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September 2, 2010

Who let the dogs out? At Ravens games, Esskay is out, Dietz & Watson in

Dietz & WatsonThe Baltimore Ravens have a new hot dog supplier -- from Philly.

That's right, Esskay is out, Dietz & Watson is in.

Esskay, founded in Baltimore in 1858, has been supplying Ravens concession stands with hot dogs since the stadium opened.

But Dietz & Watson has just landed the three-year contract.

Esskay is an old name in hot dogs in Baltimore, but before local food chauvinists get too worked up, it's worth noting that the company was acquired by Smithfield Foods in 1985. The Esskay dogs long sold at Ravens games -- and still sold at Orioles, Aberdeen IronBirds and Naval Academy games -- were actually made in Virginia.

Esskay still has a plant in Landover and a marketing office in Baltimore, however. And the company still thinks of itself as the hometown favorite.

"It's unfortunate," said Dave McLaughlin, general manager of Esskay's Baltimore sales division. "Hopefully, it's just a short-term deal and we'll have an opportunity to go back in there."

Steve Riley, marketing director for Dietz & Watson, said the team approached his company, which is also hot dog purveyor to the Eagles and other sports teams.

"We're a really top-quality product," he said. "We like affiliating with top-quality franchises."

Even though it's a Philadelphia-based company, Dietz & Watson employs people at the former Parks Sausages Co. plant in Baltimore, Riley noted.

"We have a big plant right there in Baltimore and we do all our poultry there," he said. "We employ probably more than 300 people."

The dogs, however, are made in Philly.

Add your two cents to The Sun's Esskay vs. Dietz & Watson poll.

Dietz & Watson photo

Posted by Laura Vozzella at 11:39 AM | | Comments (37)
        

Comments

Okay, we will see.

I'm sure the Ravens did this because they are cheaper, and in turn will pass on the savings to us, the fans... RIGHT??

If it had been the Orioles that had done this, I am sure there would have been at least ten comments by now saying what a monster Peter Angelos was.

Sacrilege!

(Good comment, TOM!)

Next year, when they raise ticket prices because on no CBA, it may be time to sell the PSL and let some other sucker support these overpaid prima donnas. If I am paying $7 for a hotdog, it damn well better be Esskay. But then again, I haven't eaten anything at the stadium in years.

Oops! Actually, good comment frosty!

(Sorry, TOM!)

Let's be frank, Esskay hotdogs aren't that good. They're terrible, in fact. They're about the worst thing you can do to yourself.

I've never had a D&W dog, but it has to be better than Esskay.

That said, I'd never fork over stadium prices for a tube of spare animal parts. Well, maybe for a Hebrew National.

Bill Adams says, "If I am paying $7 for a hotdog, it damn well better be Esskay." Well, Bill, if I am paying $7, it better be a pack of Hebrew Nationals.

Esskay is no different than Natty Boh. Long history with the city and sports, but bought out years ago and no local ties anymore. Don't blame the Ravens for wanting probably a better product that probably saves some bucks too. And they do have a plant here, so good for them.

The day Old Bay is made by some Chinese company, uggh, can't imagine....

Oh, and Nat Boh is a beer of delicate subtle flavor, right? My grandfather worked on the night floor at the old Esskay plant, and while i would rather stick needles in my eyes then eat stadium food, Esskay it shall be when it comes to vile hotdogs made of god knows what. This isn't about haute cuisine, this is comfort food, along the lines of straight from the box mac n'cheese.
Fun Fact: ESPN rated M&T and Camden yards amongst the safest places to consume overpriced stadium food. No need to worry about a side of Salmonella with your hotdog.

I am born and raised in Baltimore and I used to eat Esskay when I was little but I would not touch them now. Give me a Hebrew National any day.

Does anyone know if this company is the same one that supplies Dodger Dogs at the Ravine? If so, Esskay will never get back in. Dodger Dogs are the best stadium hot dog on the market.

Does anyone know if this company is the same one that supplies Dodger Dogs at the Ravine? If so, Esskay will never get back in. Dodger Dogs are the best stadium hot dog on the market.

Why would anyone be loyal to Esskay. They sold out to a scab operation in Virginia who promptly closed the local plant. Diets and Watson dogs are so far superior to the Esskay ones its no contest. They have no fillers, MSG of artificial colorings added. I'm sure that they cost the stadium concessionaire more than the Esskay dogs.The company has also created or preserved jobs in Baltimore.

Just added a link above to The Sun's Esskay vs. Dietz & Watson poll.

Feel free to chime in.

http://mobile.baltimoresun.com/wap/form/?sid=297&form_id=310

Like Natty Boh, Esskay is a part of Baltimore's legend, and sadly part of its past. Luckily, Natty Boh and Esskay are far from delicious, and I'd prefer any Mexican beer over Boh and HN or Nathans over Esskay any day.

Both are former icons, which unfortunately, since they are no longer Baltimore based companies, I can live without.

I have an amazing Esskay Cal Ripken Jr poster framed and old Natty Boh - Orioles memorabilia to remember those long lost days...

Who let the dogs out? If you must know, I did, Laura. I did.

I agree with Frosty. I don't think this is about which dog tastes better. I think it comes down to price. I'm sure they got a better deal with D&W. But I can guarantee that the price they charge won't go down. Nothing in the business world gets done "just because", it gets done to make a profit. That's business.

I had one of the new dogs at the Ravens-Giants pre-season game. It was ok but I think the Esskay dogs are better.

Currently, several of the O's minor league affiliate stadiums are serving D&W's and they are far superior to Esskay. It's still just a hot dog, but I much prefer D&W.

BOOOOOOOOOOO

read comments, better than Hebrew National!

If Esskay still had a plant in Baltimore just like if Natty Boh was still made in Halethorpe I would be disgusted. But Esskay trades on being a "hometown" product as does Pabst Blue Ribbon, I mean National Bohemian but barely employs anyone in the hometown. A local sales office? Who cares? Ford has more local employees working at the various dealerships and they're not a "hometown" company. At least Dietz and Watson has a plant in Baltimore. Esskay (Smithfield) and National Bohemian (Pabst) are just more examples of outsider companies trading on the nostalgia of when Maryland was "The Land of Pleasant Living."

Read the ingred list on a package of Esskay Hotdogs. It is one of the most chemical latent food like products on the market. At least DW produces a finer quality meat. Don't be a slave to a company. NONE of the food you eat these day's is the same stuff your Grandfather ate.

Read the ingred list on a package of Esskay Hotdogs. It is one of the most chemical latent food like products on the market. At least DW produces a finer quality meat. Don't be a slave to a company. NONE of the food you eat these day's is the same stuff your Grandfather ate.

Read the ingred list on a package of Esskay Hotdogs. It is one of the most chemical latent food like products on the market. At least DW produces a finer quality meat. Don't be a slave to a company. NONE of the food you eat these day's is the same stuff your Grandfather ate.

I go for hot dogs that have less than 15% of daily salt per link. Do either of these brands qualify? The saltiest country in the world is the USA. Stop using it and your food tastes like it should. Then you realize how salty processed meats are.

All you idiots b**ch and moan about Esskay's ingredients. They should serve Rapa scrapple at M&T Bank Stadium! To hell with tube steaks. Hebrew Nationals are disgusting.

No sir, I don't like it.

Eh, they're both traif. I'll stick with the Hebrew Nationals, thank you.

for the price it shouldn't be a hot dog they serve it should be a rib eye or a strip steak. and while we are at it the price for a beer should incude a pole dance (guy or girl) give me something here....

Your 1996 tax dollars still at work. Rubes.

The Great Raven Hotdog Controversy.
Another reason to move to Baltimore.

Oh, I'm glad I'm not an Oscar Meyer Weeeeee nerrrrrrrrrr.........

x2 to what Jon said, it is spot on.

Couldn't wait to see you go SK! Hope the O's see this and do the same.

"I rarely eat hot dogs, but when I do, I eat only D and W. Stay hungry my friends."

(The world's most interesting Baltimorean)

I would love to see Rapa Scrapple at the Stadium. Of course, that would also mean that maple syrup and King's Syrup would have to be added to the condiminent station.

As for hotdogs, if we were really interested in better tasting dogs, M&T would carry Nathan's. Of course the New York connection would be far more difficult to swallow than some VA or PA product.

Rapa Scrapple? I see a hip-hopportunity hear, y'all. Deep fried Rapa Scrappa, drop it, drop it, drop it like it's hot! OWWwwww ... m@%#*& f@(*#*#!!! Dat shiznit is real hot. We gonna need sum bunz, Paterakis!

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About this blog

You are reading the archives. For updated blog posts about the Maryland food scene, see Richard Gorelick's new Baltimore Diner blog.
Richard Gorelick was appointed The Baltimore Sun's restaurant critic in September 2010. Before joining the paper staff fulltime, he contributed freelance criticism and features articles about food to area and regional publications. Along the way, he dispatched for short-distance trucking companies, shilled for cultural non-profits, and assisted in cognitive neurology research – never the subject, always the control.

He takes restaurants seriously but not himself, and his favorite restaurant is the one you love, too.
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