WASHINGTON – Audi Field, D.C. United’s gleaming new home on Buzzard Point in Southwest Water Front, opens on Saturday evening when United welcome the Vancouver Whitecaps (8 pm ET | TSN – Full TV and streaming info).
The stadium has a laundry list of amenities: a host of luxury suites, club areas, a LEED Gold certification and some seating areas are a mere eight feet from the pitch. A prime source of enthusiasm for many fans, however, is the food. Simply put, it looks ridiculously good.
Here are five reasons to get excited about your dining options at Audi Field:
Jose Andrés has brought his A-game to Audi Field
Audi Field's gambas al ajillo | Pablo Maurer
Andrés is a local institution, a widely-beloved chef, humanitarian and soccer fan who’s partnered with Chicago-based Levy Restaurants on a host of offerings throughout the stadium. From Spanish favorites like gambas al ajillo – sautéed shrimp with garlic – to traditional Mexican street fare, Andrés' flavorful offerings are sure to please.
Want to get real fancy? Try the Iberico de bellota mini hamburguesas. The chef describes the item as “pork from acorn-fed black-footed pigs of Spain topped with confit piquillo peppers, caramelized onions, piparra peppers and alioli on a mini-brioche bun.” This is not your average stadium food.
There’s plenty of local flavor
Audi Field's "Summer Breeze" pizza | Pablo Maurer
Levy’s executive chef Adam Carter has curated a selection of local favorites from throughout the mid-Atlantic. Want to sample a bit of D.C.? There’s no food item more closely-tied to the District than a half-smoke, a half-beef/half-pork sausage drenched in chili, onions and mustard.
It’s the ultimate comfort food, and available at Audi Field’s “District Dog Co.” Neighboring Maryland is strongly represented as well. Yes, you can get crab cakes – or a crab pretzel – at United’s new home.
Even something as basic as a hamburger gets a local touch – Carter has crafted a “double-smoked burger” using locally-source prime beef, smoked bacon jam and smoked cheddar cheese.
One word: pupusas
Okay, maybe two: pupusas and arepas. D.C. is richly multicultural and counts among its residents a large contingent of Salvadorans and Hondurans. Pupusas – wonderfully thick, filling corn tortillas typically stuffed with savory goodness like cheese and/or pork – have long been a local staple.
Fans of United long enjoyed them at RFK and were truly relieved when Jose Andrés himself took to Twitter to announce that they’d be making the jump to Audi Field. What’s more, they’ll even be made by the same local family.
As if that’s not enough, local Venezuelan chain Arepa Zone will also have a presence at the stadium, serving up their own variety of Latin American treats.
There’s plenty of options to quench your thirst
Andrés is also handling some beverage options and will be offering delicious craft cocktails throughout the stadium. On tap, “The Crossbar Beer Garden” will have a plethora of options, including offerings from three local breweries.
There’s wine, too – chardonnay, rosé and cabernet sauvignon – served out of a system that the club says will ensure the perfect pour and temperature. And if you’re hankering for something non-alcoholic, you can score a souvenir cup and refill it at will at any of the stadium’s self-serve soda fountains.
You won’t have to wait forever to get any of this
Audi Field tacos | Pablo Maurer
Levy worked closely with the club during construction to ensure a quality customer experience and help eliminate the lengthy waits present at many sporting events.
“We essentially had control of the concession stands and the way they were laid out,” Carter said on Thursday evening. “So we definitely built our concessions stands and our menus on the speed of service initiative. The back of our concession stands basically goes prep, cook, fulfill. So nobody has to move. It’s laid out and it’s quick.
“It’s like restaurant service – it’s thought out perfectly. I think it’s gonna be revolutionary what we’re doing here. It’s going to be trend-setting.”