Safeco Goes Haute With a New Roster of Chefs and Restaurants

There was a time when one's food options while watching a baseball game fell into two categories. You could either grab yourself a hot handful of nuts or wrap your lips around a wiener.

Peanuts and hot dogs--that used to be all there was. But operating a major-league baseball stadium is an expensive proposition, so it didn't take long before owners realized that they could make a damn fortune from offering hungry fans everything from nachos and potato skins to Dungeness crab sandwiches, hummus platters, vegan soup, and fruit smoothies. Safeco Field likely has one of the more diverse menus available to sports fans (a board that was just massively overhauled last year), but almost any trip out to see a big-league game these days can be like hitting a kind of all-you-can-eat buffet (though, granted, a very expensive all-you-can-eat buffet), which makes the game itself almost seem secondary in importance to the fresh donuts, crab legs, gluten-free snack bars, and poutine.

And yet, it's never really enough, is it?

Safeco Field and their culinary partner, Centerplate, have just announced a new roster of chefs and food operations that will be part of the "restaurant style hospitality experience" planned for the "concession environment" that is Safeco, says John Sergi, Chief Design Officer for Centerplate.

What this means is new restaurants, new chefs, and a new look for the Bullpen Market. Centerplate has brought in Ethan Stowell as a consulting chef "in order to help us make the food 'restaurant-real,'" according to Sergi. Because, you know, Stowell apparently isn't busy enough already what with all the restaurants, book signings, and culinary events that he's a part of.

Stowell will be putting his stamp (and name) on two new food operations: Hamburg + Frites (which, obviously, will be serving sashimi and Pop Rocks) and La Crêperie, an authentic Parisian crepe shop, because you know baseball fans. They just can't get enough . . . crepes.

Safeco will also be opening Apizza with chef Bill Pustari of New Haven's Modern Apizza, and both the Flying Turtle Cantina and Tortugas Voladoras with chef Roberto Santibanez, who already has his fingers in restaurants and food carts from Austin, Texas, to Hoboken, New Jersey, and who now will be able to add Seattle to his list.

All these outlets will be opening in the new and improved Bullpen Market area, which is being completely overhauled in anticipation of the new tenants and turned into a "comfortable and casual" space, according to Bob Aylward, VP of Business Operations for the Mariners, featuring "fresh, local ingredients and clean flavors."

And OK, if that sounds more like an afternoon at the farmers market than a day out at the ballpark, you can probably still snag yourself a hot dog and a bag of nuts, too, if you really try. You'll just have to look past all the crab cocktails, veggie paninis, and crepes to find it.

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