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Food is Fun Spills Over at Charleston Riverdogs

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Baseball Sometimes Plays Second String to Whacked Out Menu at ‘the Joe’

By: Jeff Walker, Entertainment Writer

For more than a century from Little League to the Majors, baseball has and always will be America’s favorite pastime. Whether you’re a player or just a fan of the game, there is something alluring about baseball. Perhaps nowhere across this great nation is professional baseball more saluted than in the minor leagues, and no team is as celebrated than our own Charleston Riverdogs.

With high profile comedian, actor, and local Charleston resident Bill Murray as their honorary ‘Director of Fun’, the Charleston Riverdogs and Joe Riley Stadium aka ‘the Joe’, have garnered a reputation for not only fun baseball, but outrageous promotions and eccentric foods.

Like the players themselves the new foods introduced every year might make it to the pros and remain on the menu for more than a season, while those less favored are cut from the food & beverage line-up. The Food & Beverage team under the creative skills of F&B Director Josh Shea and his equally capable Assistant Manager Amber Hotelling work diligently prior to each new season to come up with ‘fun ballpark foods’ that are both unique and tastefully appealing to fans.

Not quite a full team, there are eight new items available at ‘the Joe’ for the 2022 season, with two new food & beverage stations including Joe’s Shrimp Shack and Wicked Sausage where the Man Salad has more to do with smoked meats than it does with greens from the garden.

Your long-time ballpark favorites have and will always be on the roster at ‘the Joe’. There are fixed ballpark staples that baseball fans have cherished forever and become fixtures at every stadium from Portland, Maine to Portland, Oregon. Foods for all ages are available at ‘the Joe’ including hamburgers, hotdogs, pizza, pretzels, popcorn, cotton candy, ice cream, roasted peanuts, and ice-cold beer.

You can find several of your go-to items at State Fair, Taco Pie, the Dog House, and Scoops, with Dog World on the concourse near first base focusing on signature hotdogs including brats, footlong dogs and for non meat eaters the Smoked Carrot Dog and a Vegan Dog. All new for 2022 at Dog World is the LoCo (Low Country) Hotdog, or as Amber describes, it’s an all beef Nathan’s hotdog smothered in your favorite Charleston flavors. You had me at Nathan’s!

Fitting its title State Fair carries the handheld edibles you’d most likely find at a travelling carnival. Among their sweet & salty regular bullpen favorites are funnel cake fries, corn dogs, nachos, pickle on a stick, kettle corn, soft pretzels, boiled peanuts, novelty ice cream, and seasoned potato chips from Charleston based Low Country Kettle Chips.

Midway down the concourse just inside the parking lot entrance to the stadium is the Dog House home to a double cheeseburger, pulled pork sandwich, French fries and the vegan friendly black bean burger.

Just across the way at Taco Pie you’ll find pizza and tacos, and a combination of both. Two of the newest items on the menu are found here. There namesake Taco Pie is basically a hearty beef taco served in pot pie form. The Pizza Taco is as imagined, a variety of pizza toppings rolled into a soft taco. A returning favorite is the Kitchen Sink Nachos, which as advertised has a slew of toppings over seasoned nachos. A meal fit for two or for one who craves a hungry-man dinner!

Perhaps you’ve missed lunch, or maybe you’re just the type who has a hearty appetite, then you might want to check out the Wicked Sausage station. One of two new food & beverage locations at ‘the Joe’ with the other being Joe’s Shrimp Shack.

The aforementioned Man Salad will satisfy many hunger pangs. Served in a small pizza box it’s a 10-inch German pretzel smothered in grilled onions & peppers, sauerkraut, crawfish with your choice of three smoked sausages all drenched in Wicked Weed cheese sauce. Bratwurst and other European sausages from Cooper River Farms are available at Wicked, alongside pork rinds & Low Country Kettle Chips. Hungry appetites need apply!

Taking a break from burgers and dogs, Joe’s Shrimp Shack is a seafood lovers destination with the Oyster Po’Boy and Charleston Shrimp Roll jumping over the counter. Love fried & battered cod, than the footlong Fish Stick (fish on a stick) is a warm and tender morsel. Add a side of hush puppies or Old Bay French Fries and experience what fisherman paradise.

The Smoke House has low country church picnic written all over it. There you’ll find many of BBQ favorites including brisket, pull pork, and even pulled smoked chicken. Don’t forget about the sides, like mac n’ cheese, collard greens or their famed loaded potato salad. You’ll find everyone’s favorite dessert banana pudding at the Smoke House. Your stop for familiar comfort food.

Kids of all ages flock to Scoops down by Dog World. There you’ll find several ballpark staples including hand scooped ice cream, Icee’s, hotdogs, fountain soda drinks, hotdogs, and a variety of kids meals.  Nearby at Charles Snack Shack pre-made sandwiches and salads are available with quick snacks and bottled water. A typical kid’s meal may come with a hotdog or PB&J sandwich with chips and a drink. Kids meals vary on Sunday Family Days. When it comes to food at ‘the Joe’, the F&B team cover all the bases.

When you’re not grabbing your favorite Pepsi product at almost any F&B location, those 21 and older might prefer adult beverages. ‘The Joe’ offers several options. Just inside the main gate near the left field line our Carolina neighbors to the north Wicked Weed have a kiosk dispensing ice cold beer. Four different selections come in 16 and 24 oz. cups, with another four 12 oz. cans to choose from. They are conveniently located next to Wicked Sausage.

Down the concourse a stone’s throw from State Fair you’ll find another triple play with Joe’s Spirits serving up free pour cocktails and wine. Tucked just under stadium seating the ever-popular Beer Garden serves up Palmetto and Catawba Beer on draft alongside Porch Pounder wine. They share the space with Sweet Grass Vodka Bar where artisans are ready to craft signature free pour cocktails with exotic mixers for thirsty patrons.  Local breweries available around the ballpark include Rusty Bull, Palmetto, and Common House. Not to worry, ‘beer shakes’ return in May.

80 percent of the food and drink on the menu boards at ‘the Joe’ fall under staple items offered up every day at ballparks all across the country. The remaining 20 percent are for the adventurous, or those taking a walk on the wild side.

Don’t think for a minute that the team at ‘the Joe’ aren’t concerned about how you dine while watching the game. They understand not every food is easy to eat and that some are messier than others. Almost all there entrees come in either a to-go style Styrofoam or small pizza box, providing a sturdier container to eat your food. Now that’s thinking forward.

Don’t want to miss the game or stand in a concession line for a long time, download their ‘catch’ app on our phone. The app allows season ticket holders to have their food or drink delivered to their section and seat. Non season ticket holders can utilize the app as well, although you have to pick it up yourself. Still a nice ballpark perk!

For the second straight season, the RiverDogs invite you to bring your pup to ‘the Joe’ for each Tuesday home game, where fans enjoy $2 hot dogs and beer. Wednesday is Wicked Weed Wednesday. Make sure to keep an eye out for weekly wicked ticket deals. Every Wednesday they will also focus their attention on local businesses and special food concepts.

Thirsty Thursdays are back with $1 beer night at the Ashley View Pub with music courtesy of a live DJ. Bottoms up! Friday night enjoy fireworks after every home game, with Saturday’s usually a promotional giveaway. Sunday is MUSC Family Day where it’s all about the kids including special food & beverage offerings. Parking is always free on Sunday.

Let’s recap. Baseball is fun. Food is fun. Beverages are fun. The promotions are fun. What’s is all add up too! The Charleston Riverdogs are a whole lot fun! Catch them in 2022 at ‘the Joe’. For more on the Riverdogs and their schedule visit https://www.milb.com/charleston

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