This past Wednesday, Mercedes-Benz Stadium held an event that gave fans, media and team executives a chance to sample the food that would be available at the new stadium starting in 2017. All of the fifteen restaurant partners, except for Bruster’s Real Ice Cream, were present and brought some great food along with them.
Let’s start with a quick refresher on the partners:
Bruster’s Real Ice Cream
Golden Brown & Delicious
Delia’s Chicken Sausage
Fox Bros Bar-B-Q
Jim N Nick’s
Kevin Gillespie’s Gamechanger
King of Pops
Miss D’s Popcorn
Snackology 101 Market
This really was an event that focused on tasting rather than information, so there was very little time spent listening to someone talking and a lot of time eating, talking with some folks, eating, and…eating. We did learn a couple of interesting things, though.
We all know that MBS refreshments will be extremely cheap, but another piece of good news came when it was announced that the food from restaurant partners would cost the same price it does in their own restaurants—no mark-up will occur just because the food is being served in a brand new stadium.
It was also very clear that Rich McKay and company were dead set on letting fans choose the food they were offered at a game or event in the new stadium, and the results looked how one would expect: they were explicitly and unapologetically Atlanta. Each one of these partners has a history in Atlanta and is synonymous with the city. That was the coolest part of the entire event—the Falcons and Atlanta United are making sure that the fan experience is as good as it can be, and that includes fare that feels like home.
As I said, there was so much food there, I didn’t get to try everything at every restaurant’s station but I definitely got as close as one can without doing so. A couple of the highlights were anything from either one of the Bar-B-Q joints: Fox Bros and Jim N Nick’s both do a phenomenal job with a BBQ sandwich and BBQ chips covered in cheese dip, pulled pork, and pico de gallo, respectively. Antico pizza was a very welcomed surprise, as I had never eaten there before, with their margarita pizza and classic pepperoni pizza. Iberian Pig and Golden Brown & Delicious were also very, very good: Iberian Pig offered pork tacos and a special sort of hotdog, and GB&D had the best corndog I have ever eaten. For real.
As for desert, King of Pops and Sublime Doughnuts came in strong with their classic options. I really wish Bruster’s would have been there, because it would have taken things to an entirely new (unhealthy) level, at that point.
Then, as some healthy/healthier options, Delia’s Chicken Sausage and Snackology 101 Market both offered fresh options as some variety from the typical caveman, gameday food. Snackology, in particular offers vegan, organic, and natural foods for some pretty reasonable pricing.
Speaking of pricing, everything is pretty reasonably priced when you consider that you’re going to be eating them in a setting like Mercedes-Benz Stadium. As we said before, the food will be priced the same as it is in the restaurants’ normal locations.
This and that
Chick-fil-A was a topic of conversation after they were announced as partners with MBS because of their policy of closing on Sundays. There were a lot of questions about the fact that Falcons games will be played on Sundays, primarily, and if the company would make an exception and open on Sundays in the stadium.
Short answer: No.
I spoke with a couple of reps from Chick-fil-A and they said that no matter where a store is, it will not be open on Sundays—no exceptions. As we all know, that fact is something Chick-fil-A takes great pride in.
I spoke with Falcons President Rich McKay for a moment about Chick-fil-A and about the food in general. As it relates to Chick-fil-A, he said that digital signage will be in place so it won’t just be a darkened sign, rather it will be a stand that can either be closed without identifying who it is, or it is another opportunity to use space while it isn’t being used on Sunday’s. McKay stressed the importance of Chick-fil-A in the stadium, though, saying, “You cannot have an Atlanta stadium and not have Chick-fil-A. We had to have them.”
He also mentioned the abundance of other opportunities that the store would have apart from Sundays, including: Atlanta United games, college football and basketball games, concerts, and any other large event—so long as it doesn’t happen on Sunday.
McKay’s quote on Chick-fil-A shows how important the city and its people are to the new stadium and the teams that will be playing there. Every single decision, from restaurant partners to restaurant locations, is made with the fan at the forefront in order to create a truly on-of-a-kind experience at MBS. This stadium will look and feel (and taste) like Atlanta and it will really give fans a phenomenal experience.
If you want to see pictures of the food from the event or any other info that was left out of this article, check out my Twitter account: @kylewmcclendon.