BU Ballpark vendors cover all bases

Kona-Ice has become a mainstay at Baylor Ballpark with its familiar, colorful truck. Despite a wait time that can last an inning or more, Kona-Ice’s shaved ice has become a hit with fans.
Nick Berryman | Lariat Photographer

By Daniel Wallace

Peanuts, popcorn, hot dogs, cotton candy, nachos all mixed together with … home runs, stolen bases and double plays. Sounds like a match made in heaven. For years, that type of food and a baseball game have gone together perfectly. Baylor Ballpark, however, has added a new dimension to the ballpark experience by offering a greater assortment of food.

Texas two step: Ordering at the Hot Corner

It happens every game to a few first-time Hot Corner customers. Ready to chow on a burger fresh off the grill, they reach their seats and open their containers only to find the meat missing from the burger. Chances are good they didn’t listen carefully to the cashier, who tells everyone after paying that he or she must walk to the grill to pick up the centerpiece of the Hot Corner burger.

The two-step process leaves some confused and others perturbed, but those who frequent the Hot Corner know it ensures every burger is made to order in plain view.

Step one: While hungry fans place their orders at the Hot Corner registers, employees prepare fresh burgers throughout the game.

Step two: Customers bring their boxes, with the buns and extra toppings, to the grill and receive their newly prepared meat patties.

Photos By Nick Berryman | Lariat Photographer

A new concession stand behind the third base bleachers known as the Hot Corner offers a wide selection where everything is served straight off the grill or fryer, as opposed to steamers at the other concession stands. Chicken fajitas, sandwiches, onion rings and jalapeno peppers are among the popular choices at the stand.

The untraditional ballpark food offered at the Hot Corner gives fans all the more reason to come out and enjoy another day at the ballpark.

“People want to experience different types of food. The Hot Corner brings a lot of people back to the ballgames,” Tino Juandiego, assistant concessions director for Baylor, said.

Not only is Baylor Ballpark home to Big 12 baseball, but the venue is also a place where the concessions complement the game and add to the experience. For the more traditional experience, the ballpark also offers all the basic items expected at any sporting event, such as the aforementioned food items, hamburgers, sunflower seeds and foot-long corn dogs.

All this variety makes it difficult to go hungry while watching the Bears battle on the diamond.

Phillip Johnson, Baylor concessions director, said the food at the ballpark is geared toward fans of all ages, and all taste buds.

“There is something for everyone … from a [small snack] to a catfish dinner. Everybody wants to eat; the more variety you give them, the more they will eat,” he said.

There are also various options for people with different sized wallets, as prices range from $1 to $7.

Baseball games mean snow cones and ice cream just as much as they mean chili dogs and chips. That is why Baylor concessions added Kona-Ice as a vendor at the ballpark in the spring of 2010. Kona-Ice not only brings refreshment to fans with delicate shaved ice straight off the shaver, but their two trucks bring a lively atmosphere. The trucks are painted colorfully with a penguin named Kona holding a rainbow snow cone. The sun, a crab and a parrot painted along the beach also add color to the truck.

The Kona-Ice tucks are managed by Sharon Smith, who enjoys the energy her truck brings to the ballpark.

“The most fun part of the truck is the self-serve flavor wave. The kids love this — they can mix and match and put whatever they want on it,” Smith said.

The wave provides 10 different flavor options for the shaved ice, including the best seller “Tiger’s Blood” — a mix of strawberry and cherry. The trucks provide a total of 45 different combinations. They also sell 12 flavors of ice cream, whether on a stick or in a cone.

While the Bears battle their opponents on the field, fans’ taste buds can be overwhelmed by all the eats and treats Baylor Ballpark has to offer.