By Adam Hoge-
U.S. CELLULAR FIELD (CBS) A year after opening the state-of-the-art Bacardi At The Park bar and grill, the White Sox are boasting an equally impressive structure right next door.
The Chicago Sports Depot formally opened last November, but many fans will get their first look at the enormous new merchandise shop Friday when the White Sox host the Tigers in their first home game of the 2012 season.
The two-floor building at Gate 5 of U.S. Cellular Field is much more than a White Sox team store. Fans can also find plenty of Bears, Bulls, Blackhawks and yes, even Cubs gear at the Chicago Sports Depot. Notre Dame, Illinois and Northwestern gear is also available, as well as other Big Ten merchandise.
"This is going to be your one-stop shop to be able to come and get the merchandise you want for your favorite sports team," White Sox Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing Brooks Boyer said.
The store includes a number of large HD televisions to watch games while you're shopping and there is free parking in Lot B right outside Gate 5 on non-game days.
"The response has been terrific because we have a large parking lot of free parking for people to come and the selection here allows you get so many things done in one stop. We've seen people making a lunchtime stop here or right after work try to come in and get some things," Boyer said.
The White Sox also opened two new stores on the 100 concourse level. The Dugout Shop is a Nike team store, while the Red Jacket store includes popular retro items.
New Food Items
U.S. Cellular Field has long had a good reputation for its food, but the menu just got even better.
This year's additions include pastrami bacon on your hot dogs and chicken wings covered in Hoosters' wing sauce.
If you're a burger fan, you'll want to try "DaBurger Double Play", which includes cheddar, bacon, BBQ sauce and carmelized onions. The "Juicy Lucy" is stuffed with bacon and cheddar cheese or jalapeno and cream cheese.
Other new items include the Pastrami Cheese Steak, Bases Loaded Baked Potato and the Irish Nacho Helmet. All of these items can be found on the 100 and 500 levels.
"We're known for our food and it's a point of pride that we have to be able to offer our fans the widest selection and the highest quality products we possibly can," Boyer said. "Our friends at Levy and SportsService work really hard to maintain that high level of excellence that we've set for ourselves and we not only try to hit the bar, but we try to exceed it."
On the club level, you can find "Meatball Mania", "DaBurger Triple Play" and "The Sloppy Jane".
"(The new food items) will be the types of things that make our ballpark unique and make people think instead of eating out somewhere, they'll come to the ballpark to get something," Boyer said.
Adam is the Sports Content Producer for CBSChicago.com and specializes in coverage of the Bears, White Sox and college sports. He was born and raised in Lincoln Park and attended St. Ignatius College Prep before going off to the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he earned a Journalism degree. Follow him on Twitter @AdamHogeCBS and read more of his columns here.
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