Food & Fun All Part of The Charleston Riverdogs Experience
Jeff Walker / Entertainment & Food Review
Charleston SC is known for hospitality, history, and food & beverage. The same can be said for Joseph P. Riley Park aka 'the Joe'. Named for Charleston's longest running and most accomplished mayor 'the Joe' is easily one of most revered minor league baseball stadiums in the country and home to the Charleston Riverdogs.
With legendary comic actor and local resident Bill Murray as the Director of Fun, and the remaining ballpark staff promoting a 'fun-tastic' vibe, it only makes sense that the food would fit the Riverdogs overall theme. For decades 'the Joe' has combined staple ballpark foods (hotdogs, burgers, pizza, popcorn, ice cream, pretzels, beer, and soft drinks) with a host of unusual menu items, some that make the food & beverage team, and others like the ballplayers that get cut after one season.
Food & Beverage Director Josh Shea and his team make it their mission each and every year to place eccentric foods and interesting drinks on the menu that will tantalize the palate, providing fans willing to step outside the food batter's box a unique experience at 'the Joe'.
If you're taste buds play it safe you'll find a variety of veteran food players returning to 'the Joe' including boiled peanuts, caramel corn, all beef Nathan's hotdogs with just about every topping you can imagine (cheese, chili, onions, etc), BBQ, and burgers with or without cheese.
The State Fair booth on the concourse just outside the home team side of the ballpark carries just about every carnival food you can imagine. Kids of all ages enjoy roasted peanuts, warm funnel cakes, cotton candy, nachos & cheese, soft pretzels and and seasoned potato chips from Charleston based Low Country Kettle Chips. If you're a carnivore and feeling a bit adventurous maybe opt for the Pig On A Stick, simply a extra yummy plump corn dog wrapped in bacon. Two meats in one handheld delight. Totally freakin' awesome!
A little further down the concourse alongside first base and adjacent to the outfield is where regulars know to look for Dog World. A bevy of Nathan's hotdogs served up anyway you like them. Want a taste sensation like you'll not find anywhere in town, try their signature Ray Dog aka an all beef frank blanketed under a creamy shrimp salad. I know what you're thinking, sounds like two things that don't go together, but it's surprisingly delicious. Live a little and take the plunge! You had me at Nathan’s!
At 'the Joe' you can find a plethora of the everyday snacks at several booths like Wicked Sausage World and the Seafood Snackle Box (clever names). Have a hankering for something hearty that provides a kick, than keep the Classic Bratwurst or Smoked Kielbasa in your on sausage roster at Wicked. Great when accompanied by a brewski.
Food fanatics not worried about calories and can handle a big boy appetite may want to belly up to the Man Salad (no greens allowed). It's a meat lovers paradise beginning with a 10oz Bavarian pretzel layered in sauerkraut, brats, Italian and Rueben sausage before being drenched in beer cheese and spicy mustard. Like my daddy used to say 'don't let your eyes get to big for your stomach'. All I know is, if you're at the Riverdogs and you're supposed to splurge.
What can you reel in at Seafood Snackle. How about some Fried Honey Butter Shrimp by itself for $8 or with sides as a platter for a mere $13. For $21 the Snacklebox will fill you and your date. Your plate overflows with a smattering of shrimp, flounder, fish sticks, and hushpuppies. Excuse the pun but 'you'll get hooked at the Seafood Snackle Box!
Looking for some new food players at 'the Joe' than I recommend dropping by Raymond's Ramen, just inside the second entryway from the parking lot on the left. They may be rookies with the Riverdogs, but these bowls are heavy hitters, and are less messy because you can eat with a fork.
The Brisket or Cheeseburger Ramen Bowls have southern comfort food written all over them, with the Nashville Hot Chicken Ramen Bowl providing a fiery zest to your meal. Priced from $9-$14, these meals can easily feed two lightweights or satisfy the ravenous big-leaguer in your party. The Grand Slam menu at Raymond's offers several quick bites including 5 count Chicken Teriyaki Potstickers and a 3 count Vegetable Egg Roll basket. Both under $6.
Your favorite Pepsi and Anheuser Busch liquid refreshments are always on deck at 'the Joe'. However, for those with a legitimate ID proving they are 21 and older you'll find some extra adult beverages that might quench your thirst. Local brewers Commonhouse, Rusty Bull, and the Estuary are among the few lowcountry beers. Two of my favorites include the Bellyitcher, a white wheat blonde ale and it's cousin Uncle Slam, a crisp malted barley pilsner. Both go great with a dog or popcorn. Just sayin!
Not a beer lover but enjoy a bit of alcohol. 'the Joe' serves up three (count'em) different premium California canned wines from Porch Pounder, i.e. rose, red, and a chardonnay. Nothing wrong with adding a touch of class to America's pasttime, and at $7 it's a really good deal for 12oz of quality fruit of the vine.
Back by popular demand is the always refreshing award winning Sweet Grass Vodka Pub where they pour exceptionally smooth flavorful vodkas crafted right here in downtown Charleston. Talk about your homegrown genteel potent potable!
Just across the way, Snack Shack offers a good mix of healthy and indulgent edibles. Vegans may opt for a Roasted Golden Beat Salad blended with pickled red onions over a mixed greens and topped with feta cheese (optional). Double yummy! It's the epitome of zesty as are the Artisan and Harvest Bibb salads. All go great with a splash of wine.
Little known secret, you can purchase a 25oz beer at the Shack for a mere $10. That's just 40 cents per one ounce sip. Of course the Riverdogs request all their guests drink responsibly. They want you to enjoy to as many games as possible.
Whether you have a hankering for fried food, seafood, comfort food, traditional ballpark food, or crazy food, the Charleston Riverdogs are happy to oblige. From everyday mild to WTF (wild thing foods) 'the Joe' caters to a plethora of tastes. Are you the 'Man vs. Food' type or do you stay on the straight and narrow. No matter, Joe P. Riley Park, home of your Charleston Riverdogs has something for baseball fans from six to 96.
Baseball is the main attraction, but at the park 'the Joe' is all about the three 'F's, aka family, food, and fun. Every home game at 'the Joe' features a different promotion. For the third season in a row, the RiverDogs invite you to bring your pup to The Joe for each Tuesday home game. Thursday nights at The Joe provide one of the best atmospheres in Minor League Baseball. Enjoy $1 beers throughout the ballpark all night long.
Friday night, fans can enjoy the best fireworks show in the Lowcountry set to an assortment of musical themes. Sunday's are kids and family day at 'the Joe'. Parking is free! Before, during and after each Sunday home game it's all about the kids. From the video board to between innings contests and even the opportunity to run the bases. Can't make it to 'the Joe' but love the ballpark food, than maybe catch the Riverdogs Food Truck around town, or better yet let them cater your next event. For more on the Riverdogs, their schedule and events visit https://www.milb.com/charleston