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.