Here we are in week 10 of the NFL season, and the Detroit Lions and the Minnesota Vikings are going to head to head. With Centerplate (thus far, a resounding matchup winner) and Levy Restaurants (newcomer to our stadium food power rankings) running concessions at the stadiums, there are high stakes for this competition.
The home of the Detroit Lions is Ford Field (Levy Restaurants' client), situated on 25 acres in downtown Detroit. The indoor stadium regularly seats from 65,000 to 70,000 and was opened in the fall of 2002, featuring a mostly glass dome and a turf field. Paying homage to Detroit's pride and history, the construction incorporates six stories of the former Hudson's Warehouse, a 1920s structure that now houses much of the stadiums food courts and restaurants.
Ford Field’s new Farm to Fork menu (via their Farm to Fork program) may be hard to beat in this week’s stadium food ranking matchup. Bringing Michigan produce, grass-fed beef, and locally farmed shrimp into the food arena, the program adds a "taste of Detroit" to the stadium and allows local businesses, vendors, and fans to be a part of not only the consumption, but of the production as well. Local farm partners include Dearborn Sausage Company, Detroit Brewing Company, Germack Nuts, Traffic Jam and Snug, Guernsey Dairy, Gass Centennial Farm, Grassfields Cheese, and Sunrise Poultry.
Ford Field's Faygo Rock and Rye BBQ Beef Brisket Sandwich. Photo courtesy of Levy Restaurants.
There are also new Detroit-themed items on the stadium’s menu, featured in the new Bud Light Party Zone. Among these are the Faygo Rock and Rye BBQ Beef Brisket Sandwich, with beef brisket braised in Detroit’s famous Faygo Rock & Rye pop (the Michigan word for soda), which is then smoked for 12 hours and piled with creamy coleslaw on an onion Kaiser roll. The Touchdown Link Hot Dog, the all-new, official hot dog of the Detroit Lions, features an all-beef hot dog from Dearborn Sausage Company. Finally, the Lions Honolulu Blue Burger features an 8-ounce handmade burger that is stuffed with blue cheese and topped with applewood-smoked bacon and served on a brioche bun. Salivating yet?
Mall of America Field, home to the Minnesota Vikings, has a bit more age to it than the newer Lions fortress. Built in 1982, the stadium also features a field turf, and uses 10 acres of Teflon-coated fiberglass held aloft by 20 electric fans for the roofing structure. The seating capacity sits at just less than 65,000.
The Vikings’ Mall of America Field has a few surprises up its sleeves in terms of food offerings at the stadium. Apart from unique options like the deep-fried cheese curds, Mall of America Field also offers half-pound hot dogs and bratwursts that can be served "Chicago style." The Norseman Nacho, a Viking-sized treat, fills a 64-ounce Viking souvenir bucket with tortilla chips, taco meat, cheese, diced tomatoes, jalapeños, black olives, shredded lettuce, sour cream, and salsa. Jalapeño cheese brats, 7-ounce Bavarian soft pretzels, and open pit barbecue sandwich platters served with chips also top the eating list. The Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich and the Quarterback Dog, a 4/1 all-beef hot dog, are also among the fan favorites.
Mall of America FIeld's "Chicago style" hot dog. Photo courtesy of Centerplate.
Centerplate continues to offer "Snack Smart" snack packs at each of its stadiums, as healthy-minded options for both adults and children. Made-to-order Caesar salads served with a choice of sliced sirloin beef or sliced roast turkey, as well as hand-carved sirloin beef or roasted turkey sandwiches served with side Caesar salads and either a multigrain or white butter-infused bun are available for the calorie-minded meat eater or gluten-free selector. All hot dogs and sausages are also gluten-free, and veggie burgers are offered for vegetarian fans.
Despite the competition in this matchup, we’re declaring Detroit the winner, hands down. Although the cheese curds and Viking-sized nachos are enticing, the farm-to-fork options at Ford Field have us vying for a chance to do some taste-testing. We're already dreaming about the Faygo brisket sandwich, not to mention the burger stuffed with cheese?!
Tyler Sullivan is The Daily Meal's assistant editor. Follow her on twitter @atylersullivan.