Last night in Akron was sweet. Or should I say suite?
The Aeros posted a 6-3 win against Reading, and hosted a group of WFNY writers and family/friends in a party suite to try the new food items that we hve talked about over the long winter. Naturally, we brought WFNY’s favorite photographer Jon Cole along to capture the events for us, and you.
I’ll start with my favorite of the items: the ‘Three Dog Night’. As we mentioned earlier this year, this monster dog is a hot dog, inside of a brat, inside of a kielbasa. It was topped with sauerkraut and Bertman’s Ball Park mustard.
Let me say first, that all of the ingredients separately were good, which is a strong base for the combination to work. And it did. If you could get all the components in your mouth at one time that is! The thing is huge. But very tasty. To be fair, if I were going to choose toppings for a hot dog or brat, sauerkraut and Bertman’s would be on it. So perhaps this one had an unfair advantage from the start.
Keeping with the hot dog theme, we had the opportunity to sample the ‘Eighth Wonder of the World Dog’, which is a whopping one-pound hot dog with some of the craziest topping combinations you can think of. This dog is about an inch and a half thick, and is 16 inches long. The most popular topping choice from our group was the macaroni and cheese dog - Craig said it was delicious. I was too busy trying to finish my Three Dog Night to get a piece of the mac and cheese dog. My loss apparently.
Other popular toppings for the Eighth Wonder dog were pizza, coleslaw, baked beans and peppers. Not as popular (I don’t think anyone dared try it with so many other tempting options) was the peanut butter and jelly dog. I was told however that the peanut butter dog was voted the best of the new topping choices by the Aeros staff. I’ll have to take their word for it.
You’d think that we’d be done discussing hot dogs, but they were even on the new ‘Nice 2 Meat You’ burger. Try this one for size: a 1.75-pound hamburger stuffed with a half-pound of hot dog and topped with bacon. Again, everything was quality separately. For me the hot dog tasted out of place mixed with the hamburger and bacon, but it was probably the favorite of the dinner options according to the whole group.
The topper, though, was the ice cream. The ‘Screamer’ is a massive 22-scoop ice cream sundae served in a replica batting helmet. complete with brownies, whipped cream, chocolate sauce and sprinkles this one will be a serious hit for families as the summer heats up. It was outstanding. Highly recommend.
We asked food and beverage director Jason Kerton how the sales of the new items were going, and were informed that so far the new items accounted for 37 percent of the total food revenue for the park. That’s amazing. Granted, the number may drop as the season goes along and people have had a chance to try the foods, but that’s a great showing early on.
I think the new items are perfect for families to share, and that is a big part of the minor league baseball experience – taking the kids to the park. It’s an inexpensive alternative for family fun. Especially at Canal Park as the Aeros have long been a successful franchise on the field winning the Eastern league three times in the last decade. But now more than ever they are reaching out to be a top organization off of the field as well.
New COO Jim Pfander has brought ideas and a winning attitude to the Aeros staff. They are putting money into hiring the right people and doing things the right way. Pfander recently took several of his front office staff on the road to see another successful minor league organization, something that many of his staff had never done before. We hope that Jim and his staff are successful in bringing a great atmosphere and attitude to Canal Park as we’ve always enjoyed our time there.
Many of you might be wondering about WFNY night at Canal Park. Don’t worry – that’s still going to happen. We’re working on the date for that even with the Aeros as we speak.