Fan experience at a major sporting event is certainly enhanced when the home team wins. But, we’ve seen venues across North America ramp up their food and beverage offerings. There’s more for the kids to do. There are more and more premium options — even for the fans who might be sitting in the second or third decks.
On Thursday, the food offerings for the 2019-20 Oilers season at Rogers Place were put on display for the media. And while Tom Anselmi, the CEO of Oilers Entertainment Group, said that the “hot dogs always taste better when you win,” the truth is that, when you have a fan base that comes from across the prairies to enjoy games in downtown Edmonton, the arena itself has to bring its “A” game every night — whether the Oilers triumph or not. So, what’s new? Look for 33-ounce “Tomahawk” steaks to be served in the suites, giant cuts that will be carved up for guests in those premium areas. We also sampled sushi from Mikado and sous-vide lamb chops with white-bean ragoüt. Yup, arena food. The arena will also feature an interactive dessert station. We watched one of the chefs make ice cream in front of our eyes using liquid nitrogen. The idea is to make desserts, from doughnuts to ice cream, in front of the fans’ eyes. There’s a new Italian hot dog on offer, with parmesan cheese, and I heard more than a few very positive comments about the brisket nachos. Brisket will be one of the options in areas where fans can build their own nacho platters. I also tried some creme brulée cheesecake, with a shot of Hansen Distillery’s Cherry Rye served in a chocolate liqueur cup. Shoot the whiskey, eat the cup, then enjoy the cake. Or, drizzle the cake in whiskey. Choice is yours.
It has to be noted that the arena is looking to be using more and more Alberta-made spirits. We spotted Hansen Distillery bottles, as well as spirits from Canmore’s RAW Distillery.