How to eat around Yankee Stadium (so you don't eat inside Yankee Stadium)

The best part of Yankee Stadium is that it exists in a real neighborhood with real food, no matter how bland the team owners try to make the experience

How to eat around Yankee Stadium (so you don't eat inside Yankee Stadium)
Don't even think about how much money you'd have to for this much food inside a baseball stadium. (Photo by Dave Colon)

So yes, the Yankees are off to a strong 13-6 start, offering a product worthy of the price you pay to enter. But any honest Yankees fans can admit that no matter how immaculate the team’s vibes at a given moment, the park is just a little too sterile since opening the 2009 edition.

It’s not all bad. The sightlines are strong all across the stadium, so you never feel too far away from the action even from the nosebleeds. And the team is usually good which covers a multitude of sins. But still, Yankees cheap seats are “cheap” like that new affordable building in your neighborhood is actually “affordable” to anyone who lived there before the building got built. (I say that with no shade to my YIMBY family, firstly because I want to build big buildings that house people, but also because I don’t need people spamming me with demand curves.) Even worse, there are all those studies showing those expensive-ass seats have no correlation with payroll, meaning, those sales are going to the clone Hal Steinbrenner is gestating in his mansion cellar for youthful hair cells, and maybe SeatGeek.

But of course, that’s not the only way to separate your money from your wallet. Every year, ballparks try to gin up hype for the new season by showing you all the new concessions. At its best, it means partnering with local businesses from the community, giving visitors a taste of the region’s finest. At worst, it’s a monstrosity designed to be shared on TikTok – taste and practicality are an afterthought. Even worse than worst – another Fuku. Society has moved past the need for another Fuku. (Guess which stadium has Fuku!)

Either way, there’s tens of thousands of potential customers to the vendors – they’ll be fine. Let Ethan from Dansbury spend freely.

So what’s a cash-strapped New York resident to do if they need calories and flavor, and don’t need exorbitant lines and overdraft fees? Don’t blow even more of your cash at the concessions than absolutely necessary. We got you covered.

Hear me clearly: I’m not saying Yankee Stadium food can’t be fine, edible, good-adjacent, good aspirant or even straight up swell. Garlic fries never lie. I’m also all for any point-of-sale interaction that lets you put a tip into the hands of your local concessionaire, many of whom are New Yorkers just like you, adore the team, and rely on your generosity to pay their bills. I’m saying that you got options, is all.

My ground rules are that each option needs to be reasonably located within a 15-minute subway, bus or stroll from the park. And remember: we know you’re not trying to drive to Yankee Stadium on game night. You’re reading the New York Groove, not the bridge and tunnel groove. No swipes, no eating.


It is not too early in the season for you to chant "MVP" for the slice on the right. (Photo by Bradford William Davis)

There is no good reason, ever, to subject yourself to bad pizza in New York. I don’t care if you got a Domino’s coupon, I don’t care if you really like that frozen brand, the whole point of being here is that you’re never more than arm’s reach of a solid slice that would put the rest of the country to shame. And as such, buying pizza inside Yankee Stadium is an absolute nonstarter when you probably passed anywhere from three to 333 better places on the way.

I’ll admit – the thing I really want to recommend is Arthur Avenue, New York’s truer and better Little Italy. But getting there to and from Yankee stadium without four wheels is a little too far, and driving through the Bronx on game day is asking for pain.

Fortunately, an excellent pizza place just across the Macombs Dam Bridge is there for you. Pizza by Lucille’s is a stand with fantastic by-the-slice and they get the fundies ($3.50 for a classic slice) down at a high level. But, try their MVP (marinara, vodka and pesto, for $5.00) slice if you want a little more spice in your life.

Bonus: while it’s a takeout, their sister restaurant Lucille’s, a coffee-in-the-day, cocktail-at-night spot is right next door. Despite the classier look, you can bring your pizza into Lucille’s as long as you buy a drink. If you’re in no rush, treat yourself to a latte in the morning or a cocktail in the late afternoon.

Looking forward to a vibes-only Mets 2024 season
Shirtless himbos, new Citi Bikes, carafes of wine, good giveaways and high-fiving-strangers: why it’s OK to embrace a down Mets year.


Burger. (Photo by Dave Colon)

My guy Abe Beame (the pseudonymous writer not the former New York mayor) wrote one of the most stunning pieces of food writing I’ve ever encountered, a brilliant dissection of the Yankees’ dismal 2023 season understood through the same institutional rot that would produce its signature but middling “99 Burger” – a smash pattie on brioche bearing the Yankee captain’s number given an unearned sense of exclusivity by artificially limiting its quantities to only 99 burgers sold per game. Beame, a Yankees diehard and tasteful foodie, wrote, “each of these ingredients can stand in as ways of understanding how in the 14 years since the Yankees won their last championship, the team has lost its way.

Sometimes good criticism means being a hater, and Abe’s a hater’s hater. I aspire to hate the way he hates.

But honestly, I don’t even hate the 99 burger. It’s fine. But it’s expensive and the line is long as hell, and it’s not really better than the Shake Shack equivalent. (Unless you enjoy Zone of Interest-ing in Tel Aviv, there are plenty of reasons not to go to Shake Shack.)

Can the 99 burger turn it around? Anthony Volpe stunk at the plate in his 2023 rookie season, but now he’s hitting .324. Hopefully the team’s success directly correlates with the burger’s taste. And the vendor doesn’t cap sales at 99 per game anymore, so there’s some hope. But, that’s not on you to empty your wallet figuring out. 

This is where the Court Deli Restaurant comes in. Down on 161st and Walton, just a few blocks away. You can have it. The burger is juicy. A cheeseburger deluxe comes with french fries ($15.95). They’re not garlic fries. It is, to be clear, a diner burger, and not a destination diner burger either. But, you can have it cooked the way you want instead of the mass-produced smashburger standard of “crispy”. My medium-rare burger came a little charred and the fries are thick and reasonably crunchy. (I’m sure if you asked the server to make them extra crispy, they would!) 

This burger isn’t an Aaron Judge homer. It’s Anthony Volpe, whose improved swing decisions and selectivity have him OBP-ing .410 and leading off for Soto, Judge and the rest of the Bombers. Sometimes you just need to get on base. This burger does exactly that.

Latin American

What stadium food will put this kind of smile on your face? (Photo by Dave Colon)

One of Yankee Stadium’s newest entries is the Sweet Spot Bowl, which sells some Latin-esque cuisine in, uh, bowl form including carne asada steak and sweet plantains. I say this respectfully – you can do better. 

Take the 4 train one stop north of Yankee Stadium to 167th and it will leave you right next to El Justine (40 E 167th St), a Dominican greasy spoon that I heard about because former Yankees pitcher Domingo Germán ordered food from there once. Germán is not a role model in the most important respects, but as an immigrant to the United States, I trust when he puts the public on to a restaurant serving his home country’s cuisine. 

I got a chicharron mofongo ($12.95) – a mashed green plantain well seasoned, salted and fried into a dome shape with crunchy pork skins all throughout – and maduros, aka sweet plantains ($4.50) to give me the sweet-savory mix. Poured with gravy and it’s a wrap. Only downside is that you might be napping in the bleachers when you’re done. But Justine got all the goods, including rice and beans, roasted chicken, pastelitos  – a great to-go item if you’re in a rush – and chicharron on its own.

And if you want a drink, I did catch my server carrying pina coladas to another table, just saying. 


Have a beer with some locals, just don't tell them you're there to cheer on the Orioles. (Photo by Dave Colon)

I’m not a heavy drinker. And I’m even less of a drinker in stadium environments. There are a few reasons for this. One: most beer just doesn’t move me. Two: everyone does their own fitness math, but for me, beer calories aren’t worth it when there’s so much else to eat! If I must drink my weight gain, let it be a milkshake. And let that milkshake be really good (keep scrolling). Third: fresh beer makes a world of difference. One time, I drank a Miller Lite at American Family Field (formerly Miller Park), home of the Milwaukee Brewers. That Miller tasted better than every ballpark beer I’ve had, and I have to think it’s because it was brewed fourteen seconds away from the stadium. Hard to get anything that fresh at Yankee Stadium or its nearby pubs. Four: when I’m at a game, the general debauchery of bridge-and-tunnel-coded Yankees fans sours me from the substance fueling their louche behavior. Blame Ethan from Dansbury.

But look, this guide isn’t about me, it’s about you. Save from drinking a bodega tall boy at a fraction of a stadium price – and honestly, as I write that out, it sounds the most appealing – the best option to sit down and pre/post your Yankees game is Yankee Tavern. It’s been around since 1927 and feels 100 years old in all the right ways, from the murals of Yankees legends to the yellowing newsprint decorating its walls. (A draft will run you about $10 or $11.)

But the other reason is this – locals go there! Once again, on 161, it’s a few blocks away from the center of the action and attracts a different crowd. I had the pleasure of visiting on a day the Yankees were out of town, and seeing actual Bronx residents enjoying each other's company over brews. It reminded me that one of the best things about Yankee Stadium is that no matter how bland its owners make the experience, it exists in a neighborhood and a city,  with real people who give the Yankees as much of its flair as Juan Soto. And try as they might, they haven’t kicked us all out yet. 

Watching New York’s bleakest baseball season fizzle out
A scene report looking for meaning in the most meaningless baseball games of the year.

Ice cream

Harlem's Sugar Hill Creamery is your stop if you want a sugar infusion before the game. (Photo by Dave Colon)

Yankee Stadium debuted Mister Softee. I love Mister Softee. If you can digest lactose, you also love Mister Softee. But c’mon. And if you are a Yankees fan, you already have five of those helmets too small for an adult human. Great for putting in your cubicle or, like, having the tiniest bowl of yogurt and blueberries. Say it with me, Groovers: you don’t need another souvenir helmet.

OK, so where does that leave you? Big Milkshake – better known as, Yankee Stadium’s Own Shakes –  wants you to get something with an entire slice of cake placed on top of the tall narrow cup and, take a picture for the 'gram before realizing you can’t actually eat an entire milkshake with an entire cookie on top of it while screaming rude but not bigoted jeers at Rafael Devers. You drink a third of the $15 shake, say, hm that’s pretty good, and leave the rest. Your child, should you have one, will never go to college. 

Please, don’t send your children to the Marines because you just needed to try it for the 'gram.

An outpost of New Jersey’s Chocolate House is a few blocks away on 161st. I didn’t try it this time – I had a $50 budget for taste-testing (thank you Groove!) and was already a bit over, so I had to make a hard choice. While Chocolate House absolutely passed one test – it was not inside Yankee Stadium – and practically, is open to 1 a.m. which makes a post-game trip simple – I absolutely profile places based on how much taking a selfie with your food is engineered to be part of the experience, and the giant selfie wall, cute as it is, pushed me to place it on my to be determined list for next time around. Instead, I’m gonna ask you to go skip along the edges of our 15-minute commute and grab something sweet from Sugar Hill Creamery in Harlem. 

A quick ride on the BX6 or subway ride on the D train to 145th street puts you in walking distance from a beloved ice cream parlor in a region of the city where it’s usually Baskin-Robbins or bust. Sugar Hill Creamery’s inventive spring season flavors – I went with I Live It How I Get It, a gooey butter cake and lemon meringue concoction with a cream cheese ice cream base – are difficult to find elsewhere, plus they always have a vegan option or two in the rotation. Bonus: they blend their milkshakes with half and half by default. By DEFAULT.