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Pirates will serve Pittsburgh food and drink this season at PNC Park

The Pirates and PNC Park have partnered with restaurants and chefs to bring a taste of Pittsburgh to the ballpark this baseball season.

New menu items include Fat Head’s beer from the South Side, a burger from Station in Bloomfield and a Reuben hot dog topped with house-made corned beef from Weiss Provisions of Smallman Street Deli in the Strip District. There’s even chicken from Coop De Ville on the Strip.

Fat Head’s, which will celebrate its 30th anniversary in September, is sponsoring the new Riverwalk Bullpen Overlook, a space above the center field bullpens that will include two rows of drinks, seating and televisions.

“I saw the rendering, but I couldn’t show what it actually looks like in person,” said Bill Wetmore, director of sales and marketing for Fat Head’s, during a press tour of PNC Park on Wednesday. “I was blown away when I saw it. This area really connects fans to the park.”

There will be 22 taps, some with Fat Head beers and some craft beers. The area will allow fans to watch pitchers warm up and capture a view from the outfield to home plate, according to Pirates president Travis Williams.

It’s all part of what the team calls “the continuing evolution of PNC Park,” creating social gathering spaces on the grounds, concession and hospitality concepts, and playgrounds. As the park evolves, it makes sense to partner with local restaurants and chefs because they represent a vibrant food scene in Pittsburgh, Williams said.

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Cristina Serafini | Tribune-Review

The Chicago Dog is one of the new foods introduced during a media event sharing this year’s news at PNC Park on Wednesday, April 6, 2022.

Jeff Cohen, owner of Weiss Provisions and Smallman Street Deli, said Deli Dogs will offer a new take on the traditional hot dog. They are hot dogs in a natural casing served in a Martin’s roll. The Reuben dog has corned beef, sauerkraut, thousand island dressing, and Swiss cheese. A Chicago dog has yellow mustard, chopped onions, kosher dill pickles, tomato, neon seasoning, sport peppers, and celery salt in a poppy seed bun.

Cohen is a longtime season ticket holder who at one point threw batting practice for the likes of Hall of Famer Willie Stargell. He was a pitcher for the Point Park baseball team and met then-manager Chuck Tanner, who needed help with batting practice.

“The stadium is moving in the right direction with all these improvements,” Cohen said. “They have done their homework.”

They needed it because fan habits are changing, Williams said.

About to open its 22nd season, when the Pirates host the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday, starting at 4:12 p.m. recognize.

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Cristina Serafini | Tribune-Review

Ballpark designer Janet Marie Smith talks about the updates during a media event sharing what’s new this year at PNC Park on Wednesday, April 6, 2022.

Ballpark design consultant Janet Marie Smith of Baltimore is helping with the improvements. She met with Pirates owner Bob Nutting and explored ways to improve the stadium experience. A longtime executive with Major League Baseball teams, her past projects include Camden Yards in Baltimore, Fenway Park in Boston and Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles.

“This is one of the most iconic ballparks in the United States,” Smith said of PNC Park. “They used to be fans sitting in their seats the entire game. They like to spin. We wanted the river walk to be much more open and welcoming. Gardens are so much fun.”

Also on the riverwalk is Chicken on the Hill, which offers food from Coop De Ville. It will offer a classic fried chicken sandwich with sweet tea brined chicken, Duke’s mayonnaise, bread and butter pickles and shredded iceberg on a Martin roll. There is also a sandwich with pimento cheese, chicken strips and fries.

Station will serve six burgers, including one with patty, pub cheese, pickles and onions on a Martin roll, and a veggie burger with mushroom patty, pub cheese, pickles and onions.

A nacho stand, Nachorita, will serve various concoctions, starting with Nachos Nachorita: corn tortilla chips, cheese sauce, black beans, jalapeños, scallions, cilantro-lime crema and salsa.

Food areas will have kiosks for ordering.

“(The improvements) have something for families or a fan who wants to come in and have a bite to eat or someone who just wants to hang out and watch baseball,” Williams said. “Everyone can access this. That’s why I came here.”

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Cristina Serafini | Tribune-Review

John Sergi, Hospitality Strategy Consultant, and Brian Hediger, General Manager of Aramark at PNC Park, discuss new foods during a media event sharing this year’s news at PNC Park on Wednesday, April 6, 2022.

Gabor Kovats, executive chef at Aramark, has enjoyed working with the local chefs.

“Fans know Smallman Street Deli and Coop de Ville and Station and Fat Head’s,” Kovats said. “These are foods and drinks that the people of Pittsburgh know and love. It’s a win-win situation.”

JoAnne Klimovich Harrop is a staff writer for the Tribune-Review. JoAnne can be reached at 724-853-5062, jharrop@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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