chicago Cubs will be offering this staple as their dish at the inaugural MLB Foodfest.
Luckily for Chicago, we have two MLB teams to represent our great food city. The Chicago White Sox will be offering fans to taste an iconic sandwich of Springfield – the Horseshoe Sandwich. The Horseshoe Sandwich is an open-faced sandwich consisting of thick toast, hamburger patty, fries and cheese. The White Sox will be making tweaks to their own to present. The “South Side Horseshoe” sandwich will consist of Italian sausage, giardiniera, fries and beer cheddar. The Chicago White Sox have never had this sandwich on any menu at Guaranteed Rate Field prior to the 2018 season. It is an interesting choice, to say the least.
So let’s talk about the elephant in the room. Why not pizza? Chicago is known for their pizza on both sides of the city. While everyone glamours over deep-dish pizza, it’s the thin crust tavern-style that really best represents the South Side. There are 29 other teams in the mix, and none are offering pizza of any kind. Plenty of nachos and sandwiches though. You can even get tavern-style thin crust at Guaranteed Rate Field, the park has a deal with Beggar’s Pizza through 2023. The idea to represent the field and the club with an item that has never been on the menu is a bit head-scratching – have you ever heard of a horseshoe sandwich?
Let’s not count the Sox out yet. Their dining program for club and suite ticket holders is helm by Levy Restaurants. It is assumed at this point it will be the catering company behind the sandwich for the event. It’s a sandwich that includes much of the southern part of Illinois, that areas that are heavily known to be Cardinals fans. The idea is a bold one, and if successful, might stamp the sandwich as a South Side staple. We shall see next month.
But, if the White Sox are interested in changing their submission, I suggest they go with tavern-style thin crust. Here’s a map I did for Eater Chicago a while back, to help sway the decision.