Baseball is as American as…crepes and tortas? It is now. The family may love the tradition of getting a hot dog at a Mariners game, but this season at Safeco Field is all about The ’Pen. Formerly the Bullpen Market, the area was revamped to feature four new concession stands with decidedly better food, using many local ingredients, from nationally recognized chefs Ethan Stowell, Roberto Santibanez and Bill Pustari.

Stowell, our hometown restaurateur (who owns How to Cook a Wolf, Tavolata, Anchovies and Olives, and Staple and Fancy), brings his talents to two stands Hamburg+Frites and La Creperie. The burgers are made with grass-fed beef from the Northwest and the fries are served with aioli. The savory (turkey, beef, ham, vegetables) or sweet (strawberries with Nutella or bananas with Nutella) crepes offer a taste of Parisian street food.

Santibanez, whose illustrious background includes being the culinary director of the Rosa Mexicano restaurants in New York, brings Tortugas Voladoras to Safeco. The stand serves Mexican-style sandwiches filled with roasted chicken or slow-cooked beef or pork. You also can get upscale nachos.

Last, but not least, is the Apizza from Bill Pustari, who is the chef-owner of the famed Modern Apizza in New Haven, Connecticut. This outpost has local foodies abuzz for the thin-crust “apizza.” While the crust isn’t exactly the same, because of production concerns, the tomatoes and cheese are the same ones that Pustari uses at Modern. The prices are commensurate with what you’d expect to pay at a stadium – around $8 for a burger and fries, for example – but the quality is what you’d find at an upscale restaurant.

What’s also great about The ’Pen is that the gates to the section open early (2 1/2 hours before the first pitch) and families can watch the team warm up. The fencing has been removed, so you could almost reach out and touch a player – not that it’s advised.

– Hsiao-Ching Chou

Photo courtesy of the Seattle Mariners