HOUSTON -- The Astros have a new slogan, "Take It Back," a new lineup of more than two dozen promotional items that will be given away in 2019, and a new Hall of Fame coming.And, of course, they'll have many new food items to introduce to fans at home games
HOUSTON -- The Astros have a new slogan, "Take It Back," a new lineup of more than two dozen promotional items that will be given away in 2019, and a new Hall of Fame coming.
And, of course, they'll have many new food items to introduce to fans at home games this season. The staples -- hot dogs, nachos, burgers, fries -- will still be offered, but for those more adventurous consumers looking for variety in their eater-tainment, Astros concessions will offer a little something for everyone.
Houston media was given a sneak peek with a food-tasting session during the annual media luncheon at Minute Maid Park on Wednesday. The Diamond Club was transformed into a multi-station smorgasbord of nearly 20 food items that will be available at Minute Maid Park this year, including several variations of hot dogs and a new Astros brand beer, Crawford Bock (get it?), that made its debut at the recently-held FanFest.
New to the menu in 2019 will be Smoked Pork Burnt End Topped Tots -- crispy tater tots with smoked pork burnt ends, queso blanco, barbecue sauce, green onions and pickle chips.
"It's one of my favorite items," Aramark district manager Mat Drain said. "It's a shareable item that comes in a souvenir helmet and it really is a play on nachos, which is a popular item here in Texas. Instead of topping nacho chips, you're topping tater tots."
Plus, can you ever go wrong with burnt ends?
"Most of the time, it's beef, and we decided to put a spin on it and use pork," Drain said. "We'll try to be a little unique with that experience."
For the health conscious, Aramark is offering the "Beyond Burger," the world's first plant-based burger that looks like a real burger, cooks like a real burger, and most importantly, TASTES like a fresh beef burger.
It's described as having "all the juicy, meat deliciousness of a traditional burger, but comes with the upside of a plant-based meal."
"The veggie hot dog is a great offering, but I think fans that don't eat beef, they want something different," Drain said. "So we introduced this. It's a pretty popular item out there. It's also for people that want a healthier option, too. It's not just for vegetarians."
Moving back to beef just for a moment -- Nolan Ryan beef has been a staple at Minute Maid Park for years, but this season, Aramark found a new twist on the old favorite: the Prime Rib Steak Sandwich. This creation features sliced Nolan Ryan Beef Prime Rib, topped with caramelized onions and horseradish cream, served on a split top bun.
"It's going to come to our general concession area, so it'll be served at the Texas Legends stand at [section] 134," Drain said. "It's really bringing a dinner sandwich into the ballpark that you can actually eat in your seat."
Other items to look for:
• The Lamb Gyro -- fresh pita bread topped with lamb and beef, lettuce, tomato, red onion and a drizzle of tzatziki sauce (sections 127 and 409);
• Fried Shrimp Po' Boy -- split-top bun loaded with crispy fried shrimp, lettuce, tomato and a drizzle of remoulade sauce (Sections 127 and 409);
• Calabrese Shrimp Sandwich -- crispy shrimp, pepperoncini, romaine lettuce, potato sticks and Calabrian remoulade (section 227).
Now, back to the beer.
The Astros and Houston-based Karbach Brewing Co. have created Crawford Bock, a smooth, easy-drinking ballpark malty beer. It is served in a uniquely-designed can featuring the old school Astros rainbow and the ballpark's iconic "Crawford Boxes" seating section.
The beer, and many other flavors, will be served at various locations around the ballpark, including the new Karbach Love Street Bar, located behind home plate on the main concourse.
Alyson Footer is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @alysonfooter.