The Green Bay Packers have more than 80,000 names on their waiting list for season tickets. If ever there was a football team that could get away with concession stands that sold nothing but cold hot dogs and instant coffee made from hot tap water, it would be the Pack. What are you going to do, threaten to cancel your season tickets unless they upgrade the food?
The Packers do care intensely about the fan experience at Lambeau Field, though. It’s a point of civic pride for the NFL’s only publicly owned team. The people of Green Bay pride themselves not only on the Packers but on the overall quality of life in Titletown — and they have good reason to be proud.
The food served at Lambeau Field reflects this, and it’s Leo Dominguez’s job to ensure that every Packer fan, from the luxury suite denizens to the average Joe or Jane in the bleachers, can find something good to eat at Lambeau. Dominguez, Levy Restaurants’ executive chef at Lambeau, oversees a staff of 50 chefs and cooks along with an untold number of servers and support personnel. He and his staff feed not only the fans but the media, the stadium staff, the players, and the coaches.
Lambeau Field is a major Wisconsin tourist attraction. With the season ticket wait estimated at more than 900 years, there are a great many Packer fans who have come to accept they will never see a game inside Lambeau. They come anyway, year-round, to shop in the Packers Pro Shop, take the stadium tour, visit the Packers Hall of Fame, or just have their pictures taken by the statues of Vince Lombardi and Earl “Curly” Lambeau. Many of them also stop for a beer and a bite at Curly’s Pub, a year-round restaurant and sports bar located inside the stadium. (Photo courtesy of Levy Restaurants)
Chef Dominguez and I sat down inside Curly’s Pub to discuss what goes into making sure the Packers and their fans get fed — and well. His enthusiasm for his job is palpable and contagious. He described some of the new products offered at Lambeau’s concession stands this year, including a Frickle Burger (a burger topped with cream cheese and deep-fried pickle slices) and the Titletown Pile-Up. When Dominguez first mentioned the latter, I envisioned some of that “tall food” that has been trendy in recent years. I was wrong. The Titletown Pile-Up is six miniature Johnsonville bratwursts dipped in corn dog batter, deep fried, then skewered, and served on a bed of fried cheese curds. That’s Wisconsin for you.
Lambeau is the only NFL stadium that sells more brats than hot dogs, and that shouldn’t surprise you. Dominguez also told me pizza is one of the more popular items at the concession stands though, when he showed me the inside of a typical concession stand, he tapped the handle of a beer tap and said, “Of course, this is our biggest seller.” That’s also Wisconsin for you.
By Mark Hasty