Matt Gibson has always loved burgers.
“A big burger guy,” the Legends Hospitality senior executive chef called himself.
Specifically, he craved an In-N-Out Burger from his time on the West Coast, but he never discovered one that matched the taste.
So he decided to craft a version of his own for the menu at Yankee Stadium, where the 99 Burger acquired its roots.
The creation contains two patties with American Wagyu beef from Lobel’s of New York, New School American Cheese, a secret sauce, pickles and carmelized onions, all on a brioche bun with lettuce and tomato available as additional toppings.
It’ll cost $19.99. Only 99 of them will be available at each home game.
It’s a California-inspired food item named after the uniform number of Aaron Judge, the Yankees’ California boy, and one of the new menu additions — along with a trio of new partners — that debuts in The Bronx for the 2023 season.
“The core is always gonna be there,” Gibson told The Post on Wednesday during a food and dining tasting event at Yankee Stadium. “Chicken fingers, hot dogs and french fries — like tried and true, works. … Nothing crazy [with the 99 Burger]. Nothing super fancy.
“The best products that we can use, cooked fresh, and we’re only offering 99 just to make sure that we keep it coming fresh.”
Gibson’s vision for the new partners — Fuku, Mac Truck and Food Network chef Christian Petroni’s cheesy, loaded garlic bread — and new menu items such as the 99 Burger started soon after the 2022 season ended.
He started to dine out, seeing what concepts were popular and what names headlined the marketplace.
“Just because their concept works at their restaurant, doesn’t necessarily [mean] it’s going to work at Yankee Stadium,” Gibson told The Post.
Other added dishes include the O.G. Spicy Chicken Sando from Fuku, macaroni and cheese — with charred corn pico de gallo and crushed tortilla chips as a topping option — and a Bronx Burrito.
For the 99 Burger, Gibson called Mark Lobel to discuss different types of meats.
Lobel’s sent American Wagyu, and Gibson thought it was delicious.
The next step involved Eric Greenspan and his cheese: aged cheddar, real cream, real butter and salt.
And on Wednesday, their burger was on display — a white 99 flag, with a baseball at the top, piercing each half — as workers prepped the field beneath the Yankee Stadium Audi Club, where Judge blasted a portion of his record-setting 62 homers in 2022.
During the tasting event, Petroni, a Bronx native, reminisced about games at the old Yankee Stadium, growing up 15 minutes away at 241st St. and White Plains Rd.
He and his family frequented a nearby restaurant and Petroni realized how much passion went into its garlic bread — wicker baskets lined with foil, cheesy garlic bread packed alongside warm marinara sauce.
That sparked the foundation for his cheesy garlic bread, which uses bastone from a Bronx wholesaler.
There’s mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. There’s oregano and marinara sauce.
There’s even pepperoni.
Gibson saw Petroni’s garlic bread after he posted it online, and he messaged about trying to make a partnership work. Petroni even has a tattoo tucked under his lip, with “THE BRONX” reminding him of his borough — and, indirectly, everything associated with it, such as its place in baseball history.
It was supposed to fade after two years, he joked, but about 20 years later, Petroni could still flash its ink, as he stood around other chefs and spoke about how the next layer of his cooking dream became a reality.
“I’ve been crying for three weeks straight as I’m driving in and out of the stadium doing training with the team,” Petroni said. “I can’t believe this is even real life.”
Leave a Reply