Next week, the San Francisco Giants will have their home opener and you might just be in attendance. Whether you’re heading back to Oracle Park for the first time since before the pandemic started or you go so often that you have a lucky entrance gate, there’s plenty new to explore; and, thanks to the pitch clock and some other new rules, games — and, by extension, your visits — will be nearly 30 minutes shorter, leaving less time to explore!
So, consider this your treasure map to find all the good food that awaits you in and around Oracle Park this season. And believe me, there’s so much more than $9 Budweisers.
Holy sh— i mean, my gaw— how? Why? But also, yes! They’ve done it. They’ve wafflefied churros. Or, or churrofied waffles. No matter your perspective, the Burgess Brothers have managed to create something that everyone who’s tried it has lost their minds over: the Churwaffle.
This item can already be found at Levi’s Stadium and at Churwaffle & Chicken shops in Sacramento, Fairfield, and Santa Clara; or, you could buy your own Churwaffle maker, but where’s the fun in that? Every stadium has ice cream, Cracker Jack, and candy, but Oracle Park is the only stadium in MLB with this specific treat. Crunchy and sweet? Tough to beat.
You can find the $13 Churwaffle at the Burgess Brothers’ stand in section 110, but don’t just go there to satisfy your sweet tooth. I’m telling you, if you’re a meat eater, you’re going to want to show up with an empty stomach.
Ultimate Grand Slam Sliders
The full name of their stand in section 110 is the Burgess Brothers Bar-B-Q meaning that as good as the Churwaffle is, it’s not their only specialty. They also offer an 80-grade slider that Sergio Romo would be proud of; I mean, look at this thing...
If by my life or death I can eat you I will. You have my cash. And you have my mouth. And my belly.
Pulled pork and mac & cheese on a soft bun. Barbecue sauce that’s not too sweet or too tangy. If wherever I go there’s macaroni and cheese on the menu, I will order it. I admit it’s a personal moral failing, but I can’t help it, and in this case, I won’t bother to fight the urge. Wannagetthatwannagetthat.
And these are just the two headliners as I see them. Back in 2018, Carmen Kiew kicked off a behind the scenes food series for us, Where In The Park Is Carmen San Francisco? on our long-neglected YouTube channel, and in these videos she talked to the Giants’ head chef, Toussaint Potter. Five years later (and entering year 11 of his tenure) and the man’s still cooking. You can find new foods around the park like:
- Crab fries (Murph’s Pub - Section 112)
- Porchetta (pork roast) sandwich (Chicago Dog Cart -Section 118)
- Cauliflower crusted flatbread (The Garden - Level 1, you know, behind the CF wall)
- Veggie dog (The Garden)
- Orlando’s Chimichanga (jerk chicken & swiss cheese; pair it with a Cha Cha Bowl if you’re really hungry or if you just like to sample and share)
There’s also a grilled cheese cart but that’s only on the club level it would appear; don’t forget to check out The Lumpia Company in 116. If you’re too stuffed from the Ultimate Grand Slam Slider, they also have Dole Whip; but also, if you’re craving lumpia (which, why wouldn’t you, especially if you’re near some?) — they have lumpia.
And if you’re not sure what else might be around you — since this post really only focuses on the items new to the park in 2023 — the Giants encourage you to download the MLB Ballpark App so that you can provide your location data to Major League Baseball — I-I mean use your phone to see which food stands/items are closest to your seat! Yeah, that’s less invasive-sounding... (but, seriously, if you don’t want to download the app, see this list or use this tool the Giants have provided on their site).
The team also has some fun promos on their schedule, some which you can see in this video. I couldn’t find a YouTube embed so, in order to spare us all a trip to Facebook just to watch a video here is — while embedding still works with that site — the Twitter video of the recap, featuring Amy G (but also, viewer beware: Larry Baer):
And on this real estate website I saw:
Bobbleheads–including an Elmo to celebrate the team’s first-ever Sesame Street day, and promotions, like a Kentucky Derby Day where the Giants will be the first MLB team ever to broadcast the famed horse race live before a game–were also introduced,
Why was I checking out a real estate website? Because the Giants are, first and foremost, a real estate company, and they’ve capably utilized the baseball team’s brand equity to purchase public trust. They have redeveloped China Basin, creating a new neighborhood around the stadium. But this Mission Rock is still a work in progress, even though 2023 will see tenants finally moving into housing and office space. There’s a lot of empty retail space in the area immediately around the stadium.
Pena said that the developers would soon be revealing some of the vendors that have signed on to take up what will be 85,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space.
So, what if you’re looking to do things in San Francisco before or after the game? This guide has you covered. Paolo Bicchier reminds us in this Eater post that Public House is built right into the stadium just outside the gates. Underdog Cantina is right across the street:
[...] think a sports bar with a robust Californian Mexican menu with burritos running about $12. [...] This new location was formerly [Peet’s Tavern] and Marschke says the ambiance may invoke some of the prior tenant’s energy. The long bar is still intact but the front area has been blown out, and is now more expansive with an upstairs mezzanine featuring an arcade [...] “There’s not a lot of family-friendly places,” Marschke says, referring specifically to places to hang before Giants games. “There are a lot of places to pregame, but where do you go when you have your kids?”
Now, if you’re looking for a burrito, and you have time, I want you to do what I have never been able to do. My last trip to San Francisco reminded me that from my twenties on (I am now quite old), I’ve really only spent time in China Basin. I’ve missed out on so much west of the stadium — the parts of San Francisco that belongs to the residents and best embodies the place. That also means that I’ve missed out on a place like El Farolito... or La Taqueria... or whatever place might actually be home to the best burrito in Northern California:
And my point here is that I think you should go there and get involved in the debate. Or, at the very least, eat some good food. It’s less than five miles from the stadium, but go there, try out the local flavor. If you don’t like it, there’s La Taqueria. Or wherever else people recommend in the comments. I managed to try out Dumpling Time that was within a decent walking distance of Oracle and really liked it.
You could easily center a weekend in the City around your meals and have a great time. This post in no way purports to be a travel guide. In fact, I just want to remind everyone that the Giants have a new bag policy this year:
Backpacks (including clear backpacks) are NOT permitted inside Oracle Park. Accommodations are made for diaper bags, medical bags and guests with accessible needs.
And here are their instructions for on-site storage.
Getting in and out of the stadium and navigating the surrounding area has usually limited what I do before and after the game and I suspect that’s the case for a lot of you. This is the part where I recommend public transit, always the better option in San Francisco, and especially now that Lot A has been demolished. As expensive as it was, for we problematic car drivers, its proximity to the park made dealing with all other traffic worth the effort.
The team has put out its own guide for getting to Oracle Park and I think it does a solid job of getting you to the park; but again, not the best if you’re wanting to see the rest of San Francisco (at least, in my opinion). Besides driving, I’ve done BART, Caltrain, and the Vallejo Ferry and they each have their pluses and minuses, so please, for the love of Bonds, don’t rely on this post to guide you through all that.
Just scroll back up and look at the pictures of the Churwaffle and the Ultimate Grand Slam Slider and dream* of a future meal.