- Bill DiPaolo Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Spring training baseball fans will find another upgrade at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium — a chickee hut.
Guanabanas restaurant is building the 15-feet-by-30-foot building next to the left field bullpen. Stadium concessions will be sold from the hut.
In exchange, Guanabanas is posting its logo signs on the east and south sides of the hut and on walls in that area of the 7,000-seat stadium in Abacoa.
“We’re bringing a little bit of Guanabanas to Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium,” said Chad Van Boven, manager of the waterfront restaurant located on A1A south of Love Street in Jupiter.
Several tables, with purple, pink and yellow Guanabanas logo on umbrellas above them, are planned.
Labelle, Fla.-based Monster Tiki Huts was thatching the roof on the hut Friday. They expect to be finished by opening day, which is Friday, Feb. 23 between the Washington Nationals and the World Series champion Houston Astros.
The chickee hut fits with the trend making sports stadiums more social events than the traditional sports venues, said Jamie Toole, Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium assistant general.
More stadiums are adding restaurants and other attractions. The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches has a walkway so spring training fans can stroll around the entire park in West Palm Beach.
At Marlins Park in Miami, spectators can visit the Taste of Miami in section 27. There they find popcorn and beer, Cuban food, suites with wine and a rolling dessert cart. There are themed food nights and rotating chefs tables.
“People used to come to the games, find their seats and watch the game. Now, they like to get up and move around. Ballgames are more social events,” said Toole.
Guanabanas this year will be selling food from a concession booth at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium for the first time.
“We’ll be selling empanadas. We’ll make them at the restaurant and bring them to the stadium,” said Van Boven.
The chickee hut is in addition to about $560,000 in improvements made this year at the stadium. There’s more shade, spiffed up skyboxes, new sod and infield dirt and improved concession stands.