Ballpark food is great, I mean really what is baseball without a hotdog? But if you're looking to make more of a night out catching a baseball game, here are several great options for food and drink before or after the game at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
The area around the park offers a lot itself, between the American Tobacco Campus, Main Street and The Durham Performing Arts Center. So where ever you decide to hit before the game make sure you leave enough time!
The only restaurant where you can go and watch the game from outside the park is Tobacco Road Sports Cafe. The restaurant is located above the blue monster in left field of the Bulls park. Before a game you can sit on the outdoor patio and catch batting practice, which usually takes place about two hours prior to first pitch. But keep a heads up for those long balls!
The restaurant is open every day at 11 a.m. and either closes at midnight or 2 a.m., leaving plenty of time for food or drink after the game. Plus from 4:30-5:30 p.m. they offer a special happy hour menu where select dishes are just $3. With a wall of TVs and a large dining room, it's the perfect sports haven.
Tobacco Road offers a wide range of grub and great appetizers, my personal favorite being the Buffalo Chicken Egg Rolls. The California Chicken Club, Apple Pecan Chicken Salad or the Fish Gorditas are a few of my go-to meals. Highschool OT's Nick Stevens swears by the Steak Nachos. But you cannot go wrong with the Macaroni and Cheese. It's listed as an appetizer and comes with ham but you can add steak, shrimp or chicken - and if you're really looking for some flavor ask for Buffalo Chicken - it's to die for!
If you're looking for the ultimate burger before the game head to Bull City Burger and Brewery. It's a short walk to it's locale on Parrish Street but this locally owned restaurant offers some Durham flair you won't want to miss. They brew their own beer in house and have up to eight on tap at a time, plus they are the recent winner of the Bull City Chili Challenge.
So what makes these freshly ground 100 percent pasture-raised NC beef burgers special? You can build them however you like! Chili, slaw, bacon, egg, or jalapenos maybe? Get crazy and wash it down with a cold one. Don't worry they offer vegetarian options and hot dogs too.
For the largest beer selection head to Tyler's Restaurant and Taproom. With more than 60 craft and speciality import beers on tap and a closing time of 2 a.m. in their Speakeasy behind the restaurant, there's plenty of time to relax after the big game. On a nice night, stop by before and visit their outdoor biergarten with a fully stocked bar with six additional drafts and two HD televisions.
Not only do they offer a wide selection of beers they do serve up some pretty good American comfort food. The Seared Yellowfin Tuna appetizer is melt-in-your-mouth amazing. Topped with slaw and pickled cucumbers and drizzled with sriracha mayo, all on top of crisp tortillas. It is a perfect combination.
The soft pretzels and garlic fries are also a great ballpark-like starter. The Breakfast Burger with a fried egg is delightful and a hearty recommendation from GM Justin Hughes. On a recent visit, I had the Pear Salad with steak, which I would get again in a heartbeat. The flavors all complimented each other and it was a refreshing break from the norm.
The kitchen stays open an hour after the Bulls games are over and then you can head to the Speakeasy to hang out and play some pool. And if you're lucky, you'll even run into one of the Bulls players, who frequent the restaurant after games before off days. As an added bonus on Saturdays at noon, Tyler's hosts the Bulls Beat with Bulls' radio caller Patrick Kinas. It's aired on 620AM The Buzz, and Bulls players often stop by as guests.
For more fine dining experience, try Revolution. The exquisite menu offers a blend of Cuban flavored surf and turf from Basil Fed Escargot to Grilled New York Strip and Cider Braised Pork Belly to Citrus Crusted Snapper. I mean is your mouth watering yet? This was Deja Mi CEO Justin Miller's first recommendation for simply the "amazing food" and WRALSportsFan's Aaron Schoonmaker seconded it. Plates run from $9 to $25 and a late night menu is offered until midnight.
A full raw bar is open until 2 a.m. for a variety of cocktails. Try a Cuban Dark and Stormy for a spicy kick of rum, mint, lime and ginger, or if spicy isn't your thing try a Pimm's and Lemonade. Pimm's cups are the signature drink at Wimbledon, and Revolution offers a similar refreshing treat.
The closest place to hit before or after the game? Mellow Mushroom. It's right across from the main entrance of the ballpark and always smells great! With a large outdoor patio, diners can enjoy amazing pizza, calzones and hoagies before strolling to the game.
Cheese bread is a great way to satisfy the hunger pains until you get to the main meal. Cool off with one of 17 draft beers or grab a bottle, there are plenty of options. It'll take awhile to decide which gourmet pie you want to order because the selections are all delicious. I'm a huge fan of the Mighty Meaty or Funky O Chicken barbecue chicken pizza. Venture outside-the-box with the Caesar, they top the pizza with a full on Caesar salad, or Red Skin Potato Pie – potato, bacon and cheese, oh my!
They close at 10 or 11 p.m. depending on the night, so this is usually just a pre-game spot and because of it's location it'll be busy early.
There are a ton of options the further you venture from the park and several others got viewer mentions: Fullsteam Brewery, Fishmonger's, Bull McCabes, The Federal or for just a bar scene try Whiskey or Roxy.