Who let the dogs out? At Ravens games, Esskay is out, Dietz & Watson in

From the Dining@Large blog:

The Baltimore Ravens have a new hot dog supplier -- from Philly.

That's right, Esskay is out, Dietz & Watson is in.

Esskay, founded in Baltimore in 1858, has been supplying Ravens concession stands with hot dogs since the stadium opened.

But Dietz & Watson has just landed the three-year contract.

Esskay is an old name in hot dogs in Baltimore, but before local food chauvinists get too worked up, it's worth noting that the company was acquired by Smithfield Foods in 1985. The Esskay dogs long sold at Ravens games -- and still sold at Orioles, Aberdeen IronBirds and Naval Academy games - were actually made in Virginia.

Esskay still has a plant in Landover and a marketing office in Baltimore, however. And the company still thinks of itself as the hometown favorite.

"It's unfortunate," said Dave McLaughlin, general manager of Esskay's Baltimore sales division. "Hopefully, it's just a short-term deal and we'll have an opportunity to go back in there."

Steve Riley, marketing director for Dietz & Watson, said the team approached his company, which is also hot dog purveyor to the Eagles and other sports teams.

"We're a really top-quality product," he said. "We like affiliating with top-quality franchises."

Even though it's a Philadelphia-based company, Dietz & Watson employs people at the former Parks Sausages Co. plant in Baltimore, Riley noted.

"We have a big plant right there in Baltimore and we do all our poultry there," he said. "We employ probably more than 300 people."

The dogs, however, are made in Philly.