World Series pressure has Minute Maid Park concessions working overtime with new food items

With sellout crowds ready to cram Minute Maid Park this weekend for the World Series, Mat Drain and his crews are putting in serious OT getting ready.

Originally appeard on Culture Map/Houston.

The World Series isn’t only the biggest thing ever for Astros players, the pressure is on Minute Maid Park’s No. 1 popcorn popper, too.

“This weekend, with World Series games in Houston, will be the most important event of my career, and I couldn’t be more excited,” said Mat Drain, Head Honcho of Hot Dogs for Aramark, which runs all the food concessions at Minute Maid Park.

“I’ve been a supporting manager at big events during my career with Aramark. Most recently, I worked the Super Bowl at NRG Stadium here in Houston, NCAA Final Fours and NBA Finals, but nothing comes close to hosting the World Series in your own building."

With sellout crowds ready to cram the stadium, Drain and his crews are putting in serious OT getting ready.

“This is a career milestone and I’m having the time of my life. I’ll be working 18-hour days this weekend. We’re working 12-hour days preparing for the World Series. Working those other events was fun, but Minute Maid Park is our home. I would rather be working long days and nights than the alternative, which would be watching the Yankees play the Dodgers on TV at home. My off-season can wait another month,” Drain said.

The Minute Maid Park test kitchen has been in overdrive creating new items for the stadium’s World Series menu.

“Because the gates will open earlier than usual, and fans will stay until the final out, we expect fans to eat and drink big time. Don’t forget, this is only the second time in the Astros’ 55-year history that they’re in the World Series, so fans will want to savor every moment,” he said.

It also will be Drain’s job to deliver champagne and beer to the winning team’s clubhouse should the World Series end in Houston.

“My fingers are crossed that it’s the Astros clubhouse, otherwise it won’t be a happy delivery,” Drain said. 

So you know: there won’t be any fireworks following the game Friday night, like during the regular season. The only fireworks will be Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa swatting home runs into the Crawford boxes and Lance McCullers making Dodgers whiff at curve balls in the dirt.

You like predictions? Astros in 5 sounds about right. And if Dallas Keuchel out-duels Clayton Kershaw in Game One, possibly an Astros sweep.

Here are the new food items awaiting World Series crowds at Minute Maid:

“Earn History Burger” – A two-patty bacon burger with Cheddar cheese and a split brisket sausage served on a fresh-baked Challah Bun with crispy jalapeno strips.  ($18.25, Texas Legends stand behind Section 134)

“L.A. Queso Stak” – Fresh-cut fries topped with house-made green chili queso, pork carnitas, fresh-made pico de gallo, fresh-cut jalapenos and drizzles of sour cream. ($12, Brewhouse Fries stand on the concourse behind centerfield)

“Green Chili Chicken Stak – Fresh-cut fries topped with green chili chicken, pico de gallo and cotija cheese. ($12, Brewhouse Fries stand on the concourse behind centerfield)

“Street Taco & Salsa Bar” – Featuring Suckling Pig Pulled Pork Tacos, served with pineapple chunks and mango habanero glaze. ($13, FiveSeven Market behind centerfield and several locations on the Honda Club Level)

“Braised Brisket on Flour Tortillas” – Served with pickled red onions, fresh jalapenos, cilantro and chipotle aioli. ($13, FiveSeven Market behind centerfield and several locations on the Honda Club Level)

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