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Food & Drink

Pittsburgh Pirates debut 'Pizza Penny' pierogi, spread of new foods

JoAnne Klimovich Harrop
| Thursday, March 30, 2017, 12:57 p.m.
The Pirate Parrot and Pizza Penny
Pittsburgh Pirates
The Pirate Parrot and Pizza Penny
Half-chicken, El Diabola burger and other offerings at PNC Park
JoAnne Harrop | Tribune-Review
Half-chicken, El Diabola burger and other offerings at PNC Park
Pesto chicken at PNC Park
Pesto chicken at PNC Park
BBQ Chicken at PNC Park
BBQ Chicken at PNC Park
Reuben burger
Reuben burger
Watermelon caprese salad and other salads at PNC Park.
Watermelon caprese salad and other salads at PNC Park.
Barbecue steak sandwich
Barbecue steak sandwich
Kielbasa sliders and bavarian pretzel box.
Kielbasa sliders and bavarian pretzel box.
Iron City beer for sale at PNC Park features an image of Pirates legend Bill Mazeroski's historic walk-off home run in the 1960 World Series.
Iron City beer for sale at PNC Park features an image of Pirates legend Bill Mazeroski's historic walk-off home run in the 1960 World Series.

The Pittsburgh Pirates added to their lineup Thursday in the "Great Pierogi Race," announcing the addition of Pizza Penny — the second female in the group of pierogi characters that races following the fifth inning.

She joins Bacon Burt, Cheese Chester, Jalapeno Hannah, Oliver Onion and Sauerkraut Saul in the popular mascot race.

Foods — the real kind and in costume form — were featured in a sneak peek the Pirates offered at PNC Park in anticipation of the new season.

The Pirates begin the season on the road Monday at Boston before returning to Pittsburgh for the home opener April 7 against the Atlanta Braves.

While the players spent the offseason fine-tuning their games, executive chef Adam Holt of Levy Restaurants was perfecting the menu for the Club and Suite level, beginning with the house made Bavarian soft pretzel, smoked kielbasa sliders (truly a Pittsburgh delicacy), honey-grilled watermelon caprese salad and delicious desserts, including a five-layer rainbow cake. The butter-cream icing topped cake will be featured on the dessert cart, available to Suite Level patrons, along with carrot cake, four-layer chocolate cake, candy and edible raw cookie dough.

"There is nothing better than a warm, soft pretzel at a baseball game," Holt said of the hand-crafted salted and cinnamon-sugar dusted pretzel twists and mini knots. "We really focused on special offerings this season. We wanted to add an extra flair to the food."

The special caprese salad consists of field greens, tomatoes, mozzarella, basil clover honey and balsamic reduction. The kielbasa sliders are topped with sauerkraut, spicy mustard, pepper jack cheese on mini onion rolls.

There will be a wide selection of pizzas from pesto chicken to barbecue, made from hand-stretched dough fired at 700 degrees in the 5,000-pound stone oven on the Pittsburgh Baseball Club Level. The Club Level also will have a rotating burger special during each home stand.

New this year in the general concessions area is The Market behind Section 118, which will offer rotating menus each home stand. It will have a grab-and-go area featuring items such as chicken Caesar salad, cucumber sandwiches and hummus, veggies and pita plate. There will be stations of slow-cooked short rib macaroni and cheese and a handcarved, house-made porchetta sandwich, which has arugula, tomatoes and lemon-caper mayo spread on Breadworks ciabatta. Future menus include crab doughnuts and crispy pork belly haluskis.

The popular Sweet Spot has been relocated behind Section 107 and will include Isaly's hard-scoop and soft-serve ice creams.

The Rivertowne Brewing Hall of Fame Club will have a wide selection of craft beers. Food options include buffalo'd cauliflower, an ultimate vegan burger and bacon-wrapped char dog. Street potatoes are crispy fried potatoes, topped with chorizo, queso fresco, chipotle mayo and fresh cilantro.

The Riverwalk Grill in Section 144 offers the cracker jack and mac dog — a foot-long, all-beef hot dog topped with macaroni and cheese, salted caramel sauce, fried jalapenos on naan bread and served with Cracker Jacks.

The Just4U area in Section 130 has toasted tofu, gluten-free chips and cheese and a grilled veggie power chop.

Executive chef George Drakulich of Aramark decided to do some research on vegan and vegetarian options. Instead of looking at cookbooks, he became a vegetarian for two weeks and a vegan for two weeks and has maintained that meat-free diet for the past four months. He says he feels better and lost 27 pounds.

"As a chef, it is my job to share with the public wholesome food," Drakulich says. "This has been life-changing for me. We have made some really good vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options. There are so many fresh vegetables available. It's a lifestyle, but it's not for everyone. But we want to have food offerings for everyone."

"All of these options are for an enhanced fan experience, " Pirates president Frank Coonelly said. "We want PNC Park to be the cool place to be."

PNC Park this season will have two new bars — the Iron City Skull Bar and the Miller Lite Crow's Nest. The Iron City Bar will commemorate former Pirate Bill Mazeroski's homerun in Game 7 of the 1960s World Series with the iconic photo of him rounding third base on a bottle.

A new 11 feet high and 136 feet wide, full LED, out-of-town scoreboard adorns the Clemente Wall in left field. In addition to giving scores, it also will provide a more dynamic display with video replays and informational game notes in coordination with the main scoreboard during breaks in the action.

The Pirates also replaced the field lights and grass and installed a new knotless netting system for protection during the game.

Promotions this year include a Francisco Cervelli "That's Amore" singing bobblehead on April 8, a Bob Walk chair tip bobble chair on May 20 and a Gregory Polanco "El Coffee" bobblehead on Aug. 19. Free shirt promotional games will move from Fridays to nine Saturday dates. Every home Sunday game remains Kids Day.

JoAnne Klimovich Harrop is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-853-5062 or jharrop@tribweb.com.”

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