• Loading stock data...
Sunday, April 21, 2024
  • -
  • -
  • -
  • -

Minnesota United Keeps Concessions in The Neighborhood at Allianz Field

Photo Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Photo Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Allianz Field hosts its first-ever Minnesota United home match on Saturday, and the new stadium is inviting the whole neighborhood to celebrate.

That goes for many of its workers and the fans in the stands, but also the food they’ll be eating and beverages they’ll drink. The club tapped St. Paul chefs Justin Sutherland and Bill Van Stee to create a concessions program reflective of the stadium’s community plus a pinch of the sport’s global roots. Sutherland is a St. Paul restaurateur and former Top Chef contestant. Van Stee, meanwhile, is executive chef at Delaware North who spent the last 10 years heading up the concessions program at the Twins’ Target Field.

Together, the pair has worked for more than three months to curate the food and beverage program at Allianz Field.

READ MORE: Hard Rock Stadium Turns Up The Volume For Miami Open Concessions

“Soccer is a very international and diverse sport and the neighborhood the stadium was dropped into is very diverse,” Sutherland. “We wanted to tell the story of Minnesota and make sure it is being inclusive of cuisines of the sport and neighborhood. We wanted to make sure we included the St. Paul staples, the mom and pop shops, and be more than hot dogs and pretzels.”

Those old standbys will still be available in-stadium but the two chefs also made sure to reach out to local food partners to bring in more than a dozen restaurants that feature everything from Indian and Greek to soul food.

“We want to offer them the opportunity to showcase their brands inside the stadium,” said Sutherland. “We asked what kind of cuisines are in our backyard and sought out partners so our fans can have a surprise they didn’t expect to see when they walked in.”

The diversification of concessions options has been a trend going for several years and continues to intensify with local options across the nation. Now, teams and venues are increasingly turning to the “hyper-local” options like at Allianz Field, Aramark Sports and Entertainment President Carl Mittleman told Front Office Sports in January. Aramark doesn’t handle the food service at Allianz Field, but does at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.

“Local doesn’t cut it anymore — hyper- and flexible- local are becoming more and more popular,” Mittleman said. “Guests are looking for menus representing the community, culture, and flavors that surround them.”

The options at Minnesota United games will also come as a relief to fans, according to a recent study released by Phononic, which found 73 percent of Americans want a wider selection of food at recreational venues.

[mc4wp_form id=”8260″]

Now that the menu is in place, Van Stee says the greatest challenge comes in actually serving it. The structure of a soccer game offers one 20-minute halftime break in which fans can safely hit the concessions stand knowing they won’t miss any game action. That creates one flood of activity that other sports have the luxury of navigating over hours.

Sutherland, who has eight restaurants of his own, related the quick service in the stadium to being a “20,000-seat restaurant.”

To combat this, Allianz Field has aggressively staffed with local employees and implemented systems Delaware North has developed during its years of providing venue’s food service. It also has installed high-speed, quick-service kiosks throughout the concourse as well as plenty of point-of-services at concession counters.

“We want to push people through as fast as possible with those time windows,” Van Stee said. “We have that 20-minute intermission to get fans through fast and get them back to their seats. That was really important to both Delaware and the team.”

The beverage program was also important to the soccer club, which placed a focus on bringing in a variety of Minnesota craft beers such as Surly Brewing, Summit Brewing and Lift Bridge.

MORE READ: Executives Outline Predictions for Arena and Stadium Concessions in 2019

“We have a lot of great options for this craft brew age we’re in,” Sutherland said. “The beer varieties will vary from stand to stand, but it’s not just one special beer at a tiny location.”

The fruits of their labor are finally available on Saturday, but Van Stee and Sutherland know the real work is only beginning. They understand it’s their job to feed every fan in the stadium and not all fans have the same wants and desires from their concessions. More than that, those needs will change over time.

“We strive for the variety we know the community has,” Van Stee said. “That’s our vision as we grow into this space. We’ll continue to expand on that.”

Copy Link
Link Copied
Link Copied

What to Read

Everything You Need To Know About the Legal Attempts To Kill the ACC

Four lawsuits involving the conference, Clemson, and FSU could determine the future.

A Bare-Knuckle Fighter Won His Pro Debut. The Far Right Scored a Marketing Win

With Proud Boys sponsoring him, experts say extremist groups will use his success to elevate their ideologies and recruit new believers.
Dec 27, 2023; San Diego, CA, USA; USC Trojans wide receiver Kyron Hudson (10) celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the Louisville Cardinals during the first half at Petco Park.

Hearings Have Concluded in the Pivotal USC Athlete Employment Case. What’s Next?

The potentially landmark labor case could end the NCAA amateurism model.

MLS Finally Gets Its Own Piece of the Big Apple

New York will finally gain a soccer-specific stadium with plans approved for a facility in Queens.
podcast thumbnail mobile
Front Office Sports Today

Why Ian Rapoport Lives for the NFL Draft’s Chaos


Featured Today

Women’s Basketball Finally Has a TV Deal to Match the Excitement. Now What?

A lucrative new media-rights contract could rectify problems of the past, but the future of March Madness media rights is anyone’s guess.
Mar 16, 2024; Washington, D.C., USA; North Carolina State Wolfpack forward DJ Burns Jr. (30) cuts the net after defeating the North Carolina Tar Heels for the ACC Conference Championship at Capital One Arena.
April 6, 2024

How Two College Seniors Helped DJ Burns Cash In on a Final Four Run

Two college seniors are facilitating deals for NC State’s big man.
Mar 31, 2024; Portland, OR, USA; NCAA officials measure the three point line while coaches from the Texas Longhorns and NC State Wolfpack watch with referees in the finals of the Portland Regional of the NCAA Tournament at the Moda Center center.
April 1, 2024

NCAA Has No One to Blame for Latest Women’s March Madness Transgressions

NCAA is still making avoidable mistakes three years after a complete overhaul.
Nov 16, 2015; Bloomington, IN, USA; General view of the championship banners at Assembly Hall prior to the game between Austin Peay and Indiana.
March 31, 2024

How to Make It in Basketball: Become a Manager at Indiana

Inside the Hoosiers’ unglamorous, profoundly rewarding incubator for basketball’s biggest names.


Powered By

Careers in Sports

Looking for a new job? Check out these featured listings and search for openings all over the world.
Live Nation
Multiple - USA Careers
Multiple - USA Careers
Multiple - USA Careers
FC Barcelona vs. Real Madrid in Texas.

FC Barcelona, Real Madrid Set AT&T Stadium Soccer Attendance Record

Sixth Street organized the match as part its U.S. Soccer Champions Tour.
November 14, 2022

Vegas Resorts Going All Out for Formula 1 Grand Prix

MGM Resorts will build a grandstand for the Las Vegas Grand Prix.
A young fan holds a sign for Julio Rodriguez during the 2023 MLB Home Run Derby.
July 12, 2023

MLB Median Ticket Buyer Down to 43 Years Old

Games are shorter and higher scoring thanks to new rules.

Rapid Returns: How Technology Is Getting You Back to Your Seat

How Oracle’s POS technology is helping fans get back to their seats faster.

How QuintEvents is Changing the Game of Premium Fan Experiences

Over the last decade, we’ve seen a noticeable shift in the psyche…
October 7, 2022

MLB Attendance Pops Up, But Falls Below 2019 Levels

MLB attendance rose from 2021, but still lagged behind 2019 levels.
September 16, 2022

Baron Davis, Michele Roberts Help Launch Fan Controlled Hoops

The league will begin its inaugural season on Feb. 7, 2023 in Atlanta.

Webinar: How to Improve the Fan Experience at the Stadium and Online

Learn how pro sports teams are improving the fan experience.