Specialty Food Magazine

Spring 2018

Specialty Food Magazine is the leading publication for retailers, manufacturers and foodservice professionals in the specialty food trade. It provides news, trends and business-building insights that help readers keep their businesses competitive.

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H ome of the Detroit Pistons basketball team and the Detroit Red Wings hockey franchise, Little Caesars Arena is brimming with local and specialty foods. Even the offer- ings from Little Caesars Pizza—which is based in Detroit—have a specialty flair. The arena is one of only two in the country that offer a thin-crust Little Caesars pizza, and the pizza chain is collaborating with Delaware North Sportservice, which runs the stadium's foodservice offerings, on a gluten-free pizza recipe. The approach Delaware North is taking in Detroit draws on successes in other areas of the business. "It is kind of a collaboration of everything Delaware North has done," says Tim Martin, general manager at the facility, which opened in September last year. The company, which operates in more than 50 sports facili- ties around the world, wanted to elevate the culinary experience at the stadium from top to bottom, as exemplified by using hand-cut fries in all concession areas. "We use as little as possible that comes in bags and boxes," he says. "Typically, in concessions you would use tear-open-the-bag frozen fries, but we wanted to do something a little different." To bring fine dining to game, club areas contain chef- staffed, small-plate stations, rather than buffets, to facilitate interaction with the culinary staff. Marble-topped custom carts deliver smoked prime rib sandwiches and other fare to the gon- dola seats that are suspended from the ceiling. The company is also taking advantage of culinary standouts from nearby. "We focus on things that are unique to the Detroit area," says Martin. Local purveyors featured in the facility include Fairway Packing Co., a local specialty meat retailer that supplies the commercial restaurants in the facility, and Dearborn Brand, another local specialty meat retailer, which provides sausages, deli meats, and hams for the carving stations. Ann Arbor, Mich.-based specialty foods purveyor Zingerman's Delicatessen operates its Sugar and Brew café inside The District, a food hall within the arena, and also pro- vides the bread that is used throughout the facility. Delaware North's culinary f lair really comes to life, how- ever, in the 65 suites and the four exclusive clubs at Little Caesars Arena. The chef-driven menus change for each event and include unique creations based on regional favorites of individual culi- narians on staff. One recent offering, for example, was a Yucatan pork dish, based on the childhood favorite of one of the chefs. But perhaps the most talked-about aspect of the arena is the Kid Rock Made in Detroit restaurant, which—true to Kid Rock 's crossover musical style—incorporates a blend of local foods with a Southern inf luence. Local items include the Hamtramck, a sandwich made with a beef patty, potato pancake, sauerkraut, cucumber and dill cream, along with a selection of local craft beers. Other locally inf luenced menu items at the sta- dium include chicken shawarma tacos, a ref lection of Detroit's large Arab population. The venue also incorporates a plethora of technical innovations, such as digital menu boards, self-service kiosks, and a mobile app that allows customers to order food from their seats. 3 LIT TLE CAESARS ARENA: A Focus on De troit-Area Culinary Standout s Delaware North Sportservice has elevated the menu at Detroit's Little Caesars Arena with chef-driven menus, local specialties, and the Kid Rock Made in Detroit restaurant. PHOTOS: LITTLE CAESARS ARENA 30 ❘ SPECIALTY FOOD MAGAZINE specialtyfood.com

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