By Rani Long
New state-of-the-art stadiums and sports arenas have popped up all over the country in the past few years; along with updated standards in guest amenities, these venues have gone above and beyond to provide gastronomic pleasures that exceed the expected burgers and fries by a long shot. In many stadiums, regional foods are proudly featured and fresh ingredients are emphasized. And luxury suite fare is more varied than ever, with menu packages from sushi bars to Mediterranean food for the true gourmet. Even stadium classics are often given a fresh twist -- like Safeco Field's Ivar Dog, which is actually fried cod.
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SoIn sporting cities around the country, from Los Angeles to Philadelphia, restaurant-quality food lives up to the impressive view of the game — NBA suites in LA feature local artisan cheeses, you can eat sliced mushroom strudel with feta and red pepper coulis while watching Major League Baseball in Seattle, and in Dallas, home of all-American fare, comfort food gets an upgrade when items like truffled mac and cheese make the menu.
The United Club Suite experience here is about as good as it gets, according to many guests. It's not only the excellent service that makes visitors feel like A-listers, but fans will be blown away with seats so close to the players that you can hear them talking to each other. The indoor all-you-can-eat buffet includes endless prime rib and grilled portabellos. If you haven't stuffed yourself enough, back in your seat you can load up on Dodger Dogs, peanuts, and popcorn from the waitstaff. Top Tier Luxury Suite Price: Renting out a United Club Suite for a Premium game day will cost $5,000 for you and 18 guests, including an all-you-can-eat buffet.
Watching the Seattle Mariners play baseball from a luxury suite feels even farther from the madding crowds when your meal package includes items like a portabello mushroom stack with Boursin cheese and red pepper coulis. Still, die-hard fans will tell you it's a must to get the park's classic Ivar Dog — fried cod layered with coleslaw and tartar sauce on a fresh roll. Top Tier Luxury Suite Price: The Press Box Suite will run you $500 a head during a Premium game and can hold 18-25 people, plus it includes access to Wells Fargo Terrace Club Lounges.
In a brilliant display of entrepreneurship, a Cubs-endorsed building developer decided to open luxury suites in the Rooftop Club, right outside of storied Wrigley Field in Chicago. Fans are treated to an unobstructed diamond view and ballpark classics with a twist: skirt steak sandwiches, Wisconsin-style brats, and Kobe beef burgers served on brioche buns. Fat Tire is on tap! Top Tier Luxury Suite Price: Renting out The Grand Slam Suite for a Marquee game will run you and 55 of your closest friends $16,200 with the Premier catering package.
The Yankees are known for representing wealth, fortune, and superiority in the world of Major League Baseball, which is why it comes as no surprise that their stadium would rank among the most expensive luxury boxes in professional sports. The food options include sushi, brick-oven pizza, and celebrity chefs such as Masaharu Morimoto and April Bloomfield have been known to be seen working the open cooking stations in the suites. Top Tier Luxury Box Price: $23,000 for an Opening Day game including 22 tickets.
But these arenas haven't forgotten the favorites that the fans have come to love over the years. Still available are the classic foods that people associate with their live sports experiences; from suites to the bleachers, fans clamor for Gilroy Garlic Fries at AT&T Park and for Dodger Dogs in Los Angeles.
The bottom line is that it's all about choices now -- to go with your peanuts and Cracker Jacks, naturally.
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