Pirates pitching new refreshment options at PNC Park

The season starts Monday afternoon against the Cubs

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It's called the Brunch Burger, and it might give palpitations to your cardiologist.

A patty made from Angus beef and ground bacon is topped with maple bacon, a fried egg and cheddar cheese, and served on a glazed donut that has been sliced in half and toasted on a grill.

"You will not find that at the healthy options stand," said Steve Musciano, general manager for PNC Park concessionaire Aramark, which touted several new culinary options for the Pirates season that begins Monday with a 1:35 p.m. game against the Chicago Cubs.

What's new at PNC Park?

What's new at PNC Park? (Video by Nate Guidry; 3/28/2013)

The team hosted What's New at PNC Park Day on Thursday and, as is customary, much of the attention was focused on food and drink -- both healthy choices and items that will have ambulance drivers on high alert.

The Brunch Burger will be available at the rebranded Rivertowne Brewing Hall of Fame Club above the left-field bleachers. It formerly carried the name of a local newspaper and before that was an Outback Steakhouse.

Also on the club's menu is this antidote to Monday's expected frigid weather: the Scotch Egg, a hard-boiled egg surrounded by spicy Italian sausage that is breaded and deep-fried and served with Rivertowne's signature Fire Sauce.

The club, open to all fans, also will serve six craft beers from the Murrysville brewery that go "across the hoppy scale," founder Christian Fyke said, including Hala Kahiki, a pineapple concoction.

The "All You Can Eat Seats" have put on a few pounds, becoming the "All You Can Eat Seats Presented by Pepsi," and moved to a new home. They will be sequestered in five sections in the right-field side of the stadium's club level, Pirates executive vice president Lou DePaoli said. The $42 tickets allow fans to gorge themselves on unlimited hot dogs, hamburgers, nachos, salads, popcorn, peanuts, ice cream and pop.

Isolating the section in the club level will put a stop to fans sharing the bounty with those who didn't buy the special tickets, Mr. DePaoli acknowledged.

The Riverwalk Grill will take over the space formerly occupied by the no-limits concession stand, and will serve up four exotic foot-long sausages, including Tequila Lime Sausage (pork soaked in lime and tequila) topped with cilantro slaw and Buffalo Chicken Sausage topped with shredded carrot and celery slaw, which Mr. Musciano said is "like getting a chicken wing in a bun."

"Believe it or not, right after Opening Day, we'll start to plan for next year," he said of the menu. "We started talking about the sausage in August and finished development two days ago. We try to put a lot of thought into what we do, make it unique to Pittsburgh."

Two new healthy choices will debut this year, a tomato and mozzarella salad dressed in balsamic vinaigrette and an heirloom tomato watermelon salad. They will be available at Just4U, a stand that debuted last year with gluten-free hot dogs and nachos and steamed veggies.

On the club level, Levy Restaurants is opening two new stands -- The Barbecue Pitt and Bridges Burger Company. The West End Burger is topped with barbecued pulled pork, smoked cheddar, onion rings, lettuce and tomato.

"We're one of the best stadiums in the country for food," executive chef Adam Holt said.

Other than some different advertising, there are few physical changes to the ballpark as it begins its 13th season. Markers on the outfield walls that show the distances from home plate have been replaced with numbers in what Mr. DePaoli called "the Pirates font." Padding on the walls was replaced and advertising screened into the pads rather than being pasted on.

At Sunday home games, the Pirates will wear throwback uniforms similar in appearance to those worn by the 1971 World Championship team.

Mr. DePaoli said only scattered single seats remain available for Monday. Season-ticket sales are 20 percent ahead and overall sales are 15 percent ahead of last year, when the team had its second-best attendance, he said.

The Roberto Clemente Bridge will close to vehicles at 10 a.m. Monday. No commuter parking will be allowed in North Shore lots and garages, which will open at 9:30 a.m. with game-day rates. Stadium gates will open at 11:30 a.m., and pregame festivities are scheduled to start around 12:40 p.m.

Weather permitting, the team will hold a workout at the ballpark at 1 p.m. Sunday, open to the public with no admission charge. Parking will be free in Lot 4 on Mazeroski Way and Lot 6 directly across West General Robinson Street from the ballpark.

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Jon Schmitz: jschmitz@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1868. First Published March 29, 2013 4:00 AM


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