Yoshinoya and a sushi restaurant sprang up at Dodgers Stadium after Japanese pitcher Hideo Nomo donned blue, but it's going to be a while before L.A. fans will be able to bite into a kosher Dodger dog, even with the addition of Jewish outfielder Shawn Green.
When Dodger fan Stuart Tochner took a tour of East Coast ballparks in 1998, the plethora of kosher hot dog vendors amazed him. The popularity of kosher pups at ballgames is undeniable. That same year, Rabbi David Senter, who operates stands at Yankee and Shea Stadium, averaged sales of 600 hot dogs per week. Tochner, who often brings his own food or eats pizza or French fries at games, wanted a kosher alternative to Farmer John's pork-laden Dodger dog. Together with Paul Cunningham, Tochner contacted Irvin Lonzo at Aramark -- the company responsible for concessions at Dodger Stadium -- and requested kosher hot dogs be added to the regular menu.
"We have a pretty substantial Jewish community here, and you don't have much of a choice if you want to have a meal at Dodger Stadium," said Cunningham.
Based on positive feedback from Lonzo, Tochner and Cunningham were hopeful that Aramark would be able to follow through for the 2001 season. Recently, Cunningham received an e-mail from Lonzo stating that due to contractual obligations with Farmer John he was unable to sell the product.
Lonzo told The Journal that the Dodgers did push to have kosher hot dogs served during a 2000 season Jewish night, and "when the contract [with Farmer John] expires, we can then explore this avenue."
"I really hope that there's some way the Dodgers can offer kosher hot dogs at the ballpark. I think there are many Jewish fathers who would love to be able to share that experience with their kids," said Tochner.