When fans arrive at the Pepsi Center for the start of the upcoming Colorado Avalanche and Denver Nuggets seasons, the players each team has added in the offseason won’t be all that is new there.
The arena will also be offering an entirely revised roster of food options after it switched concessionaires late last month. Pork green chili fries, a bison pastrami melt, and a fried half-chicken with a Spanish twist are among the new locally-focused food items that will now be available.
Legends, the New York-based concessionaire that just recently took over the arena’s concessions from Aramark, will be debuting all-new menus and offerings at almost all of the Pepsi Center’s concession stands beginning with tonight’s Jonas Brothers concert (only the old Marco’s Pizza stands remain).
Legends executive chef James Versfelt, who led the effort to create the arena’s new offerings, says that around 40 percent of the arena’s concession stands will now be dedicated to more traditional arena fare (think hot dogs and popcorn) while the remaining 60 percent will offer more unique items with a focus on local ingredients and celebrating the Denver dining scene.
Each of those new stands, which will all have a location on both the arena’s upper and lower levels, will offer one or more signature items that are directly influenced by the Colorado culinary scene.
PoCo (which is short for Denver Potato Co. in a nod to the nomenclature used to name Denver neighborhoods like RiNo and LoHi) will have the Pork Green Chili fries, while Wyncoop Cripsy Chicken will offer fried chicken that comes with a side of Colorado flair thanks to the addition of patatas bravas and garlic aioli. The other new locally-focused stands include Bristlecone Barbecue, Verde y Rojo Cantina, and the Barrel Burgers and Floats, which pays tribute to the iconic food items mentioned in its name that were both allegedly invented in Denver.
Though the new signature items will be the focus of these stands, each of them will also offer one or two basic arena items such as popcorn and pretzels, as well as items for kids and side dishes or salads.
The arena’s premium offerings have also been retooled thanks to new partnerships with several well-known Denver culinary figures. Jennifer Jasinski, the founder of Rioja, Bistro Vendome and other well-known Denver restaurants, has collaborated with Legends to create new food items that has been ordered as a package in the arena’s suites.
That package includes arena versions of the popular menu items at her restaurants, such as mini lobster rolls that are reminiscent of those at Stoic & Genuine, and a chips and dip dish with a dip consisting of goat cheese and chicken confit that is reminiscent of the chips and dip at Jasinski’s Euclid Hall Bar & Kitchen.
Jasinski also clarified that her role has also involved working as a consultant with Versfelt and the arena’s culinary team to help incorporate ingredients and items from local producers throughout the arena.
Chefs Alex Seidel of Mercantile and Fruition and Keegan Gerhard of the D Bar have also unveiled a new roster of desserts, including macarons and lemon merengue tarts, that will be available in the suites and for purchase from roving carts on club level.
Master Sommelier Bobby Stuckey of Tavernetta and Frasca Food and Wine, meanwhile, will also be overseeing the arena’s wine program and be offering some of his own Frico line of wines at new wine stands called Vine & Tap located on the concourses.
Other new beverage offerings will include wine from Infinite Monkey Theorem and beer from O’Dell Brewing Co. and Breckenridge Brewery.
Though all of the new offerings will debut tonight, Versfelt said it could take until around the Nuggets home opener on October 25 for the rebranding of all of the arena’s food stands to be completed.