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Home Field Advantage

Sure, a burger and a brew are quintessential baseball snacks, but fans don’t have to settle for the basics at ONEOK Field, where the game is only part of the experience.

Article
John Tranchina
Posted
May 28, 2018

The most important thing to know about the food at ONEOK Field served during Tulsa Drillers and Roughnecks games is that just about everything is made inside the ballpark. Add in the fact that there are tons of options, for both food and alcohol — both affordably priced — and you end up with a distinctive, delicious eating experience while catching all the action.

“We make all of our food from scratch here,” said Cody Malone, the director of food and beverage since 2014. “We think we can do it better than anybody else. As a chef, I’m inclined to think I’m better than anybody else. Chefs are that way.”

Malone changed some of the options for fans to choose from at both Drillers and Roughnecks games this season. There’s a barbecue station called Greenwood Smoke Shack featuring very tasty offerings such as pulled pork and chicken, a loaded baked potato filled with brisket and covered with special sauces, as well as yummy baked beans and potato salad options, among many other items.

While many ballparks buy pre-made funnel cake mix, ONEOK Field makes its with whole milk from Oklahoma. (Photo: Marc Rains)
While many ballparks buy pre-made funnel cake mix, ONEOK Field makes its with whole milk from Oklahoma. (Photo: Marc Rains)

“The [sausage] hot links are a Siegi’s product; everything else we make from scratch,” he says. “I have a 16-foot smoker in the back. We don’t want to reinvent the wheel, but we’ve had the same wheel for a couple of years, so it was time to look at it again.”

Then there’s the House Divided stand, which combines a number of delicious burger and hot dog options, with fries and chips and other similar options.

And believe it or not, there are also plenty of good vegetarian and vegan options available. Malone noted that ONEOK Field has been honored by PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) as one of the top 10 vegan and vegetarian-friendly ballparks in the country all nine years it has been open, winning the title twice and finishing second on that list as recently as 2016.

In addition to the fact that just about everything is made in-house, most of ONEOK Field’s food comes from ingredients sourced in Oklahoma.

“We do a lot as far as Made in Oklahoma products go. It’s been a big push of mine since I became director,” says Malone. ONEOK Field was named MIO Coalition Restaurant of the Month in May 2015 and was a finalist for MIO Restaurant of the Year in 2015. “As an Okie, it’s good, because we have all the basic ingredients to put out good food in Oklahoma. We have good wheat, we have great dairy cows for milk, we have great lands to graze for beef and pork. Outside of seafood, we should have it all. We should be the food capital of the country.”

The Greenwood Smoke Shack features very tasty offerings such as pulled pork and chicken slow cooked on a 16-foot smoker. (Photo: Marc Rains)
‍The Greenwood Smoke Shack features very tasty offerings such as pulled pork and chicken slow cooked on a 16-foot smoker. (Photo: Marc Rains)

Malone extends that local-made motif to the alcohol selections.

“Local beers are a big thing for us,” Malone says. “We have 25 local beers. I have a mix of 50 beers that I rotate through the year, and half of those are going to be local Oklahoma products, regional products.”

Additionally, Malone is proud of his wine choices.

“We have a wine sponsor upstairs and on the concourse with Artisan Fine Wines and Spirits. They’re off 11th Street and Sheridan and have great 90-point wines,” he says. “We have a really solid wine list. We have a good variety of liquors in our Club Bar and at the Scoreboard Bar, we have fun drink specials.”

In addition to those items that fans can get at the concession stands on the concourse, Malone applies the same principles to the higher-end options available in the suites during games.

“I have a completely different menu upstairs, it goes from hot dogs to lobster tails,” says Malone, who started out as head chef in 2012 before being promoted in 2014. “We offer the barbecue, burger and hot dog options upstairs. Our chef makes sauces from scratch, and we make our funnel cake batter from scratch. I bought a used 60-quart mixer from a Tulsa Public Schools auction and we make a lot of stuff in that thing. But most ballparks buy pre-made funnel cake, we make ours with whole milk from Oklahoma, so it’s a MIO product. We love to play around with stuff. We do fried Oreos. We have fun with it. You’re in a baseball stadium; you’re here to have a good time.

“You go to other ballparks regionally and they’re going to have maybe 10 things on their menu. Here, I have a menu mix of 350 items.”

Ultimately, Malone’s goal is for people to come to the ballpark primarily for the food, and he believes that the more variety he offers, the better.

“Our guests really enjoy having it all, from having Mexican food to Philly cheese steaks to barbecue to gourmet burgers and dogs to ice cream and the wide variety of beer,” Malone says. “The running joke is that people come here to eat and drink and there just happens to be a baseball game going on. We take pride in food and beverage here, and that’s kind of rare for a minor league stadium to go as far as we do, and to keep it affordable.”