COMSTOCK PARK, MI - The votes have been counted, and the winner of the sixth annual Whitecaps food contest is Hot-To-Tot! In a tight race, this buffalo chicken and bleu cheese covered tater tot dish received 17% of the fan votes.
As the winner of the contest, Hot-To-Tot will be on the menu at Fifth Third Ballpark this season. It will make its debut on Thursday, April 9 at the Whitecaps' home opener and will be served at the Mac and Cheese cart located on the concourse behind home plate.
The Whitecaps narrowed down a list of hundreds of menu ideas submitted by fans on the Whitecaps Facebook page (facebook.com/wmwcaps), Twitter account (@wmwhitecaps) and email ([email protected]) in January.
Mickey Graham, Whitecaps Director of Marketing, said the number of items submitted by fans has been growing each year in the contest. "To see the fans' ideas and responses is fantastic!" Graham said. "The 'Mad Scientist' ideas are always fun. We love it. Varying our menu is an important aspect of coming to a Whitecaps game. We'll continue to tinker with new items to give fans a fun, unique experience."
The top 10 items were announced last month, and fans were unleashed to vote for their favorite online. The Hot-To-Tot's 17% of the votes squeezed out a victory over the French Fry Pizza Pie, which came home with 16% of the votes. Coming in third with 14% was Cheesy Does It, and fourth place with 12% was The Legend of Pickle Hollowed. Fifth Place was a virtual tie, with both Beer-A-Misu and Picnic-On-A-Stick earning 11% of the votes, while the Weenie Panini captured 10% for seventh place. There was no love for the Cotton Candy Curveball (4%), the Crispy Pig Chips (3%) or the Kat Dog (2%).
Hot-To-Tot was submitted by Zayne Deimel of Sparta, MI, who submitted his idea on Facebook. "I was ecstatic when I got the news that I won the Whitecaps baseball fan food contest! Can't wait for fans to try my food idea at the ballpark this season, and neither can I," said Diemel.
Previous winners of the food contest include the Auger Dogger (2014), Baco (2013), Westside Po' Boy (2012), Chicks with Sticks (2011), the Cudighi Yooper Sandwich and the Declaration of Independence (both 2010). All have now been retired from the menu.
The famous Fifth Third Burger still lives on, six years after its introduction on the menu earned international acclaim, along with the popular eating challenge (finish the whole burger by yourself before the end of the game and you win a t-shirt and your photo on the Fifth Third Burger Wall of Fame). It is served at Sweet Meats Smokehouse concessions stand located down the third base line. Other unique and popular eats remaining on the menu include the Pretzilla Bacon Cheeseburger, Tony Gates Venison Burger, Gyro, Loaded Mac and Cheese, Deep Fried Mac and Cheese, Foot Long Corn Dog and Street Tacos.
Whitecaps management has selected several other new food items to be introduced to Whitecaps fans this season, including a Pretzel Coated Sausage (served at Sweet Meats), Loaded Tater Tots (served at the Mac and Cheese/Tot Cart), Oreo Churros (Elephant Ear Cart), Deep Fried Nutella (Sweet Meats), Chicken and Steak Quesadillas (Steak Cart) and ChiTown Corn (vending carts). For a list of new items click here - http://atmilb.com/1bxaqRO
CRAFT CLUBHOUSE presented by Founders Brewing Co.
The Whitecaps continue to embrace the Beer City USA title earned by Grand Rapids. USA Today's 2014 "Best Beer Town" is known for its plethora of craft breweries and beer bars, and Fifth Third Ballpark is expanding its craft brew selection and introducing the Craft Clubhouse presented by Founders Brewing Co. This walk-in beverage stand, located on the third base concourse in the former Souvenir Shop space, will feature 16 local craft beers on tap:
Founders All Day IPA
Founder Centennial IPA
Founders Pale Ale
Founders Dirty Bastard
Mitten Triple Crown Brown
New Holland Mad Hatter
Mt. Pleasant Train Wreck
Saugatuck Michigan Wheat
Bell's Two Hearted
Brewery Vivant Farm Hand
The Craft Clubhouse will be open to fans at every home game. In addition to craft brews, mixed drinks and wine will be offered. For dessert, one of the Top 10 food entry finalists, the Beer-A-Misu (a scoop of Tiramisu gelato topped off with craft beer), is available. The Craft Clubhouse was designed with help from the Founders Brewing Co. creative team in the Founders style, with wood on the walls, roll-up door entry and high ceilings.
The Whitecaps open the 2015 season on Thursday, April 9 against the Dayton Dragons at 6:35 pm. Tickets are now on sale and can be purchased by phone to 616-784-4131, online at www.whitecapsbaseball.com, or in person from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday at the Fifth Third Ballpark Box Office inside the CapSized Shop. Complete ticket information, including season and group ticket prices and perks, is available at www.whitecapsbaseball.com.