Gold And Cold For NHL Winter Classic

Levy thinks simple, seasonal for Jan. 1 game at Notre Dame Stadium

  • by Tim Newcomb
  • Published: December 12, 2018

Levy's loaded taters, served in a gold football helmet, will warm up hockey fans in South Bend, Ind., on New Year's Day. (Courtesy Levy)

Notre Dame football typically plays its final home game in late November, which can make for a chilly day at 80,000-seat Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend, Ind. But as the stadium prepares to open its doors Jan. 1 for the 2019 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic, concessionaire Levy wants to be ready with food and beverage offerings to match winter weather.

“We knew it’s going to be pretty cold, so we’re looking at serving up really satisfying and hearty dishes that will give fans who maybe aren’t regulars at Notre Dame games a taste of fan favorites, along with some new items,” said Tim Radack, senior executive chef for Levy’s Midwest region.

As the NHL descends on the venue for its annual New Year’s Day outdoor game, Levy has turned its attention to using the weather to its advantage. But the food provider also knows that it needs to make things simple to keep people warm and not standing in line.

“For large events, we try to focus on delivering a handful of really great new dishes, as opposed to overloading the menus with too many items,” Radack said. That said, Levy expects a few new dishes to be hits, including the loaded taters, pretzel-wrapped cheddar sausage, and beef and turkey chilies.

For the $12 loaded taters, Radack will take house-fried pub chips, jalapeno cheese, barbecue pulled pork, pickled onions, scallions and barbecue sauce and serve it all in an Irish gold-painted hockey helmet. The loaded taters will be available in a section on the main concourse and another on the upper concourse.

The $5 cheddar sausage and two styles of chilies, each at $6, help play into the theme of the day. “As you can see, we’re serving up some nice hot dishes that will keep fans toasty and full throughout the game,” Radack said.

For beverages, Levy will add in hot chocolate served in a souvenir cup for $7 (the regular hot chocolate without a souvenir cup is $5). But the biggest change from a typical Notre Dame football game comes in the form of alcohol, something not sold in general areas during college football events at the stadium, although alcohol has been served in premium spaces for three years at football games. It returns to the concourse for the Winter Classic after first being sold stadiumwide during a Garth Brooks concert in October.

To prepare for the change, Levy converted food stands into beer service stations and will work with a distributor to ensure the beer doesn’t freeze, Radack said.

In keeping with Notre Dame football tradition, Radack said, he expects the hot soft pretzel and souvenir hot chocolate to be the biggest sellers at the Winter Classic, keeping in line with football game sales numbers.

  • by Tim Newcomb
  • Published: December 12, 2018