By Jacqueline Church, Foodable Contributor
Gone are the days when the only thing to eat on game day was a Fenway Frank or a box of Cracker Jack. In fact, stadiums all over the country have enjoyed an evolution in fan food that is worthy of a giant wave.
Surrounding Boston’s Fenway Park, the Kenmore Square neighborhood offers a growing variety of dining options. From prime rib to pizza, oysters, tacos or barbecue, the lineup might surprise you.
Fast Casual Fenway
Chipotle: Well known for burritos, burrito bowls and a philosophy that includes non-GMO foods, animal welfare and sustainable farming practices. If you want brown rice, you can have that, too. It's fast-casual food with a side of good conscience. The Fenway location (148 Brookline Ave.) is just blocks from Fenway Park.
Enjoy your "flat patty" burger in the shadow of Fenway, with a side of fries and onion strings (half and half) and a full bar. The retro Tasty Burger has ventured into urban farming with the new Freight Farm operations. Stay tuned on that development. In the meantime, enjoy their Certified Humane® burger and from-scratch sauces. While the “homemade” buns, made in the old Sunbeam bread factory, present a mystery, it's the Official Burger of the Boston Red Sox, so enjoy. Bonus: they’re open until 2 a.m.
Location, Location, Location
Bleacher Bar: If you’ve ever goofed around under the bleachers at a game, you’ll have a sense of deja vu looking through the window at Center Field while you’re enjoying a nosh at the Bleacher Bar. That’s right, it’s located under the Center Field bleachers. The bar is named after the Green Monster and claims to be an “inside the park home run.” Get it?
El Pelón Taqueria: Maybe you want your tacos with a little more personality. Just a few blocks away (on Peterborough St.), try El Pelón, home to possibly the best fish taco in Boston. El Pelón is a something-for-everyone kind of joint, and that includes those with gluten sensitivity or dairy allergies.
The gallery of fan photos, each wearing an El Pelón t-shirt, photographed underwater, on mountains, and all over the world is fun to peruse while you eat. There are picnic tables out front, and a few tables and some counter seating inside.
The tacos in the photo are the cornmeal crusted crunchy fish tacos, lightly pickled red cabbage, lime-slaked red onions and an unusual but welcome fresh crunch of cucumber.
Mexican favorites from diverse regions, freshly prepared just blocks away from the park? It's a winner.
Getcha Beah Heah!
“Beah” is Bostonian for beer. There are many options around Fenway, including the old standby of the Cask ‘n Flagon, the newer Bleacher Bar and Boston Beer Works.
Yard House: Maybe you’re tired of the same old pint glass. Why not try a half yard glass of beer here? Boasting “beers from around the block and around the world,” Yard House has a tremendous selection of craft beers, some exclusive selections, “six pack” samplers, pints, shorties and goblets. Vegetarians or the veg-curious may be enticed by the Gardein™ option of meat substitutes.
Sweet Cheeks Q: Lovers of traditional barbecue from nearly any region will find something to love here. Purists might see butter in the collards as gilding the lily or wonder where the Kansas burnt ends are, but this joint satisfies. "Brisket, biscuit, smoke" say it three times and click your heels. Or, just head down to Fenway, sit outside and enjoy the 'cue.
The Citizen Public House and Oyster Bar: A perfect way to start an afternoon at Fenway Park? Expertly shucked, ice cold oysters, a glass of wine and a little Bill Withers playing in the background. It's going to be a lovely day. These Mystics were well-shucked, sparkling fresh and paired well with a glass of Mohua, NZ Sauvignon blanc $9.
With a dozen wines by the glass, a dozen beers in bottle/can, more on draught, full bar and some exclusive offerings on tap, everyone can find something to enjoy.
The Citizens' whole pig roast is a frequent affair. Grab your friends and enjoy the feast which includes oysters, stuffed roasted whole pig and sides.
There's no denying that fan food around Fenway Park has risen higher than a home run sailing over the Green Monstah. Get it on the good eats and GO SOX!