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ARA ISSUES 1993 BALLPARK FOOD SERVICE REPORT

 PHILADELPHIA, April 1 /PRNewswire/ -- When it comes to chowing down, baseball fans can anticipate waiting less and savoring more.
 The familiar calls of "Cold soda, here!" and "Get your hot dogs!" will be joined by those for everything from non-alcoholic beer to frozen yogurt.
 This season, ballpark vendors will be in the stands hawking much more than just the traditional fare, according to ARA Services, the provider of foodservices at five major league ballparks.
 Denver's Mile High Stadium, home field for the new Colorado Rockies, may be short on baseball tradition, but it is already a cuisine trendsetter offering a wide variety of food and drink.
 "Colorado is a true melting pot, and our menu reflects that diversity of styles and tastes," said Ben Ribaudo, ARA's general manager at Mile High.
 Ribaudo's regional chow roundup includes Chicago-styled hot dogs, spiced sausages, bratwursts, Italian beef sandwiches and made-to-order deli items.
 Denver's own Coleman natural hot dogs -- containing no nitrates or preservatives -- should attract dietary-conscious fans with the slogan, "Man ain't messed with it." Rocky Mountain Ribs, another local company, will be offering up barbecue rib sandwiches and platters.
 Joining Rockies fans will also be many familiar, national names. Domino's Pizza, Taco Bell, Subway and Friesen yogurt will all be sending their own vendors into the seats and operating concession stands throughout the stadium.
 Along with the Florida Marlins, the Rockies are the first major league expansion team since 1977, and some fans are having a difficult time waiting for opening day at Mile High.
 "The anticipation level is extremely high," said Ribaudo. "We have people walking around the stadium every day, taking pictures."
 Along with the new teams, some conventional big league tastes are also changing.
 For example, at Wrigley Field in Chicago, fans will be able to sample a smorgasbord of liquid refreshments -- including non-alcoholic beer, bottled water, diet soda and fruit juices -- without having to leave their seats.
 "Fans aren't satisfied with the basic soda, hot dog, and beer routine," said Rich Roper, ARA's general manager. "And they don't want to stand in line."
 Is it a sign that Chicago's "Da Fans" -- noted for being loud, loyal and beefing up on bratwurst -- are taming their carnivorous appetites?
 Not completely.
 "Chicagoans still like to eat hearty foods," explained Roper. "But baseball attracts more families than other major sports, and families want more health foods and diet products."
 Other additions to the Wrigley Field menu include cotton candy and jumbo, 60-ounce hot chocolates and coffees.
 The reason for the larger hot beverage sizes?
 "Last season we had a lot of cold weather," explained Roper.
 In Baltimore, barbecue and Orioles baseball are a winning combination. Last year, there was nearly always a line for two hot items, O's tickets and Boog's Pit barbecue beef sandwiches. Though baseball tickets are still a hard find, this season Oriole Park at Camden Yards will be spreading the hot coals and sauce to include Matte's St. Louis-Style Barbecue.
 Owner Tom Matte, of Baltimore Colts football fame, will be offering his interpretation of barbecue beef and chicken to fans with a side of fresh cole slaw.
 Jay Boyle, ARA general manager, admits to tantalizing hungry Oriole fans with a subliminal dinner bell.
 "Even before the games start, the barbecue smell drifts into the stands," said Boyle. "By game time, it usually lures quite a crowd."
 Only its second season, the retro-styled Oriole Park has already become a favorite field with players and fans alike. Boyle predicts Baltimore will break the major league record for most consecutive sell- outs this spring.
 As a result, Oriole Park has become a hotbed for political and corporate pregame schmoozing, and the demand for event facilities is high. In addition to the park's 1,000-person capacity picnic area, a left field terrace has been constructed to accommodate parties of 200.
 Pittsburgh Pirates fans visiting Three Rivers Stadium can look forward to savoring charcoal-grilled burgers, sausage and chicken specialties, introduced during the past football season.
 "The grills were very popular at the Steelers' football games," said Tim Lawler, ARA general manager.
 "They added a greater variety to our menu, and the fans loved it. So we decided to try it out for the baseball season."
 Nachos will remain the Pittsburgh ballpark snack of choice, said Lawler. Last year, Pirate fans consumed 400,000 orders of nachos and washed them down with 1.5 million sodas.
 "Nachos," explained Lawler, "are very big. We make the cheese, grind the peppers and mix in the seasoning."
 Weather and team performance are the two primary factors affecting what and how much fans will eat. During the cold National League playoff nights, Pittsburgh fans went for heavy-duty grub, with hot dogs, hamburgers, coffee and hot chocolate cutting the late-season mustard.
 Chicken-fried steaks, barbecue beef and local beers have captured the gastronomical attention of Texas Rangers fans. But the end of Nolan Ryan's stellar pitching career will be the big draw at Arlington Stadium, said Steve Newhart, ARA general manager.
 To commemorate the all-time strikeout king's retirement, many food and drink items will include souvenir mugs and pennants featuring Ryan's hurling highlights. Atlanta Braves fans, however, are sticking to the tried-and-true originals.
 Alton Hutcheson, ARA general manager at Fulton County Stadium, has added only wine to a menu featuring very traditional ballpark fare.
 "We've explored different foods over the years," said Hutcheson, "but fans keep coming back to the basics: beer, soda and peanuts."
 With a total attendance of 3.5 million "tomahawk-chopping" fans and the National League pennant to their credit, who can blame them for adopting the motto: If it ain't broke, don't fix it?
 Headquatered in Philadelphia, ARA is the world's leading provider of diversified services with revenues of $5 billion.
 The company's Leisure Services Group manages food, lodging and hospitality services for recreational facilities, state and national parks, and convention centers across the country.
 /delval/
 -0- 4/1/93
 /CONTACT: Tita Cherrier of ARA Services, 215-238-3324/


CO: ARA Services ST: Pennsylvania IN: SU:

MJ-CC -- PHFNS2 -- 1824 04/01/93 07:32 EST
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Date:Apr 1, 1993
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