Stadium Food Power Rankings: Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Carolina Panthers
Today on The Daily Meal
- Stadium Food Power Rankings: Green Bay Packers vs. Chicago Bears
- Stadium Food Power Rankings: Denver Broncos vs. Cincinnati Bengals
- Stadium Food Power Rankings: Atlanta Falcons vs. New Orleans Saints
- Stadium Food Power Rankings: Detroit Lions vs. Minnesota Vikings
- Stadium Food Power Rankings: San Francisco 49ers vs. St. Louis Rams
This week in the NFL, and in our stadium food matchup series, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Carolina Panthers are battling for the win. The stadiums, Raymond James Stadium and Bank of America Stadium, are run by two different hospitality companies. Levy Restaurants, winner of last week’s food matchup for their offerings at the Detroit Lions' Ford Field, runs the food selections at this week’s contender, Raymond James Stadium (home to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers). The concessions at Bank of America Stadium, home to the Carolina Panthers, are run by Delaware North Companies Sportservice, a newcomer to our Stadium Food series. We’ve seen what Levy can do, but what about Sportservice (who is also going to be featured in our Thanksgiving Day matchup, with the New England Patriots and the New York Jets)? We are intrigued… who will take the win this week?
Tampa Bay’s Raymond James Stadium is often referred to as the "crown jewel" of the NFL, as members of the NFL Players Association have consistently ranked it as among the best in the league. The stadium has been home to two Super Bowls, and features a pirate ship located in Buccaneer Cove (its cannons sound after each Buccaneer touchdown or field goal) created by the same company in charge of producing props for Walt Disney World. Raymond James Stadium is also the first sports stadium to show images through HDTV. The video boards themselves measure 24 feet tall by 92 feet wide, larger than conventional NFL scoring systems, and are a main attraction for Buccaneer fans. Impressive stuff.
The Starboard Steak Melt at Raymond James Stadium. Photo courtesy of Levy Restaurants.
Food offerings at Raymond James Stadium include popular items such as the Starboard Steak Melt, with marinated steak, caramelized onions, homemade steak sauce, and beer cheese spread, served on telera bread; the Buccaneer Beer cheeseburger, served with iceberg lettuce, sliced tomato, homemade beer cheese spread, and caramelized onions; the Pressed Cuban Sandwich, served with ham, roasted pork and salami, Swiss cheese, dill pickle, and Dijonaise; and the Grilled Buffalo Chicken Sandwich with iceberg lettuce, sliced tomato, sliced pickles, Buffalo sauce, and blue cheese. Other unique items are fan-favorites such as the Thai Chili Burger, a fresh-ground Niman Ranch pork and beef burger blended with onions, lemon grass, and ginger, served with tangy Asian slaw on a Hawaiian bun; and the Buc N Ear, an ear of fresh grilled sweet corn served with warm butter.
The Buccaneer Beer Cheeseburger at Raymond James Stadium. Photo courtesy of Levy Restaurants.
Levy Restaurants doesn’t forget its vegetarian and vegan fans, offering a veggie burger, a homemade black bean and brown rice patty served with iceberg lettuce, sliced tomato, Cheddar cheese, and Levy's signature BBQ sauce on a whole-wheat bun; as well as the previously featured Sloppy Jane from last week’s matchups — a variation of the "Sloppy Joe," made of tempeh, peppers, and onions, and topped with a molasses and brown sugar barbecue sauce.
Raymond James Stadium's Buc N Ear. Photo courtesy of Levy Restaurants.
The Carolina Panthers’ Bank of America Stadium sits on 33 acres in uptown Charlotte, N.C. Built in 1996, the stadium holds more than 73,000 seats, and is an open-air, natural grass stadium that also houses training facilities and practice fields for the Carolina Panthers. Arches and towers at the entries are unique to Bank of America Stadium, and all feature the team colors of black, silver, and Panthers blue. Concession stands are more plentiful here than most stadiums, providing a stand for every 171 customers, versus the standard one stand per 350 customers; and restroom facilities mimic a similar desirable ratio.
Bank of America Stadium's barbecue offerings. Photo courtesy of JJR BBQ Shack.
Food at Bank of America Stadium is dominated by barbecue, or more specifically "The King of the Q," JJR BBQ Shack. The Shack serves pulled pork barbecue and beef brisket barbecue sandwiches, which both come with coleslaw and your choice of tomato, mustard, or vinegar sauce. Extras at the BBQ Shack locations include chips, peanuts, Brunswick stew, hush puppies, pecan tarts, and banana pudding. Carolina Nacho Co., another creation from JJR BBQ Shack, brings barbecue flavors to both nachos and tacos with their JJR BBQ Pork Nachos and JJR BBQ Pork Tacos. Other options at the stadium include coffee drinks from Panthers Perk and boiled peanuts.
Hush Puppies from JJR BBQ Shack at Bank of America Stadium. Photo courtesy of JJR BBQ Shack.
So who wins the food battle in this week’s Southern matchup? It was almost too close to call. While Carolina's BBQ impressed, Tampa had the edge in terms of selection. Additional points for stadium flair and variety led to Tampa taking the crown this week. But what will the game's score be? Find your answer Sunday, Nov. 18 at 1p.m.
Tune in next week for our Thanksgiving Day matchup between the New England Patriots and the New York Jets.
Tyler Sullivan is the Assistant Editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @atylersullivan
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