It's been nearly four decades since the New York Mets won the World Series, but even the most casual fan will tell you that hope springs eternal on opening day. This year the team is coming off a 100-plus-win season last year, with some key changes over the winter, so it looks like it’s going to be a lot of fun out here in Queens this season.
Over the past few years, Citi Field has expanded upon the old "seats and suites" model of stadiums, adding more open-air, open-to-everyone fan experiences as well as club-like premium spaces. And food. So much food. Here's a look at some of the highlights.
Here's What You'll Be Eating All Summer As The Mets Tear Through The League And Are Crowned Champions
The acclaimed Pop Up Bagels — which Redding, Connecticut, resident Adam Goldberg started as a backyard pandemic project in 2020 — now has three locations in his home state and one coming soon to Greenwich Village. He’s also out here slinging a pizza bagel in the Citi Field suites this summer, combining two of the best foods on the planet into one chewy, gooey delight.
Food Network star Sunny Anderson debuts her Sunny's All-American Kitchen concept at Citi Field, with Nacho Skins (hollowed-out fried potato halves loaded up with things like shredded chicken, black beans, bacon, and tons of cheese), her Famous Mac and Cheese, and Campfire Parfaits, which eat like s'mores in a cup.
Other celebrity chefs are getting into the action as well, including Marc Murphy, currently a judge on Chopped, who unveils two new creations at his Porchetta Sandwich Shop; and chocolate master Jacques Torres, who'll have his excellent Chocolate Chip Cookies at stands throughout the park, as well as cute, Mr. Met emblazoned chocolate bars.
Empanada Mama brings their excellent Cheeseburger Empanadas to the ballpark, and Upper West Side favorite Jacob's Pickles unleashes an insane Fried Chicken Sandwich upon the borough of Queens, dripping with honey BBQ sauce and stuffed between a glazed doughnut. It sounds like it's way too much, but it's actually just exactly enough. And an outfit called Beyond Nightlife Sushi will be selling various rolls and "sushi burritos" in several locations.
One of the must-try items this year are the wonderfully juicy Tamarind Barbecue Wings with ranch dressing from Emma's Torch, a non-profit organization with a restaurant in Carroll Gardens that "empowers refugees, asylees, and survivors of human trafficking through culinary education." Don't miss these beauties.
And Citi Field hasn't forgotten its neighbors! As part of the Taste of Queens initiative, several local spots will have a booth on the stadium's Field Level, including Flushing's own Tang, here selling Bulgogi Rice Cups; the LGBTQ+ owned and operated Fresco's Grand Cantina from Astoria, with Ropa Vieja Quesadillas and sweet Churro Nachos; and Jamaica's Nourish Spot, mixing up Berry Banana Slammer smoothies.
Plenty of fan favorites are back as well, including Shake Shack (look for their Citi Field exclusive, the Mets MVP Shake); Pig Beach and their terrific patty melt; Fuku's no-joke Spicy Fried Chicken Sando; and Pat LaFrieda's overflowing, sliced rib eye Cheese Steak. And, somewhat unexpectedly, fried chicken specialists Sweet Chick served up the best dessert of the day, a maple and chocolate Waffle Ice Cream Sandwich.
Rounding out your food options are Sundae Donuts with several super-sugary options, the Japanese-inspired Mexican spot Takumi Tacos, Chiddy's Cheese Steaks at the Coca-Cola Truck, and slices from East Harlem's famous Patsy's Pizzeria. Stalwarts like Nathan's Famous hot dogs and chicken tenders will also be in ample supply around the stadium, and, of course, those glorious Mister Softee swirls in a Mets batting helmet bowl.
To wash it all down, Citi Field serves more than 60 different beers and hard seltzers, as well as wines and premium cocktails, at various concessions and club spaces throughout the ballpark.
In Other Citi Field News
You can't miss the biggest addition to Citi Field this season: the centerfield digital scoreboard, which measures an astonishing 17,400 square feet and is powered by 13 million LED diodes. This means it's huge, bright, and crystal clear from any angle, even in the shining sun or pouring rain. A Citi Field spokesperson touted the scoreboard as the largest at any stadium in the Major League.
There's also a massive new screen in the Outfield Fan Fest area, so you won't miss any of the action if you choose to spend part of the game eating and drinking back there. And that's in addition to the more 1,200 large format screens newly installed throughout the park.
The Mets Hall of Fame and Museum, located just off the Jackie Robinson Rotunda, offers a few new exhibitions, including a 50th-anniversary look back at the incredible run to end the 1973 season, when the Amazins stormed back from last place to clinch the division on the final game.
There will also be $15 tickets available to college students this year. The organization noted that this younger generation "has been priced out of Major League Baseball consistently," and they aim to fix that.
The Mets noted during a preview to the season that their aim was to create different experiences, or "boroughs," around the ballpark for fans, and that includes some new clubs. The most exclusive is a speakeasy with a hidden entrance, called the Cadillac Club at Payson's, which is only accepting 25 to 30 members. This costs up to $25,000 a season, and features assigned seats, a private bar, an elevated dining experience, personal waitstaff, complimentary parking, food, soft drinks, beer and wine.
More inclusive are the two Híjole! bars with field-facing seating, which can also be rented out for big groups on a game-by-game basis. When these are not rented out, they will be open to the public. Additionally, there's a luxe, 52-seat Empire Club available for rent.
Take the Train to the Game!
There's a lot a new stuff this year, but one thing stays the same: by far the best way to get to Citi Field is via the MTA (especially with parking prices now at $40 during games). You can do this by either taking the 7 train to Mets - Willets Point, which put you steps away from the stadium's main entrance, right by the famous Mets Home Run Apple and last year's addition, the monumental Tom Seaver statue; or on the LIRR, which runs trains to Citi Field from Penn Station, Woodside, the new Grand Central Madison, and any station along the Port Washington Line.
Both the LIRR and the 7 train will bring you steps from the ballpark!
Are you a Yankees fan? Here's what you'll find there this season!