CHARLESTON, SC - One of the highlights of the Charleston RiverDogs' preseason is the announcement of what those wacky guys in the kitchen have new coming up in the concession stands.
Rest assured, fans won't be disappointed. In fact, there will be several new mouth-watering items at Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park this spring when the season opens on April 9.
For a very long time, the Charleston RiverDogs have been recognized for their diverse and tasty concession offerings, which have in recent years drawn Food Network star Rachel Ray and Man v. Food celebrity Adam Richman to Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park to sample the variety of delicacies. Whether it's at the Doghouse, Dogworld, Joe's Grill or the Pie House, fans can always find something to satisfy their every craving.
And this year, multiple new items are being added to the fan-favorite hot dog menu and the culmination of meticulous work in the RiverDogs' top-secret test kitchen.
John Schumacher, the food guru for the RiverDogs' ownership ensemble, The Goldklang Group, said that the new items were "the result of extensive kitchen research" for new ideas.
"With Josh Shea in his third year as our F&B Director and with the addition of Jay Weekley, we've again raised the bar of expectation and increase our food exploration," said Schumacher.
Smokin Joe's stand has been relocated inside the Beer Garden and features a ramped-up menu. A highlight is the Brisket Ramen Bowl, which is a healthy serving of Ramen noodles sautéed in an orange teriyaki glaze topped with smoked beef brisket, snow peas, carrots, green onions and a hardboiled egg. There will also be a Smoked Turkey Wing Basket that features two half-pound turkey wings that are slow-smoked and served with a blackberry sage barbeque sauce over a basket of in-house cooked pork rinds.
In an effort to enhance the healthy food offerings served at DogWorld, both black bean and turkey burgers return. Added this year is the Summer Harvest Salad that feeds two-to-three adults and includes an entire head of hydroponically-grown butter leaf lettuce stuffed with grape tomatoes, edamame, and an herb and carrot quinoa mixture. It is topped with sprouts, sunflower seeds and a creamy avocado dressing, all served in a replica baseball batting helmet.
Beer shakes, an item that grows in popularity, return for their third year and the two distinct flavors - Palmetto Espresso Porter Chocolate (from a local brewery) and Guinness Caramel - will return. New this year, however, is the Shock Top Creamsicle Shake and makes its debut during the opening seven-game homestand.
The Wacko Taco Stand, a popular stop on the concourse, features a Lowcountry Taco, which is smoked pulled pork, slow cooked collard greens and mac n' cheese topped with a Memphis-style barbeque sauce.
The Funnel Cake Stand enjoyed an offseason makeover and is now called the RiverDogs' State Fair. And with that comes two innovative menu items: chocolate covered pepper bacon and deep-fried cheesecake on a stick.
The club introduces a new hot dog annually and this year Schumacher unveils a new "signature" specialty that will be a Southern Kimchi Dog which is a Hebrew National hot dog topped with collard greens, kimchi and piquant peppers tossed in soy sauce and a sesame seed oil sauce.
The RiverDogs will also offer a giant, 24-ounce soft pretzel that is cleverly called "A Knot to Remember," and it is served in a pizza box with marinara, garlic butter and a nacho cheese sauce.
And finally, the Firefly Tiki Hut returns with many of the old favorites and a new Peach Moonshine Mojito.
Tickets are now on sale for the RiverDogs 2015 season which begins on April 9 with a seven-game homestand against the Lexington Legends and Augusta GreenJackets. For more information, please contact the Box Office at 843/577-DOGS (3647) or online at www.riverdogs.com. If you can't make the games, remember that RiverDogs baseball can be heard throughout the season on the flagship radio home, WTMA 1250AM.