AKRON   Before introducing fans to their new lineup on the field, the Akron RubberDucks debuted their new lineup at The Game Bar and Grill, the restaurant located a long home run down the right field line at Canal Park. 

In what has become a tradition for the better part of a decade, a new Extreme Menu selection was unveiled just days before the RubberDucks home opener.

“This is always one of my favorite days of the year … very excited about the upcoming season and the excitement these items will add to our menu,” said Brian Manning, the team’s director of food and beverage services.

The new menu will replace what was known as the Chef’s Table last season, a buffet-style selection of many different types of foods that allowed diners to load up on a variety of items for a fixed price. Working with new executive chef James Phillips, Manning and the food and beverage staff have worked to overhaul the menu and added two new Extreme Menu items and several other offerings.

“Chef James Phillips is a great addition to our team,” Manning said. “He has created an outstanding new menu at The Game and the two new Extreme Menu items are the best I have had since I started with the franchise in 2013.”

The newest Extreme Menu items are the Notorious P.I.G. and Yardbird, each a meat-heavy concoction full of calories and flavor. 

The Notorious P.I.G. is a pork-laden sandwich with two fried pork tenderloins as its bun, filled with pulled pork, smoked shoulder bacon and maple honey mustard sauerkraut slaw. It comes with a hefty price tag of $15 and will be available at the Bier Garten concession stand along the first base line during games.

As for the Yardbird, a tip of the cap to the iconic old-school rock band with which Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page once performed, it’s a sandwich using two apple fritters as its bun, with turkey, bacon, apples, arugula and honed-whipped cream cheese inside. Its price tag will be $12 and the Yardbird will be served inside The Game Bar and Grill.

Besides the two new Extreme Menu items, six other new entries will also be on the menu. They range from traditional fare, such as the Cleveland Polish Boy ($10, with beef kielbasa, fries, cole slaw and barbecue sauce) to the unusual in the former of Waffle Waffle Fries ($8, waffle-battered sweet potato fries topped with maple syrup and powdered sugar).

Given the high-calorie nature of much of the ballpark food not only at Canal Park but throughout baseball, one new entry on the menu stands apart due to its (relatively) healthy nature.

The Turkey Club Salad, which will retail for $8, is a departure from items such as the Southern Fried Chicken Sandwich and according to Phillips, that was by design.

“A lot of times people who are looking for healthier items are left out, so this is basically all of the elements you would have in a turkey club sandwich, deconstructed and put into a salad,” Phillips said.

To round out the changes to the menu throughout the park during games, the RubberDucks have also added a new menu item specific to four concession stands throughout the venue. The Taters concession stand will have Fried Mac N Cheese Bites, Godfather’s Kitchen will serve cannoli, Sock Hop will have Cookie Sundaes and Dog Pound will offer specialty hot dog toppings.

There are also some returning favorites from previous seasons, including the Nice 2 Meat U Burger, Pineapple TeriyAKRON Bowl and Squealer, a half-pound hot dog stuffed with pulled pork and cheese, wrapped in bacon and deep fried before being coated in barbecue sauce.

Add in the returning Screamer, an oversized ice cream sundae that fills a full-size batting helmet, and fans will once again have no trouble finding interesting food options to fill their stomachs as they watch the RubberDucks defend their Eastern League title this spring and summer. Like the team on the field, the menu off it has undergone significant changes and just as the RubberDucks themselves have a new manager in the person of Mike Budzinski, the kitchen at The Game Bar and Grill has its own new leader in Phillips.  

Reach Andy at 330-580-8936
or andy.harris@thesuburbanite.com.
On Twitter: @aharrisBURB