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Ranking Yankee Stadium’s new concessions: Chicken wings, garlic bread, Mister Softee

I was a rookie last year. Before showing up at Yankee Stadium’s Food & Beverage preview event in 2023, I ate breakfast like a moron. I woke up hungry and couldn’t wait a few hours to eat. It was a giant mistake. After eating thousands of calories, I was in such horrible shape that I barely left my bed once I got home.

This year, I only ate a PB&J for dinner the night before and purposefully had just one big meal all day before skipping breakfast the day of. Like a seasoned hitter, I made the necessary adjustments at the plate and it paid off. Three ice creams didn’t take me down. Spicy wings and a spicy chicken sandwich? Easy. Mac and cheese and cheesy garlic bread? Down the gullet.

The Yankees showcased some returning items from last season, like the 99 burger (I highly recommend it), but I was there only to try new items for 2024. The only new food item I didn’t sample was the porchetta sandwich from City Winery that comes with broccoli rabe, provolone, Calabrian aioli and arugula on a brioche bun. I’ve never been a big porchetta fan, so my ranking would have been negatively skewed.

To rank each item, I’m bringing back the highly scientific YSC+ stat that I introduced last year. Just like baseball’s “plus” stats, 100 is average. Any number above or below 100 means it’s above or below average. So a 125 YSC+ would mean it’s 25 percent better than the average concession item. I majored in journalism so there is no math calculation behind the stat because I can’t do math.

If you missed my rankings from last year’s menu — most of these items are still available this year — get caught up here.

Let’s rank some food.

The All-Stars

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(Chris Kirschner / The Athletic)

Sweet spot bowl

Where to buy: Section 311

YSC+: 185

Last year, the Yankees debuted a beef barbacoa burrito with rice and black beans. It was one of my most disappointing items because of how bland it was. This year, the Yankees upped their game with the sweet spot bowl consisting of carne asada, sweet plantains, rice, black beans, pickled onions and cilantro sauce. This was the star of the show. It instantly reminded me of my late Puerto Rican grandma who would make a similar dish in her Brooklyn kitchen when I was growing up. I’ll be ordering this on multiple occasions this year.

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(Chris Kirschner / The Athletic)

Meatballs and cheesy garlic bread from Christian Petroni

Where to buy: Sections 125, 310

YSC+: 180

Petroni won the crown last year with his cheesy garlic bread. This year, he’s adding meatballs on the side. The garlic bread alone is worth a trek to their stand, but the meatballs, whew. Perfectly seasoned, juicy, great size and just the right amount of crisp on the outside. Spectacular.

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(Chris Kirschner / The Athletic)

BBQ filet tip loaded tater tots from Lobel’s

Where to buy: Section 134

YSC+: 175

The potential is here for very high variance. Mess up the steak and you’re left with overpriced tater tots and shredded cheese. That did not happen in my experience with my sample. The steak was cooked at a medium temperature and topped with Lobel’s special seasoning. Lobel’s already had one of the best concession stands in the stadium; they’ve only added to their high-esteemed portfolio with this. But, again, be wary that this dish could go sideways fast.

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(Chris Kirschner / The Athletic)

Mister Softee

Where to buy: Sections 110, 125, 205, 224, 305, 318, bleachers

YSC+: 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000

This was longgggggggggggg overdue. There’s not a New York institution that belongs more in Yankee Stadium than Mister Softee. It’s the best and it has no rival. There’s no worse feeling when you’re walking the streets in the summer and there are only ripoff Mister Softee trucks around. I feel the same when I go in the press box dining room and there’s a soft serve machine and it’s NOT Mister Softee. The Mets have a Mister Softee machine in their press box. Why can’t the Yankees? (If you’re reading this and have the power to change this, I will write the most glowing profile of you.)

The hot prospects

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(Chris Kirschner / The Athletic)

Spicy chicken wings from Streetbird by Marcus Samuelsson

Where to buy: Section 112

YSC+: 125

Wings at a stadium can be very hit or miss, especially with them mass-produced and not given the proper love every individual wing deserves. So, this ranking could be totally off when there’s a line at their booth. But in this setting, they were a hit. I debated putting them in the All-Star category; they were that good. Great crisp on the skin, good spice-to-sweetness ratio and the ranch doesn’t outshine the brown sugar sauce. Curious to see if they’ll hold up once games start.

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(Chris Kirschner / The Athletic)

Sweet and spicy chicken sandwich from FUKU

Where to buy: Sections 109, 213

YSC+: 120

The habanero hits as soon as you bite into the sandwich, but the sweet and spicy glaze mutes the heat after chewing. It’s a great chicken sandwich if you can handle some spice. If not, FUKU’s chicken tenders are phenomenal, and don’t miss out on their waffle fries.

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(Chris Kirschner / The Athletic)

Strawberry paloma

Where to buy: Any bar that serves liquor

YSC+: 120

I’m not ashamed to admit I love pink drinks. This is a pink drink with tequila — my favorite kind of liquor — yes, please.

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(Chris Kirschner / The Athletic)

Coconut mojito

Where to buy: Any bar that serves liquor

YSC+: 110

A twist on a classic mojito here with coconut rum in place of white rum. I also don’t see mint listed on the menu, so it’s basically a coconut rum drink with mojito mix and lime. It’s good but it may upset you if you’re a mojito snob. (I’m not.)

The replacements

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(Chris Kirschner / The Athletic)

Black and white cookie shake

Where to buy: Section 112, 125, 324

YSC+: 100

I’m mainly confused about this. How am I supposed to drink this? Do I sip the milkshake then take a bite of the cookie? Do I crumble the cookie in myself? I wish the cookie was incorporated into the shake rather than used as an Instagrammable garnish. The milkshake is great itself but to call this a “black and white cookie milkshake” when the cookie is roughly the size of four quarters is a stretch.

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(Chris Kirschner / The Athletic)

Bacon ranch mac and cheese from Mac Truck

Where to buy: Section 223

YSC+: 95

A forgettable mac and cheese. There’s nothing special about this. Mac Truck had a Mexican street corn mac and cheese last year but it’s off the menu for 2024. That was one of my favorites last year. They downgraded to this. The buffalo chicken mac is back though, which is a good business decision.

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(Chris Kirschner / The Athletic)

Cookies and cream ice cream from Blue Bunny

Where to buy: Sections 125, 318

YSC+: 90

Yes, I consumed three different ice creams. No, I don’t regret it. But if you’re getting ice cream at the stadium, why are you getting Blue Bunny over Mister Softee? Blue Bunny’s sales should get crushed like a cockroach.

DFA candidates

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(Chris Kirschner / The Athletic)

Chipotle BBQ chicken sandwich from Mighty Quinn’s

Where to buy: Section 132

YSC+: 85

A chicken sandwich? More like a coleslaw sandwich. I felt like the ratio of chicken to slaw was off. The first bite I had, the slaw overpowered the chipotle BBQ chicken. If you can handle spice, opt for the FUKU sandwich above instead.

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(Chris Kirschner / The Athletic)

Fried zeppolis

Where to buy: Section 127

YSC+: 80

Fried dough sprinkled with powdered sugar and topped with chocolate and strawberry sauce with a side of cannoli cream. When made right, zeppolis are light and airy on the inside. The ones I had were dense and dry on the inside and didn’t make the calories consumed worth it. They were a letdown like Harrison Bader was last year. Expected more and came up short.

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(Chris Kirschner / The Athletic)

Power swing transfusion

Where to buy: Anywhere that serves liquor

YSC+: 60

The worst-qualified hitter in Major League Baseball last season was shortstop Tim Anderson, who posted a 60 wRC+ for the Chicago White Sox. As a nod to Anderson, the power swing transfusion drink was by far the worst item I tasted. It’s vodka with grape juice, transfusion mix, ginger ale and lime. It was nothing short of repulsive. If you love Robitussin, this is the drink for you because it’s a knock-off version of cough syrup.

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