How Haase spiced up local eatery for charity

Detroit Tigers

This story was excerpted from Jason Beck’s Tigers Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

Eric Haase does not consider himself a foodie, but the Tigers catcher admits he’s starting to branch out. He’s more into eating dishes than creating them.

Still, when the Tigers and nearby eatery Union Assembly teamed up for an idea on a player-inspired sandwich for a good cause, Haase was the ideal fit. He’s born and raised in Detroit, makes his home in the area year-round and grew up on local fare. Union Assembly likes dishes with locally sourced ingredients.

This collaboration made sense, not to mention the convenience of Union Assembly being right across the street from Comerica Park.

Haase crossed Woodward Avenue and met with chef Mike Cook and bar manager Stephanie Walsh.

“They asked me what I was into,” Haase said. “I’m a fairly standard eater, nothing extravagant or anything. I met with the chef and he came up with three different sandwich ideas. I went in there and tasted them and picked one — and we rolled with that one.”

He was admittedly a little nervous at first. The menu at Union Assembly boasts some rather complex dishes. The options, however, fit his style.

“It’s super creative,” he said. “I wasn’t expecting to like as much stuff as they put out. I think it was fairly creative, but also simple at the same time.”

Haase picked out two items:

1. Baseline Brisket Burger: A four-ounce beef patty with smoked woodhouse brisket, wild mushroom gravy, Grana Padano and garlic herb ricotta cheeses, served on a pretzel bun.

2. Mr. Gatorade: A drink featuring Espolon Reposado tequila, St-Germaine liquor, fresh lime juice, house-made ginger syrup, Demerara sugar and Angostura bitters in a soda. Sorry, there’s no sports drink in there, but the title is a nod to Haase, the former Gatorade Michigan High School Player of the Year at Divine Child.

The items go on sale Sunday and will remain available until late September. Proceeds from the sales will go to CATCH, a charity started by former Tigers manager Sparky Anderson that is dedicated to improving the quality of life for pediatric patients and their families at Children’s Hospital of Michigan and Henry Ford Hospital, as well as the Detroit Tigers Foundation.

Haase and some of his Tigers teammates will pay a visit to try them out after Sunday’s game against the Angels.

The ultimate test of the burger: Will the Haase kids eat it?

“My kids will,” he laughed. “My kids aren’t crazy picky.”

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