Eat at Joe’s? No, I’ll eat on the road.
By Tony Schiavone
Travel in the International League means many things; but for a middle-aged announcer with an increasing waist line, it means food.
I have been asked many times about the “best” restaurants in the various cities around the league. My usual answer is: “I don’t know.” The reason? Well, we are not in the major leagues, so we don’t have the time or the funds to travel all over the city to eat. However, there are a few places I have been to that are noteworthy, and have become pretty famous in their own right.
So, to help you with your travels, I present The Top 10 Gwinnett Braves-On-The-Road Restaurants in the International League:
10. Carmellas Pizza Grill, Fort Mill, SC: They used to have one of these on Carmel Road in Charlotte, and it was great. However, it closed. So the only one I could find is about two miles from Knights’ Stadium in the middle-of-nowhere in Fort Mill. The pizza is loaded and is as good as you will find. The service is great and the prices are worth noting. Deals include a large pie with four beers. Not bad, and plenty of TV’s to watch sports as well.
9. Satisfaction, Durham, NC: A pretty good sports bar with a surprisingly large list of chicken wing flavors. It is also walking (staggering) distance from our hotel in Durham. It’s located in historic Brightleaf Square in downtown, which is an old tobacco warehouse. But everything in downtown Durham is a former tobacco warehouse, I think.
8. Packo’s at the Park, Toledo, OH: Tony Packo’s was made famous by Jamie Farr as Corp. Klinger on M*A*S*H. This location is right next to Fifth-Third Field, so that’s an immediate plus. It’s Hungarian food, so you will get some unique flavors. The M*O*A*D hot dog packs quite a punch. Paprika dumplings are odd, but tasty. And the famous chili will burn holes in parts of your body that will surprise you.
7. Weber Grill, Indianapolis, IN: Yes, this is named after the famous Weber Grill that many have in their backyard. It is a little too fancy for a minor league budget, but it’s worth a try.
6. Anchor Bar, Buffalo, NY: The self-proclaimed originator of the “Buffalo Wing” is also a pretty cool sports bar. My first trip there was more like a pilgrimage for the ultimate wing. But guess what? They taste just like a Buffalo Wing! Go figure.
5. McCoy Stadium Press Box, Pawtucket, RI: Any announcer or writer or otherwise press box bum (and there are plenty of those) will tell you the food they provide for us in Pawtucket is nothing less than spectacular–as far as press box food goes. One day last season they served ground turkey burgers, as well as Chorizo with onions and green peppers. Wow! Not only is it an awesome ballpark, it’s worth the trip just to eat.
4. Rocky’s, Rochester, NY: An old school Italian restaurant about three blocks from Frontier Field. If you’ll notice the picture on the corresponding website or atop this article. It looks like the place Michael Corleone killed Sollozzo in “The Godfather.” There specialty is tripe in marinara sauce. That’s right, the inside of a cow’s belly in red sauce. If that ain’t Old World Italian, then “forgetaboutit.”
3. Modern Diner, Pawtucket, RI: This old diner is on the National Register of Historic Places. To me, it’s kind of like a northern Waffle House, but hey, I love the Waffle House. Anyway, it’s a pretty cool place to eat breakfast. The linguica omelet is pretty tasty.
2. Coney Island Lunch, Scranton, PA: It’s the oldest restaurant in downtown Scranton and features the Texas Wiener. That’s right, a Texas Wiener in Pennsylvania. Plenty of old baseball pictures on the wall make this an interesting place to eat. The food is very good.
1. Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, Rochester, NY: Where can you get the very best bowl of collard greens? Would you believe upstate New York? Yes, it’s true. These collards are cooked in turkey neck…A use for turkey necks!! Who knew? Four of us ate there on a recent trip and got the family Bar-B-Que dinner serving four to six people. It had collards, mac and cheese, cornbread, tomato and cucumber salad, chicken, ribs, brisket and pork. Yikes!
I would love to hear any great eats suggestions you may have for the cities we frequently visit…
…My belly’s waiting.