By Margaret Neal
Lynbrook Senior High School
Hot dogs and chicken tenders may be the traditional fares offered at any sports stadium, but health-conscious fans and those with food allergies have more choices this year at Bethpage Ballpark, home of the Long Island Ducks, in Central Islip.
The operators at Centerplate, who provide the food at the concessions stands at the stadium, keep such fans in mind. The company provides a variety of services that cater to their dietary needs. “We’re very happy to help anyone to deal with any food allergies they may have,” said Jenny Dunne, the general manager of Centerplate.
One example is “Peanut Free” days. These days occur twice a season and are strictly free of all peanuts to assure a safe environment for fans that suffer from severe peanut allergies. Concession workers at the stadium also make sure to avoid any chance of cross-contamination. “We clean the counters a lot and always use gloves,” said Adriana Vega, a concession worker at the stadium.
Centerplate has also created new ways to address a growing interest of some of its fans: the health food craze. It recently added a new deli option that features fresh heroes and wraps made of whole grain. “That has become a real popular item lately,” said Dunne. These sandwiches are made to order and are prepared fresh with each purchase and are served with an enthusiastic smile.
But not all fans are taking advantage of the new options, some preferring taste over nutrition. “They try and make it seem healthy but it doesn’t really taste the same.”said Kyle Tassone, a ducks fan.
Duck fans who desire a more formal dining experience can find a spot at The Duck Club Restaurant and Bar, a full-service dining with a bird’s-eye view of the action on the field. It offers “seating for 126 fans in a climate-controlled environment” according to the Ducks’ website. The “Club” offers members a full menu with meals ranging from burgers to steak to lobster rolls — with free WI-FI on top of that. However, not all fans can use its services. Only members with a Duck Club access pass can gain entrance. These passes are given to fans with season tickets along with the luxury suite holders.
While the park offers its share of culinary options, many spectators stick with more traditional ball park foods. “Our most popular food items are hot dogs and chicken tenders,” said Dunne.