Cubs get OK for more concessions in Wrigley bleachers

The notoriously hard-partying inhabitants of the bleachers at Wrigley Field should soon face shorter lines to get food — and beer — after the Cubs got the go-ahead from the city Thursday to install new concession stands as part of the renovation of the outfield seating area.

Appearing before the Permit Review Committee of the Commission on Chicago Landmarks, team officials said they plan to install two new permanent concession areas, facing Sheffield and Waveland avenues, underneath the center field bleachers below the hand-operated scoreboard.

Four more “portable concession stands” also are in the works. Two will face Sheffield underneath the script advertising sign on the outer part of the right field bleachers, and two others will face Waveland in back of the large video board in left field.

Approval from the Landmarks Commission allows the Cubs to get permits to build the permanent concession stands. Team officials talked about the portable ones as well, though no permit is required for their installation.

“It adds an additional amenity, additional concession stands in the bleacher area that allow us to serve the fans who are out there in a way that’s more modern, allow us to offer other options for food, and it’s really a more attractive way to meet the needs of fans,” Cubs Vice President Michael Lufrano said after the meeting. “Hopefully there will be shorter lines, there will be better food options and it will be an attractive addition to the bleachers.”

Currently, fans sitting in the bleachers walk behind the benches to get drinks and food from small concession areas, carts and beer vendors stationed back there. Unlike in the grandstand, vendors don’t walk through the seating areas in the bleachers.

“This will add more permanent concession stands on the level where the seating is,” Lufrano said. “It allows us to better reach those fans, and hopefully shorten lines and shorten wait times so they can get back to watching the ballgame.”

Right now, the food options in the bleachers don’t stretch much beyond hot dogs, hot pretzels, nachos and slices of pizza, in large part because of limited food preparation space. Lufrano said the new concession areas will allow the team to sell a wider variety of food.

Lufrano said the team “will work as quickly as we can” to build the new permanent concession stands, saying they could open in July.

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