"A hot dog at the ballpark is better than a steak at the Ritz," quipped Humphrey Bogart. I can only guess Bogey didn't have access to funnel cake fries back then, because otherwise he would've been inspired to remark on those unnatural wonders, too (these nefarious $3 snacks will come up again).

"A hot dog at the ballpark is better than a steak at the Ritz," quipped Humphrey Bogart. I can only guess Bogey didn't have access to funnel cake fries back then, because otherwise he would've been inspired to remark on those unnatural wonders, too (these nefarious $3 snacks will come up again).

Anyway, that sagely Bogart quote is one of many exhibited on the busy walls that inform and entertain visitors to the Hall of Fame Bar in our new and exciting Huntington Park. I recently gobbled up some far-above-average "sports" grub in this glittering stadium and filled in a finger-stained scorecard of the available chow.

But first, a few words about the building. Built with brick, intelligence and love, Huntington Park is organically integrated into its arena-area cityscape.

It's also smartly equipped with don't-need-to-be-stuck-in-your-seat picnic tables, a grassy knoll, full-service bars, and viewer-friendly perching posts that obligingly form a hanging-out perimeter behind the single tier of seats (composed of only 20 or so rows).

The intimate yet roomy 10,000-seater is so thoroughly plastered with vintage photos, bubblegum cards and historic equipment, plus nifty trivia and scientific factoids about the game, that in essence it's an engaging baseball museum specifically honoring the players and teams that spent time in Columbus.

Combining the best elements of homage-paying nostalgia with up-to-the-minute conveniences, and providing great concessions and alternate diversions, means there's plenty to do here besides watch a game.

In further praise, I'd say Huntington reminds me of two of my favorite retro/new major-league stadiums - Baltimore's Camden Yards and PNC Park in Pittsburgh. I'm not gushing hyperbolically when I declare it's a spectacular addition to our fair city.

OK, the food. (Note: gate numbers increase clockwise from No. 1 near the right field foul pole to No. 31 in left center.)

You can smell the wood smoke when approaching City Barbeque (Gate 1). City's got mini brisket and pulled pork sandwiches plus sides. Try the Home Run Special ($10), which gets you two meaty sandwiches and a veg like the crunchy cucumber-and-onion salad. Inhale this at a nearby picnic table (Gate 2).

Between Gates 7 and 9 is the cleverly designed, four-sided giant concession stand called the Grand Slam Station. Here, you'll get tons of your basic (but higher quality) baseball staples, like burgers and wieners (the dogs are good - garlicky, salty, casing-popping all-beef redhots for $3) but also veggie burgers and funnel cake fries (wait for it) and much more.

If that's busy, head to the High Heat Grill between Gates 15 and 17, as it's an exact replica of the Grand Slam.

Pizza hounds can score solid Donatos subs, salads and personal pies for reasonable prices around Gate 21.

The stadium is stocked with Bud and Miller products, but for a taste of more lively, locally made suds, head to the Elevator Brewery outpost (Gate 25), where for $7, a light-bodied dark beer (Dark Horse) is offered along with a hoppier, maltier blond quaff (Elevator Xtra).

This brings us to the three-story brick complex in left field capped with "AEP Pavilion." On the bottom, there's a Bob Evans, with good-quality sausages (loved the juice, garlic and lingering sting of the Jalapeno Hotz - $4.50).

The middle floor is the real gem - it's the Hall of Fame Bar. Here you can order an actual cocktail ($6.50-$8.25) or selections from a real, restaurant-style menu that features things like: salads, fried pickles, a huge hummus platter ($10.50, with lots of good olives, veggies, toasty pita and scoops of decent, coarsely textured basil, red pepper and regular-flavored bean dip), and over 20 sandwiches, like really grilled real chicken, reubens or meatloaf ($7.50, big, juicy, burgery with sauteed onions and a sweet and spicy mayo).

Above this is a roofless Roosters, which also has sandwiches, but especially their semi-famous wings (10 go for $8.50).

OK, dessert. The downside of funnel cakes is they're too big and unwieldy to maneuver. This has been solved at the Grand Slam Station (and High Heat Grill) by forming them into fry-sized logs, which enables users to easily devour them and share the crispy, gooey, pancakey sweetness - and shame - with neighbors.

Echoing Bogey, that's the sure beginning of a beautiful friendship.

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