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NEIGHBORHOOD EATERY

Champs Pitches Ballpark Fare to the Sporting Crowd

February 28, 1991|JEFFREY A. PERLMAN

If you're one of those strange people who go to baseball and football games partly because you love the suds-and-pup cuisine, then Champs, a small sports deli in Seal Beach, is for you.

The atmosphere is California Parking Lot. Champs is on fast-food row in the parking lot of the Rossmoor Shopping Center and occupies what was once a fish-and-chips takeout joint next to a Carl's Jr.

Started about four years ago by Mark and Moe Griffin, Champs has a small patio out front, rimmed by white globe lights made to resemble giant baseballs.

Inside, there are the mandatory team pennants, autographed photos of Reggie Jackson et al., a Louisville Slugger or two and de riguer neon beer signs. There are also three television sets (beware--the staff likes to watch boxing or wrestling matches on all three sets at once).

The fare ranges from the MVP (Most Valuable Puppy), a steamed hot dog with all the trimmings, to spicier, charred dogs that go by names such as Dug Out Dog, Fernando Chili Cheese Dog, and my favorite, the Fast Ball Fire Dog.

All are fresh, scrumptious and cooked to order, which sometimes takes 10 to 20 minutes when the kitchen is busy.

The same can be said of the sandwiches, which include barbecued chicken breast, patty melts and polish sausage on rye, not to mention a wide array of charbroiled burgers and sides ranging from delicious French fries and onion rings to green salads and chili.

Large dill pickles and pickled eggs are available from huge jars on the front counter. Desserts include New York style cheesecake and fudge brownies.

Missing, however, are ballpark nachos and milkshakes, even the frozen variety.

Still, the Griffin brothers have brought ballpark food to new, tasty heights of quality, and have duplicated much of what is found at your nearby stadium, including the after-dark chill (bring your sweater).

Champs, 12161 Seal Beach Blvd., Seal Beach. Open Sunday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday till 11 p.m. (213) 596-2555.

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