I had the pleasure of attending two Myrtle Beach Pelicans games in mid-July 2021. As a food aficionado, I love trying new things, and the Pelicans have some very tasty and unique food items. The food alone is good enough to warrant a trip to Ticketreturn.com Field. Even if the team was terrible, the stadium was bad, or whatever else, the food is just that good. Just to put it in perspective, I drove 16 hours from Chicagoland to give it a shot. It was well worth that drive.
The one disappointment was that their infamous beer bats were sold out. Bummer for sure. While that may have been one of the main reasons I road-tripped across half the country, it's my own fault for waiting a month before heading over. I should have gone sooner. Oh well. The food more than made up for it. More seriously, good for them for finding a promo that was so intensely popular.
Ticketreturn.com Field's food assortment is very wide. There's the typical ballpark hot dogs and burgers, but they also had a nice assortment of regional specialty items. There are standard grill food options around home plate. But as you work your way towards the outfield corners, there are specialty booths that need your attention.
After attending two games, I got to sample 8 different foods and drinks. Here's everything I tried!
Crab Cake Sandwich:
A giant crab cake on a bun. It didn't come with toppings, nor did it really need any. I wasn't sure if condiments would be good with it or not, so I opted to have it plain. I didn't want to chance ruining it.
It's fantastic. The crab cake is very meaty, so it's not like you are eating three bun slices piled on top of each other. The meat is fresh, tender, and flavorful. It's a nice alternative to a burger. I wouldn't call it the best sandwich I ever had, but it's a nice lighter regional specialty that gave me a break from the same old greasy burgers.
I'm not certain how to improve this sandwich. It could have used an extra "oomph," but I'm not sure what it was missing. Perhaps a sauce, lettuce, or coleslaw? I don't want to split hairs, it was very good, just not the best sandwich I've ever eaten. 8/10
I got them as a side to my crab cake sandwich. Rather than get fries, why not mix it up with something a little more southern? I had never had fried pickles before. I liked them a lot. The ones I had at the game were lightly battered. They weren't especially greasy for being a fried food, which I do appreciate. The pickles were fresh tasting, which is kind of a rarity for carnival food. They had the right amount of crunch, saltiness, and vinegar taste. It was a great alternative to french fries. Good stuff! 9/10
Down the right-field line, there's a Chicago-themed grill, with some very unique options. One of these is The Mordecai, named after Three-Finger Brown. It features 3 hefty Bog Balls, a dipping sauce (spicy aioli or ranch), and some chips. It is fantastic and special. I opted to get mine with ranch.
What are bog balls? In the Carolinas, there's a regional dish called chicken bog. It is essentially lightly boiled chicken, then adding rice to the leftover water/chicken juice. Chicken bog also adds in some spices, sausage, celery, and onion. The core of the dish is chicken and rice, but the other ingredients give it some kick. The name refers to the boggy nature of coastal South Carolina, where the dish is from. Bog does not refer to the texture or taste. The Pelicans took this regional dish, and basically took balls of it, dipped in dough and deep-fried it. It sounds like a carnival food nightmare but is actually very well done. Bog Balls are a MUST if you visit.
The bog balls I had were fresh tasting. Despite being battered and fried, they weren't overly greasy. The chicken and sausage gave it a nice homey meat texture, that the rice compliments well. Most of the time, regional dishes fail to hold up to their reputation. In this case, the food actually exceeds the very positive word of mouth it has. Despite being fried balls of meat, they weren't overly heavy. They were hearty and filling, but without making me feel overly fat like most goofy carnival foods would. I keep referring to them as carnival food, but that isn't really a fair comparison even. The concept might be something out of a carnival, but the flavor and execution are right out of a food truck playbook. Just imagine the best food truck food you've ever had. Chicken bog will be going into my recipe book. 10/10.
Frozen Wine Drink:
On the right-field line, there's a frozen wine drink stand. They have a few options, but it's basically alcoholic slushies. I taste-tested all and they were all great. I went with the peach, to mix it up a little. It was a perfect drink for a humid summer night. I like fruity foo foo drinks, and this was a solid one. Not too much booze to make it bitter, and not too sweet to make my teeth hurt. 9/10.
Chicago Pizza Burger:
At the Chicago grill in the right-field corner, they have a pizza burger, a big hamburger served between two deep-dish pizzas. It comes with their homemade potato chips. This was the best pizza burger I've ever had. Just the right amount of cheese, crust, and meat in a proper portion. It is a hearty meal without being overly greasy or filling. I've had other pizza burgers in the past, and they've always been mediocre. This offering was much better.
The pizzas were 8-inch personal-sized. They seemed to be like home run inn style of personal frozen pizzas. This wasn't Lou Malnati's style pizza pie. The crusts were thick enough to resemble a bun, then there's a reasonable amount of sauce, cheese, and pepperoni. In the middle was a fresh and thick burger patty, grilled to perfection. It was tasty. This easily could have been a hastily thrown-together goofy food item, but it wasn't. They clearly took the time to do it the right way, getting the proper amounts of pizza and burger to compliment each other. It was very well done and I am happy to report that it is a must-try item. It is the best pizza burger I've ever had. 10/10.
Chicago Style Hot Dog:
Wednesdays are Wiener Wednesdays in Myrtle Beach or buy one get one free hot dogs. Including Chicago style. Most of the concession stands just have plain hot dogs, but there's a specialty stand behind the home dugout that has nearly 15 different hot dog ingredients so you can customize. They do have everything for a Chicago-style hot dog as well.
I love Chicago dogs. No other hot dog compares to it, and I'm a bit of a snob when it comes down to it. The Chicago dog is a complex dish that requires the proper balance of many different ingredients. When out of town, I've seen it at plenty of restaurants that essentially offer a bland or improper imitation. Given the Pelican's ties to the Chicago area, I would hope that they would do the Chicago dog justice. I have high praise to offer: If I got the Pelican's Chicago style dog from a local place in my hometown, I wouldn't second guess where it came from. That's my silly way of saying it was very authentic and true to the region and recipe.
The dog was properly cooked and had all the right ingredients. All of which was very fresh and tasty. Their slight variation was having a larger bratwurst-sized bun, a slightly larger hot dog, and a larger amount of toppings. Basically, take the size of a typical Chicago hot dog and make it about 1.5x bigger. More dog for your dollar. It worked. While I wouldn't call it the best hot dog I've ever had, their ability to recreate a surprisingly tricky regional dish was a very valiant effort. It is close to the real thing, and that is high praise from a hotdog snob. 9/10.
The Pelicans offer a good assortment of desserts: funnel cakes, dippin' dots, waffle cone ice cream, and Italian ice. I opted to try a waffle cone with cookies n' cream ice cream. Normally, I feel that venues just slap together something cheap for dessert. At that point, you are kind of full already and just looking for something to compliment the grease you just ate. It's really easy for places to just phone it in. Not the Pelicans.
Like everything else I ate, the quality of my ice cream was fantastic. The ice cream was creamy and not freezer burnt. The cone was the right amount of sweet and hearty. It might not have been the best ice cream cone I've ever had, but for a mass-produced item that needs to be prepped efficiently for a large crowd, it was great. $6 for a large cone is about on par for what I'd get at a shop, and the quality is the same. That is impressive for a ballpark that needs to dish stuff like this out quickly and affordably. They did not take the cheaper shortcut, and I am impressed. 8/10.
Giant Mixed Drink:
For $35, you can get a giant 48oz mug of a vodka mixed drink. They have four options: tonic & lime, beach cruiser, lemonade, and vodka & soda water. My wife and I opted to split the bases loaded beach cruiser, which was vodka, peach schnapps, pineapple juice, and cranberry juice.
We attempted to finish it and got 95% done. It was very fruity and refreshing. Unlike other mixed drinks, it was not so alcohol heavy that the taste was poor. The juices blended together well into an ideal summer drink. It didn't knock my socks off but was a very solid drink. $35 is steep, but it was basically 5 drinks in 1, plus we got a giant mug as a trophy to the drink we couldn't finish. 8/10.
That is my two days of gluttony at Ticketreturn.com Field with the Myrtle Beach Pelicans. I am proud to report that of the 8 items I tried, I have 8 items I can honestly recommend. The Pelicans have an operation that clearly is of high quality and do not phone it in when it comes to providing for their fans.
As the only ballpark in town, they could easily have slapped together some boardwalk food and called it a day. Instead, their staff has clearly put in the time and effort to making the ballpark's food a big piece of the experience. I've been to plenty of sporting events where the food is just there because we all need to eat. The food quality and pricing are among the best I've seen in all of baseball, including both the major and minor leagues. Well done Pelicans!
Stuff to try for next time:
-More offerings from the Clark & Addison grill. They had bratwurst, Italian beef, and hummus I would have loved to try
-Clam strip sandwich