Last November when I attended the Detroit Lions-Green Bay Packers game at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan and thanks to the good guys at Levy Restaurants and Finn Partners, I spoke with Executive Chef Joe Nader and learned about the amazing culinary offerings that the stadium has available for its patrons.
Eating sporting events has long been considered overly restrictive and innovative, with basic piles of popcorn, hot dogs, pizza and nachos often leading the way. However, in recent years companies such as Levy Restaurant, which operates concessions and restaurants in more than 100 locations worldwide, have begun to take stadium food to the next level.
Although staples are still popular on game day (Ford Field sells nearly 10,000 hot dogs a game), Chef Nader strives to deliver quality restaurant food across the stadium. Doing this in a daytime game is no easy task. Usually see Chef and his team starting at 4am and working until the stadium is cleared. This includes preparing all the food for the 132 luxurious suites, Hall of Legends restaurant featuring the famous Chef List, all general concessions, a number of restaurants concept in inside the stadium and catering to the press, teams and referees.
It didn't take much longer than a couple talking to Chef Nader to find out how much he was passionate about what he was doing and the product he and his team provided. Not only does he love what he puts in, but also where it comes from. He told me that using local products and partnering with local establishments was important to him. He uses a Detroit staple, pop Faygo, on his Rock and Rye Brisket Sandwich ($ 12 with chips), they have a Michigan Craft Beer stand in the stadium ($ 9 for a beer versus $ 8.50 for Bud products) and they partnered with a number of local establishments including Slows Bar-BQ, Charlie Sanders & # 39; Gourmet BBQ Sauce, Hungry Howie & Pizza & American Coney Island to provide the distinct taste of Detroit among Ford Field attendees.
I had the pleasure of putting on couple things while at the stadium. At the recommendation of Chef Nader, I got the Deli Style Corned Beef and Swiss Sandwich from DFC Carvery in the South Club area. Whichever way you judge the sandwich, this item is the real deal. It is rated high with quality beef and has a side of chips at $ 12. At that price compared to what you would pay anywhere else for something of this quality.
I also tried one of Extreme Loaded Dogs, which is one of the newest concepts in the area of general consensus. Hot dog dogs have become a very popular option in basic dog stadiums and at a slightly higher price ($ 7.50) I think you get a little bang for your buck. I joined "The Heater", which features a perfectly cooked hot dog from Dearborn Sausage Company, topped with Buffalo wing sauce and a slu cheese slaw. Even if it's a little dangerous to eat, it's a promise. It was served on a coleslaw with chunks of bleu cheese and the appetite of Buffalo's wing sauce was a perfect compliment.
Dearborn Sausage Company is another local seller in Michigan and this year has become the official hot dog of the Detroit Lions. The quality of the product is so good that I challenge anyone to find any hot dog that is good everywhere.
You can't talk about the Detroit Lions and Ford Field without bringing Thanksgiving. The Detroit Lions have hosted the annual Thanksgiving Day competition since 1934, with last year's game against Houston being the 73rd in team history. Chef Nader has some special things planned as often as Thanksgiving. At his Chef's table he showed Thanksgiving station with all the fixes and they also served over 1,000 feet of jumbo turkey throughout the stadium.
If you go to Ford Field in the future without being overwhelmed by the knife, come down to the stadium and check out some of the best foods available.
I would like to send a special thank you to Chef Joe Nader for the kindness of his time and to Sarah Janousek of Finn Partners for making it all happen.