As we predicted back in August, Danny Meyer's Union Square Hospitality Group has announced a deal with Aramark for a concessions contract at Citi Field. Yes, there will be a Shake Shack. Yes, there will be a Blue Smoke. But there will also be a to-be-named taqueria, a Belgian frites operation called Pop Fries, and (a necessity in today’s sports-stadium market) a Sterling Club with a range of high-priced eating options. These will include Sterling Market, “a casual café with classic artisanal comfort foods,” a beer-and-wine bar, a small-plates dining room, a bar and lounge with a view of the field, and waiter service for those moments when you just don’t feel like getting up. It’s a major undertaking, even for Danny Meyer, and we can’t wait to see how it pans out. Of course, we’ll have to get someone with Sterling Club membership to bring us upstairs. Read the complete release, below.
METS AND ARAMARK TEAM UP WITH
DANNY MEYER’S UNION SQUARE HOSPITALITY GROUP
TO CREATE ALL-STAR DINING EXPERIENCE AT CITI FIELD
Unprecedented Partnership Brings “Best-of-Best”
New York Food and Hospitality to New Mets Home Opening in 2009
USHG Brings Blue Smoke and Shake Shack Outposts
Plus Taquería and Frites to Citi Field
FLUSHING, N.Y., July 9, 2008 – The New York Mets and ARAMARK – a world-class leader in professional services and the Mets’ food and beverage provider – today announced an unprecedented partnership with Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group (USHG) to transport its culinary talent and expertise to Citi Field, the new Mets home opening in 2009. Through this collaboration with one of the world’s most renowned restaurant groups, Citi Field will set a new industry standard for the guest dining experience in sports and entertainment venues.
Among the dining choices USHG will offer at Citi Field are the enormously popular Blue Smoke and Shake Shack, as well as two new food concepts – a taquería and a Belgian frites stand. In addition, USHG will provide all food and beverage services at Citi Field's Sterling Club, the premium seating area for 1,600 guests on the Field Level directly behind home plate. Through this collection of innovative dining options, USHG will showcase its award-winning cuisine with unparalleled hospitality at Mets games, non-game day events, and other functions throughout the year at Citi Field.
Citi Field's outfield concourse, accessible to all ticket holders, will feature:
Blue Smoke: the pioneer of urban ’cue, Blue Smoke will offer mouthwatering real pit barbecue (Highlights: Pulled Pork Sandwich and Kansas City Ribs)
Shake Shack: the enormously popular hamburger and hot dog stand that made a splash with its original location in Madison Square Park will griddle up game day favorites (Highlights: ShackBurger and Shack-Cago Dog)
Taquería (name TBD): this new concept will feature authentic tacos
Pop Fries: another new concept for USHG, this frites stand will serve freshly-cut, Belgian-style fries with a variety of dipping sauces
The Sterling Club will feature several different dining options, including:
Sterling Market: this casual cafe will serve classic, artisanal comfort foods
Sterling Beer & Wine Bar: located inside Sterling Market, this venue will offer specialty brews and an extensive selection of wines from around the world, available by the glass or bottle
Sterling Dining Room: reservations required, with limited seating for walk-in guests, will present a small-plates menu ideally suited to game day dining
Sterling Bar & Lounge: offering guests a view of the large outdoor patio and ball field, the bar and lounge will serve specialty cocktails and small bites
Sterling In-Seat Service: waiter service will feature “Best of Ballpark” food from the outfield concourse
“One of our major goals in the development of Citi Field was to create a destination attraction for our fans and our city. Our partnership with Danny and ARAMARK sets out to do that and redefine the paradigm of dining at any sports or entertainment venue in the country,” said Jeff Wilpon, COO, New York Mets. “Danny is a rock star restaurateur and Union Square’s restaurants are uniquely New York and globally renowned. We now have a culinary All-Star at Citi Field as a major pillar of the total entertainment experience throughout our new home.”
“As lifetime baseball fans and longtime Mets season ticket holders, we are incredibly excited to partner with the Mets and ARAMARK at the new Citi Field, and to have the opportunity to offer fans a fresh array of winning food options,” said Danny Meyer, CEO, Union Square Hospitality Group. “What you eat and drink – and how it’s all served – has become a major part of the ballpark experience, and we are eager to contribute as much as we can to why people will love going to Citi Field.”
“Working closely with the Mets, we have created a unique and extraordinary dining experience that will satisfy fans throughout every level of Citi Field,” said Liza Cartmell, Group President, ARAMARK Sports and Entertainment. “By partnering with Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group, Citi Field will showcase the very best of New York’s culinary offerings and provide fans with a wide variety of delicious menu choices and dining formats. We take pride in working with our partners to develop innovative food and beverage solutions and are thrilled to help the Mets make this revolutionary concept a reality.”
Union Square Hospitality Group, which has received a record 19 James Beard Foundation Awards, operates the popular and highly acclaimed New York establishments: Union Square Cafe, Gramercy Tavern, Tabla, Eleven Madison Park, Blue Smoke, Jazz Standard, Shake Shack, The Modern, Cafe 2 and Terrace 5 at the Museum of Modern Art, as well as Hudson Yards Catering. With the announcement of its partnership with the Mets and ARAMARK, USHG also announces the formation of a new division, Hudson Yards Sports & Entertainment. This follows the restaurant’s recent expansion plans of a new Shake Shack on the upper west side and Blue Smoke Chop House in Greenwich, CT.
The Mets and ARAMARK in June 2007 signed a 30-year agreement for food, beverage, and retail merchandise services for Citi Field. ARAMARK – a partner with the Mets since 1995 – will be the exclusive concessionaire managing all concessions, retail stores, kiosks, luxury suites, and clubs for the 42,000-capacity ballpark. Hospitality and culinary strategist John Sergi and his Charlotte, N.C.-based firm helped the Mets and ARAMARK develop this landmark partnership with USHG.
The Mets, in conjunction with their construction partners Hunt-Bovis and HOK, began construction of Citi Field in 2006 in the outfield parking lot between Shea Stadium and 126th Street.