STADIUM FOOD ARRIVES AT THE CUTTING EDGE
Remember back in the old days when ‘going out to the ball park’ meant eating hotdogs, popcorn and cotton candy. You couldn’t even get a cold beer at most ball parks. Sporting events were sort of like camping trips where everyone dressed up warmly and fans often resorted to bringing their own food and beverages, especially ‘beverages’.
Stadiums were mostly cold grey concrete structures everywhere under the seats and facilities were basic….at best. Guys with strong arms used to carry Cokes….in glass bottles….up and down the rows of fans….they sold you a coke, poured it into a plastic cup and lugged the empty bottles away. How times have changed!
In the past ten years or so, America has gone ‘foodie’ crazy. Chefs have become international celebrities and cooking shows can be found at almost any time of the day or night. This sudden food consciousness has given rise to a significant upgrade in the quality of food that most of us consume daily.
So the folks running Levi’s Stadium outside of San Francisco have raised the bar up a couple of more notches with what will be available to eat at their new beautiful stadium. In fact, they have dedicated over 17,000 square feet of space in the new stadium to feeding the sports fans in style.
If you follow the food magazines, you have probably already heard of Chef Michael Mina. The Michelin stared Chef has been featured in such prestigious publications as Gourmet, Food & Wine and Bon Appétit as one of the best and most original young Chefs in the country.
As it turns out, Michael Mina has been a huge San Francisco 49er fan for many years…as well as a season ticket holder since 1991. When the team moved into its new facility the stadium managers brought in the popular Chef and gave him 17,000 square feet to work on with only one guideline…..”Make this place awesome”…..so he did just that.
Levi’s Stadium probably now has the most exotic, most varied….and most expensive…. stadium food of all the existing NFL stadiums today. That was their goal to start out with. Where else can a season ticket holder purchase a $5,000 a year tailgate pass that allows them to graze among several first rate restaurants there at the stadium and enjoy a wide variety of gourmet grub at each stop.
Now $5,000 may seem a bit high for a single season pass, but, remember, the deal includes all that you can drink as well. So, for some dedicated fans, it may turn out to be a bargain in disguise.
Actually, what transpired in Levi’s Stadium as the ‘cutting edge’ of stadium food has now become the norm in many upscale stadiums across the country, even to the point of holding food festivals and competitions before big sporting events. Chefs everywhere are competing with each other weekly to see whose next presentation can be more outrageous than their last, which was already pretty outrageous!
So, Bon Appétit, and don’t forget the Tums!
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