What do baseball and a Taste of San Diego dining experience have in common this season?
Hodad's, Phil's BBQ, Rimel's, Bumble Bee Seafoods, Lucha Libre Gourmet Taco Shop, Seaside Market, Ryan Bros. Coffee and The Baked Bear have all set up shop inside Petco Park this season.
The Padres home has also become a second home for many of the county's craft beer breweries.
"We want our fans to get an overall taste of what San Diego has to offer," said Scott Marshall, the Padres' vice president of Concessions and Retail.
In addition to featuring San Diego's favorite fare, the Padres have moved to create a restaurant atmosphere throughout Petco Park.
"We have the perfect facility to create an excellent dining experience inside a ballpark," said Marshall.
"The unique design of Petco Park features a number of nooks and crannies. These are perfect areas to create special experiences for our concessionaire (DNC Sportservice) to create special experiences for all our guests. Fans can enjoy their favorite restaurants while being moments from their seats.
"Fans can go an entire homestand without eating at the same place twice."
Marshall said the Padres' goal is to extend the experience of the Gaslamp Quarter into Petco Park. "Rather than tailgate outside Petco Park, tailgate inside," said Marshall.
For example, fans are being invited to picnic in the Park at the Park.
Seaside Market will even offer carts and baskets to transport its fare from Section 107 (between home and first base on the main level) to the Park at the Park.
Eventually, the Padres see Rimel's, which is on the roof of the Western Metal Supply Co. building, being open on nights even when the Padres are not playing. And there are plans to have it stay open to midnight after games.
"We are just getting started," said Marshall. "This is phase one of a three-year plan."
Not affected by the improvements are the regular concession stands around the ballpark.
"Hot dogs and Budweiser remain the core experience at our baseball games. What we're doing doesn't affect the traditional concession experience at all. But we're looking to re-brand and upgrade those stands, too."
The Padres' expansion of standard ballpark fare into a Restaurant Row has come with the cooperation of Delaware North Sports Service and Josh Pell, who is Delaware North's general manager at Petco Park.
"When we started looking at what was available in San Diego and what we could do at Petco Park, we found we had the perfect partner in Delaware North," said Marshall. "Together, we're open to anything that can enhance our fans' experience." Marshall said the enhancements of the concessions started with 12 core projects and expanded from there. Thus far, the Padres and Delaware North Sportservice have committed $9 million to the project. "It seems like the completion of one project spurs the next," said Marshall.
For example, the Seaside Market is the first fully integrated market inside a ballpark. The fare includes health-conscious salads (12 varieties), organic sodas and waters and fresh fruits and vegetables, plus lifestyle entrees ranging from wraps to tri-tip sandwiches prepared at the deli counter. The idea of preparing picnic baskets is being studied.
"I see there being a live lobster tank eventually at the Seaside Market," said Marshall. "A live lobster tank at a ballpark. We've already received a lot of positive comment on the Seaside Market."
Two levels of the first-base tower will house craft breweries -- Ballast Point ("The Draft") on the second level and Stone Brewery on the rooftop. In between the two beer gardens will be one of two Petco Park sites for Hodad's popular hamburger restaurant.
The true Restaurant Row at Petco Park will be along K Street.
"Most of our featured restaurants will be represented along K Street with seating," said Marshall, referring to Phil's BBQ, Bumble Bee and Hodad's.
The Randy Jones barbecue has also been re-branded with three grill cart locations on the main concourse.
Big changes have also been made to the Western Metal building.
"The Western Metal building is an iconic piece," said Marshall. "In the past, only a small group of fans visited the rooftop. We wanted to open it up to all fans."
The bleachers on the roof of the building were removed and replaced by Rimel's. The 6,000-square-foot facility can serve 500 diners.
There is also a section of 30 seats along the roof facing the field. The makeover included rooftop heaters and new furniture.
"We wanted to create a rooftop lounge experience," said Marshall.
Full rundown of what's new at Petco Park can be found here.
Bill Center is a contributor to Padres.com.