The 2023 football season kicked off in August while some fans were still in summer vacation mode, but now that September’s here, the action on the field and in the stands is revving up. With the blank slate for college and NFL teams, stadium foodservice is off to a fresh start, too.
Sodexo, Legends, Levy and Aramark—football stadiums’ main food and beverage partners—were busy throughout the off-season developing new menu items to fuel cheering crowds on game days. In store are more local favorites, menus for different dayparts and riffs on classics.
Aramark Sports + Entertainment’s new culinary program, Game Time, is building menus more closely around football schedules. For earlier kickoffs, the company now offers brunch favorites, and for evening games, there’s a late-night menu.
On the brunch side, there are 10 new items, including a Brunch Banh Mi (Empower Field at Mile High Stadium), Burnt Ends Breakfast with Korean barbecue, scrambled eggs and kimchi slaw (Paycor Stadium) and a Chicken Croissant Cone (GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium.) For the late-night crowd, there’s an Elvis Sandwich (U.S. Bank Stadium), Chipped Ham Grilled Cheese (Acrisure Stadium) and Cannoli Nachos (Lincoln Financial Field) for a sweet ending.
Local flavors continue to be popular. Cincinnati Bengals fans can grab the city’s famous chili at Skyline Chili, the new official partner at Paycor Stadium, while NRG Stadium in Houston is offering up nachos, smoked barbecue cuernos and tacos from El Tiempo Cantina.
Aramark’s college stadiums are leaning into local, too. University of Washington features wines from alumni-owned wineries at its Husky Vines operation and a local apple fritter pulled pork sandwich at Bakes & BBQ. East Carolina University runs Fire in the Hole BBQ with a menu of pork and chicken barbecue sandwiches, while Cackalacky BBQ Shack at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has a craveable pulled pork mac and cheese made with the officially licensed Tar Heels BBQ Sauce.
Hometown favorites are also on the menu at Lumen Field, home of the Seattle Seahawks. Foodservice provider Levy partnered with Big Walt’s Kitchen, created by Seahawks Hall of Famer Walter Jones, to offer Bang Bang Chicken Tenders and a Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwich; meanwhile, Beef Empanadas at the stadium come from Maria Luisa Empanadas and a Chicken Banh Mi from Saigon Drip Cafe. There’s also a Crab Roll Dip Sandwich filled with Pacific Northwest Dungeness Crab with a side of creamy crab bisque.
On the college side, Levy is doing a Notre Dame Dog and Pork Tenderloin Sandwich at—you guessed it—University of Notre Dame, which is located in Indiana, home of the pork tenderloin sandwich. At University of Wisconsin, the concessions are selling a Cheddarwurst Corn Dog made with a local wurst.
Sodexo Live!, which partners with 10 universities, has reinvigorated food and beverage service for fall with new menu items and operators. At University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Buddy’s Pizza from nearby Detroit is now available, along with global and regional fare in the stadium’s suites. Highlights include a build-your-own shawarma option, a baguette filled with falafel, grilled eggplant, portobellos and Peppadew chutney, and a muffuletta layered with Dearborn ham.
Down at the University of Louisville, minority-owned food truck Cheezy Does It is moving from outside Cardinal Stadium to an inside kiosk to sell its popular fried mac and cheese balls. Sodexo also enlisted neighborhood food trucks Wingz and Things, G&G Fries and Busy Bee for Vaught-Hemingway Stadium at University of Mississippi.
At Texas State University’s Bobcat Stadium in San Marcos, Texas State Dining and Chartwells Higher Education oversee the food and beverage program. This year, the menu offers South Texas takes on football fare.
“People are looking for more exciting, more innovative products and I wanted to put my own spin on it that reflected my roots, which are in San Antonio,” said Executive Chef Alberto Trujillo. “These are traditional items with a twist.”
The array of new items there includes Loaded Brisket Nachos, Walking Tacos and two quarter-pound hot dogs: The Cowboy, topped with brisket and candied jalapenos, and The Ranchero, wrapped in bacon with salsa verde, sauteed peppers and onions.
The Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium, which partners with Legends Hospitality, is welcoming fans to its first home game Sunday with a number of new menu additions. There’s a Birria Quesadilla and Flamin' Hot Cheetos Elote, two street food-inspired specialties that draw Texas fans. House-smoked Bent Buckle Brisket and Cowboy’s Mac ‘n Cheese is breaded with BBQ corn chips and fried to create Fritos Brisket Mac ‘n Cheese Balls.
There are also Al Pastor Tacos, Cowboys Cheesesteak and a Brisket Mac ‘n Cheese Bowl. But for those with less meaty cravings, AT&T Stadium offers a Plant Based Touchdown program with vegetarian options like an Awesome Burger, Buffalo Chik’n Nachos and Touchdown Tots.
Although the home of the Dallas Cowboys is not included, PETA recently came out with a list of the top five vegan-friendly stadiums. For example, attendees at the Las Vegas Raiders’ Allegiant Stadium can score a Quinoa Salad Wrap, Beyond Bratwurst and vegan grilled cheese. Seahawks fans may want to dine on jackfruit curry and black bean nachos, and Meatless Grill Carts at the Atlanta Falcons’ Mercedes-Benz Stadium offer up vegan burgers, sausages and curry wraps. Ford Field, where the Detroit Lions play, and the Indianapolis Colts’ Lucas Oil Stadium also made PETA’s cut.