Salmon burgers, Beecher's cheese, Northwest wines - and debit cards OK! Husky Stadium's new concessions
Electronic menu boards displayed on flat-screen televisions.
Salmon burgers. Beecher’s cheese or clams and chips. Fresh and local from the Pacific Northwest. Taco truck street food. On the suite level, wines from wineries owned by UW alumni.
And – hallelujah – you can now use credit cards and debit cards to pay.
All that is just the beginning of what’s new with concessions inside renovated Husky Stadium.
Aramark, a food-service industry leader headquartered in Philadelphia, has made Washington and Husky Stadium one of the 11 universities it serves. That’s part of a five-year contract Aramark has to feed Huskies fans at all UW athletics venues.
The main concourse level of the new Husky Stadium includes two “heritage stands” at the 50-yard lines on the north and the south sides. Those are open concessions from which fans will line up on four sides to order chowder, macaroni and cheese, and sandwiches, plus healthy items such as hummus and crackers, fruit cups and salads.
The concession stand immediately behind the new UW student’s section on the stadium’s west end will be cost-conscious with a college kid’s budget in mind. By presenting a valid UW student identification card, Husky students can purchase hot dogs, nachos and sodas at a cost below that at stands in the rest of the stadium.
The 315 points of concession sale, easily 100 more than in the old stadium, now take cash and credit/debit cards, so there shouldn’t be the old rushes on the stadium’s five cash machines. You remember those, though probably not so fondly.
The new concession stands feature local brands such as Ivar’s, Kidd Valley, Beecher’s, Trophy Cupcakes and Starbucks Coffee. When not in use on game days, the stands will be covered by garage doors painted with Seattle scenes such as a ferry crossing Elliott Bay, the Space Needle and Pike Place Market.
Kurt Dammeier, the founder of Beecher’s and owner of Seattle’s Sugar Mountain foods, has partnered with Aramark to create special Husky Stadium menu items that use fresh, natural, Northwest ingredients.
Other house-made choices that will be available include “Smoke-a-rama” pulled-pork sandwiches; freshly-made pizza; chili; soups, such as tomato; plus Asian noodle bowls and fresh-made rice bowls.
The club level of the new south stands will feature live-action food stands with fresh Asian creations all season and a rotating, special presentation for each home game. For the Aug. 31 unveiling against Boise State, chefs will create street tacos, food-truck style, from the middle of the club-level lounge.
“The live cooking and rotating service being fresh and local, that will be unique,” said Ashli Brown, general manager at Aramark, which services 25 professional sports venues from the National Football League, National Basketball Association, National Hockey League and Major League Baseball.
Club and suite patrons will be able to enjoy varieties of wine from wineries owned by UW alumni.
Aramark and Husky Stadium are partnering to support the community by having about a dozen Seattle-area youth and non-profit fund-raising groups volunteering on game days.
Even the kitchen itself is a big deal. As in, gigantic. The new Husky Stadium kitchen, located in the southeast corner of the building near the visiting team’s locker room, could easily house a football team and its equipment. The freezer alone is 44 feet by 30 feet, almost the size of the entire kitchen that served the old stadium from a trailer between the north stands and the back of neighboring Alaska Airlines Arena.
Eight chefs – including Aramark’s regional chef in charge of the company’s West Coast services -- and 385 workers will begin preparations at 5:30 a.m. for the 7 p.m. opener Aug. 31 against Boise State, Brown said.
Brown and Aramark are planning for a day as big as the Huskies’ and the new stadium’s for the opener. They expect to use more than 36,000 pounds of ice, sell more than 30,000 sodas, 20,000 bottles of water, 12,000 hot dogs and 5,000 pretzels to the 70,000 fans expected for the first game.
The game – unlike the dynamic, new Husky Stadium concession areas -- is essentially sold out.
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