It was no huge surprise to find out TV personality and chef Andrew Zimmern has his fingers in the new U.S. Bank Stadium food program, unveiled today. Nor were we shocked to see Ike's Food & Cocktails, with its big-ass Bloody Mary (can you even remember a day when a big-ass Bloody Mary wasn't a gotta-have-it item at any sports event?) and its ubiquitous tenderloin sandwich with horseradish aioli.
But we were surprised (and happily so!) to see local boys made good Thomas Boemer and Nick Rancone of fried chicken giant Revival in the mix. They said any fears they had about joining the roster were allayed by the promise that they could produce the same quality food as you will find at Revival, Corner Table, and soon to come Revival II in St. Paul. They presented a fried chicken sandwich.
Zimmern is partnering with another local boy made good, Gavin Kaysen, chef/owner of Spoon and Stable, the Twin Cities restaurant that perhaps gets the most national accolades thanks to Kaysen's illustrious New York City culinary career and his many national and international culinary friends and associates.
The partnership brainchild? Hoagies. "Recalibrating" hoagies, as Zimmern put it, which isn't a bad idea at all if you think about it. When was the last time you had a really, really good hoagie around here? Those old enough to remember long-lost Clark's know that particular sandwich genre is indeed long lost in these parts.
I'm here to report that the hoagie presented by Zimmern and Kaysen was excellent, with a warm, fall-apart Italian pork roast, aged Provolone cheese, and charred broccolini. It was way better than many (most) things I've ever consumed at or near any ball field. Here's hoping that quality holds up. If there were any theme of the day, it was that.
Stadium brass is promising quality, quality, quality in the food offerings, along with "different and unique vessels" for carrying food, along with "edgy" uniforms and new technology for ordering and collecting waste.
Not to over-promise or anything, but they're pledging "the best food of any sports venue on earth." No pressure, chefs.
Zimmern will have a second location at the stadium offering rotisserie "all-animal BBQ".
The remainder of the concessions will be handled by Aramark Catering and in-house "M Hospitality."
U.S. Bank Stadium opens in August.
U.S. Bank Stadium
900 S. Fifth St., Minneapolis