Prior to the opening of Salsa To Go at Yankee Stadium, writes the New York Times’ Manny Fernandez, “the only thing that came close to qualifying as authentic Latin fare was an order of nachos.”
This season, however, the stadium™s menu ” hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken fingers, fries, pork fried rice, peanuts and even sushi and baked ziti ” has some spicy new additions. They read like the day™s specials at a Washington Heights restaurant: ground beef or cheese empanadas; chicken in salsa with sweet plantains, rice and beans; Cuban sandwiches with plantain chips; and papas rellenas, or fried stuffed potatoes.
Yankee fans at Tuesday night™s game against the Texas Rangers who might have otherwise walked out of the food court behind left field with a slice of pizza or a foot-long hot dog carried empanadas and Cuban sandwiches back to their seats.
The food at Salsa on the Go is prepared by the Bronx-based Salsa Caterers and Special Events, using ingredients and products from Goya Foods, the largest Hispanic-owned food company in the country. The stand, which is operated by Salsa Caterers, started serving on April 2, when the Yankees opened their season at home against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.
For some Hispanic fans and those involved in running the stand, Salsa on the Go is a kind of milestone, earning Latin food a prominent place among the stadium™s traditional ballpark fare. For others, it is long overdue.
œConsidering the demographic changes in the city, it™s something they should have done a long time ago, said Angelo FalcÃ³n, the president and founder of the National Institute for Latino Policy, a research and advocacy group based in New York.
While the sales of empanadas are nowhere near those of hot dogs, Daniel R. Garcia, 45, the president of Salsa Caterers and Special Events, said he was confident that Latin food would become a stadium staple. Sales at Salsa on the Go have steadily increased from one game to the next, he said.
Mr. Garcia, who grew up about three miles from the stadium, in the Hunts Point neighborhood, is particularly proud of his empanadas, fried pockets of dough usually filled with meat, cheese or fruit. The empanadas, which are cooked at Salsa Caterers™ headquarters on Third Avenue in the Bronx and delivered to the stadium, are based on his Uncle Julio™s recipe.