Fans can now enjoy food and drink from local DMV purveyors during games at Nationals Park.
As fans head into Nationals Park this season, many are noticing the new vendors and local businesses that have set up shop in the stadium, offering some great food and beverages.
A family-owned business, the Washington Nationals prides itself on supporting local small businesses to improve the fan experience at the ballpark.
Mike Carney, executive vice president of business operations for the Washington Nationals, says baseball teams have a civic duty to support their community, and the teams that do it the best support local and small businesses.
“Food and beverage is a particularly important part for us, and with the millions of fans who walk through our turnstiles each season, it’s great exposure for these local brands,” he says. “We want to provide the platform to support them.”
More than 20 local businesses are represented at Nationals Park — from concession stands and local breweries to behind-the-scenes purveyors that provide ingredients for other stands and dining areas.
“Because of the volume of business and how we bring people from all these different areas — especially people coming from Virginia who may not have tried products made in the District or Maryland — we have this unique opportunity,” says Jonathan Stahl, vice president of experience and hospitality for the Washington Nationals. “We’ve always had local restaurants. The D.C. food scene has grown incredibly over our 16-year history. So, we’ve been able to incorporate small local businesses and integrate them into the fabric of the ballpark.”
Currently, the restaurants at Nats Park consist of Haute Dogs and Fries, Swizzler, Capo Deli, Ben’s Chili Bowl, La Casita Pupuseria, Rockland’s Barbeque, Hard Times Cafe, Char Bar, Arepa Zone, Jammin’ Island BBQ, Capital City mambo sauce, Roaming Rooster and South Mountain Creamery. Local breweries featured are Port City, DC Brau, Atlas, Right Proper, Old Ox, Other Half, Denizens, FairWinds, Solace, City-State, Aslin and Flying Dog.
“We’re generally the largest customer of any local brewery we work with,” Stahl says. “There’s so much great craft beer in the area and it’s what our customers want, and we’re able to give them what they want.”
“Fans also like to support local business,” Stahl says. “They like to know that what they are eating and drinking was created not too far from them. As a country, we have a lot of big-name brands, and sometimes those are incredible, but there are a lot of local companies making great product and we want to support them as well.”
At the end of each season, the team evaluates what concessions might be missing in the ballpark and looks for companies that fit that niche.
“Simplicity is a great recipe for success and we try not to make overly complicated commercial structures,” Carney says. “We have relatively easy plug-and-play infrastructure here at the ballpark and make it as business-friendly as we can. We’ve evolved over our 16 years. Products have become more local-centric over time, and as things have come into this area, we look to how best we can support them.”
Download the MLB Ballpark app to learn more about what concessions are available at Nationals Park and to see where they’re located.
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