CHICAGO -- Plenty has been made about the White Sox offseason roster acquisitions, and deservedly so. Fans can expect some new features around U.S. Cellular Field, too.
From a variety of additions to the food and drink menus to a section devoted to left-handed ace Chris Sale to a new fan area sponsored by Comcast, fans coming through the turnstiles can experience a multitude of changes at the South Side ballpark.
Most enticing to the senses are new food items available on the 100 and 500 levels. In addition to traditional menu items, fans can now purchase pork chop sandwiches, adobe mango chicken sausages, Beggars Pizza and, for $5, a large piece of bacon on a stick.
"I think these additions continue our variety," said Joey Nigro, Sportservice general manager for U.S. Cellular Field. "We do well to make sure we capture every person's palate that comes in here. So even though people see us with typical concessions, our menu is well beyond that."
New beer offerings at all seating levels include Revolution Anti-Hero IPA, Lagunitas IPA, Lagunitas Day Time Pale Ale, MillerCoors Smith and Forge Hard Cider, Miller Fortune, Veteran Beer Company Blonde Bomber Ale and Bell's Two Hearted Ale.
Fans in 300 Club Level seats, the Diamond Suite or Stadium Club can exclusively enjoy additional food items, including a bacon mac-and-cheese burger, chicken-and-waffle sandwich, cinnamon bites and the crown jewel of new food items, a three-pound banana split sundae in a White Sox helmet.
Sonia Respeto, executive chef for Levy Restaurants/U.S. Cellular Field, said the sundae was a dish inspired by an ice-cream eating contest between her children.
"It's really one of those things you can't see out there," she said. "I think it's more for, not for bragging rights, but more to go home and say, 'Wow, I had this ginormous banana split.'"
Made-to-order carved sandwiches, including Supreme Corned Beef and an Ultimate Turkey Club, will be available at the Xfinity Zone, a Comcast-sponsored area across from Section 112 in the right-field corner. The restaurant will be ready for Opening Day. To its right is a technology center that includes a cell phone charging station.
On the other side of the technology center will be a seating area stocked with multiple flat-screen monitors playing other sporting events, as well as social media feeds related to the White Sox.
White Sox senior vice president of sales and marketing Brooks Boyer said he envisions the Xfinity Zone serving as another area of the ballpark where fans can interact and feel a sense of community while soaking in the game.
"It's one of the things that we wanted to do as a ballpark experience is create these little neighborhoods and create an atmosphere at the ballpark that will make people want to come early or maybe even stay a little bit later," he said.
On the baseball side, Section 154 will be transformed into "K Zone for Sale," in which every fan will be equipped with a 'K-card' for games in which Sale pitches. The card has a large red 'K' to signify a strikeout in a baseball scorecard with an image of Sale coming across the K. Fans can present their Section 154 ticket in the #SoxSocial Lounge to pick up the K-card and a Sale T-shirt.
The bar near Gate 4 has changed its name to the ChiSox Sports Bar & Grill, but the fan experience will remain the same because it is one of the most highly rated fan areas in the park. The ChiSox Bar will continue to be open only on game days to fans with or without a ticket.
Joe Popely is an associate reporter for MLB.com.