Here we are in week 15, and with only two more weeks in the regular season, the playoffs and Super Bowl are fast-approaching. In our own score, we have predicted seven food-based wins, and have suffered four tragic losses. This week, the Green Bay Packers and the Chicago Bears are taking center stage and facing off with their own tasty fare. With both teams’ concessions run by Sportservice, let’s see who takes this week’s gastronomic title.
Green Bay’s Lambeau Field, located in Green Bay, Wis., is the oldest NFL stadium still in operation, according to the Packers organization. With its latest renovations completed in 2003, the stadium now seats around 73,000, and the field, installed in 2007, is made of root-zone sand and Kentucky blue grass with a heating system to keep the ground from freezing during brutal Wisconsin winters. But now, onto the food.
The Lambeau Heap at Lambeau Field. Photo courtesy of Sportservice.
Food at Lambeau Field cannot be discussed without first mentioning Curly’s Pub. Named after Curly Lambeau (like the field itself), the first head coach and team leader of the Green Bay Packers, the bar/restaurant nearly spans the length of the football field. The best part about Curly's is that during home games it's open ONLY to ticket-holders, meaning its offerings count for this week’s food matchup. At Curly’s, "The Lambeau Heap" is the main attraction. It is a 1-pound barbecue garlic bacon curd burger, piled high with fried onion strings and creamy coleslaw on a pretzel roll and served with waffle fries and yet more coleslaw. In the "Fan vs. Food Combo", any fan who finishes the giant burger, as well as an order of fries and a milkshake, receives a T-shirt that reads "I survived The Lambeau Heap."
Lambeau Field's Pack 'n Cheese. Photo courtesy of Sportservice.
Other unique items at the stadium include "Pac 'n Cheese," homemade macaroni and cheese that is topped with Buffalo chicken, chili, or diced bratwurst; Wisconsin Nachos, waffle fries topped with diced bacon, nacho cheese, sour cream, and chives; the Packer Pride, a foot-long brat, split open and stuffed with a hot dog (what?!), and then wrapped in bacon; and hand-breaded cheese curds.
Hand-breaded, fried cheese curds at Lambeau Field. Photo courtesy of Sportservice.
The cheese curds also take a spot on the most-popular list, along with the foot-long hot dogs and brats, grilled fresh and topped with sautéed onions or sauerkraut. Other popular stadium partnerships include Johnsonville Brats and DiGiorno Pizza
Healthier options at the stadium include the veggie and turkey burgers, as well as a selection of gluten-free hot dogs, beef brisket, and barbecue pork.
Packers fan? Check out our Green Bay Packers Margarita Recipe.
The Chicago Bears’ Soldier Field is located in Chicago (shocking, we know). With the seating capacity at just more than 61,500, it is the smallest stadium in the NFL, and although they installed AstroTurf in 1971, they switched back to natural grass in 1988. The most recent renovations in 2003 brought fans three times as many concession stands and two times as many restrooms. Now, let’s see what they serve.
Soldier Field's smoked pulled pork sandwich. Photo courtesy of Sportservice.
Popular stadium items include the smoked pulled pork sandwich, which uses pork from the Illinois Pork Producers Association that is smoked for 18 hours by the in-house barbecue team and pulled fresh the morning of the game; the prime rib sandwich, served on freshly baked focaccia bread; items from the BBQ End Zone, which serves a variety of classic barbecue entrées in a restaurant-meets-stadium environment; smoked turkey legs (that are also gluten-free); and the Italian combo sandwich, with Bobak’s Italian sausage and Vienna Italian beef.
Major stadium partnerships include Bobak Sausage Company, Vienna Beef, Eli’s Cheesecake, Prairie Farms, Nuts on Clark, Robinson’s Ribs, Mike Ditka products (bloody mary bar and wine bars), and Lezza’s Desserts.
Soldier Field's gluten free salad bar. Photo courtesy of Sportservice.
Healthier stadium options include the vegetarian and gluten-free salad bar; the hot cereal and oatmeal bar with dried fruits, fresh fruits, nuts, and other toppings (also vegetarian and gluten-free); veggie burgers; gluten-free chili; the gluten-free Build Your Own Nacho Bar; gluten-free nachos; the vegetarian and gluten-free Asian station; the gluten-free fried chicken dinner, served with gluten-free mashed potatoes and gravy; and gluten-free Red Bridge beer.
The stadium donates all unused products to the local Salvation Army to help feed the homeless. The stadium has also eliminated the use of all Styrofoam containers and cups, and keeps all cardboard and cans separate for recycling purposes.
While Chicago's tradition and history is compelling, and there’s something to be said for being the smallest stadium with the biggest gluten-free menu we’ve seen thus far, we’re going to have to name Green Bay the winner in this matchup. From Curly’s "Fan vs. Food" challenge to the Pac and Cheese, our taste buds were won over. Let’s see who takes the actual win. Tune in this Sunday at 1 p.m.
Look out for our coverage on week 16, featuring the stadium food face-off between the Buffalo Bills and the Miami Dolphins.
Tyler Sullivan is The Daily Meal's assistant editor. Follow her on twitter @atylersullivan.