SOUTH BEND — Fans looking to fill out their March brackets need to look no further. The Hot Stove Concession Madness Tournament puts 16 of the top concession items at Four Winds Field, home of the South Bend Cubs, against each other in social media fan voting to crown the Hot Stove Champion. After a successful 2019 season, the Jumbo Hot Dog claims the number one seed. The all-beef frankfurter from Kayem Foods was the highest-selling concession item last season with over 115,000 hot dogs sold.
“After much deliberation among the selection committee, this is the field of items we thought were most deserving,” said Head of Selection Committee and Executive Chef Josh Farmer. “We looked at every item’s resumé and whole body of work and while there were certainly some tough decisions, we think we created a field in which anyone could make a run.”
Fan-favorite Philly Steak Nachos from Steakadelphia took the number two seed, followed closely behind by the Chicago Dog at number three and local favorite, gourmet soft pretzel from Ben’s Pretzels at number four. Round Barn Winery’s Red Sangria claims the number five seed, a first for beverages in this bracket, but not surprising given the rising popularity for the refreshing summer beverage in recent years.
Baseball staples like helmet nachos and brownie helmet sundae received the automatic bid by winning their conferences but the Cub Burger (hamburger patty with cheese, bacon, crispy onion straws, lettuce, and tomato) and the Prime Burger (hamburger patty with sliced prime rib, caramelized onions, swiss cheese, and horseradish cream) had strong showings in a beefy conference to earn their place in this bracket.
The Mac gets two spots in the tournament with Mac & Cheese BBQ Bowl as the seven seed and Mac and Cheese Hot Dog at number thirteen. Rounding out the concession showcase are Frozen Margarita, Loaded Tots, Turkey Burger, and Southwest Chicken Wrap.
Cheese Curds earned their way into this delicious sixteen by defeating popcorn in the play in-game.
A few surprising absences were cotton candy, peanuts, and chicken tenders with fries. Those items will be playing in the MIT (Menu Invitational Tournament) next week.
The voting will begin on the South Bend Cubs Facebook and Twitter pages Thursday, March 19 with the finals on April 2.