There’s a new trend sweeping across the major sports stadiums of America. Stadium goers that have endured decades of plain hot dogs and stale soda are finally being treated to proper culinary fare. Who is leading this culinary movement? It is a food and beverage corporation, Centerplate, advocating for traditional, local, and iconic fare across sports venues.
Take Miami’s own Hard Rock Stadium for example. Best known as the home of the Miami Dolphins, it also houses the University of Miami football team, the Orange Bowl, international soccer and many other events like concerts by major artists like The Eagles, Taylor Swift, and Beyonce. As it has elevated its status as a year-round, global entertainment destination, the venue is also hosting the Peru-Croatia soccer match this week, and will be the new home of the Miami Open tennis tournament, beginning in 2019. Thanks to the exclusive hospitality services from Centerplate, and its extraordinary culinary program, the event experience in this stadium has been transformed from the basic burgers, hot dogs, and fries fare to a five star experience that would make any gastronomist swoon.
And it’s not just great food on offer. Artisanal and craft beers have been added to the stadium’s features. Stephen Ross, the Dolphin’s owner, has invested over $500 million dollars in renovations and upgrades. Some of the most significant upgrades are in the culinary area, with Centerplate introducing many Florida-inspired edible options. All of these innovations put Hard Rock Stadium at the forefront of a nationwide movement that eschews the kitsch-heavy fare of stadiums past, and instead moves toward a more gourmet, local, and on-trend kind of dining experience with options for every taste under the sun.
Inspired by Miami’s authentic street food culture, Coyo Taco has two locations in the stadium. Scott Linquist and his team offer five varieties of tacos, burritos and burritos bowls, elote de calle and paletas.
If breakfast food is your jam,’s one location serves up all-day breakfast fare such as pancakes, TKO sandwiches, BLT sandwiches, and classic breakfast drinks from mimosas to bellinis to coffee.
With two locations, retired NBA star Ray Allen’s wife Shannon Allen’s restaurant , Grown, is the first completely 100% certified organic restaurant within a sports stadium. From Mediterranean wraps to Havana wraps to salads, wild salmon burger, grass-fed and slow-cooked brisket, organic free range rotisserie chicken, wild caught grilled salmon, organic free-range panko chicken tenders and many fresh juices, Grown is fresh, healthy, and organic.
Celebrity chef David Chang’s famous fried chicken joint, Fuku, has set up shop in two locations offering up the classic spicy Fuku fried chicken sandwich, Fuku fingers and fries, and the super popular Fuku peach margarita slushie.
Miami’s legendary Jackson Soul Food has established a beachhead in the home of the Dolphins with its signature collard greens, baked mac and cheese, and Southern fried wings (with honey barbecue or buffalo sauce), barbecue ribs, fried conch.
Sushi Maki showcases signature items like sushi tacos and the fifty roll.
Los Ranchos steakhouse offers up its famous charbroiled tenderloin steak with chimichurri, marinated chicken, and queso frito bites in one location. Shorty’s BBQ features its celebrated Texas-style BBQ hickory-smoked brisket, classic pulled pork, and creamy coleslaw that Miamians have come to love.
Last but not least, Shula Burger boasts five locations. Named after legendary NFL coach Don Shula, these fan-favorite burgers are made out of combinations of Premium Black Angus Beef, Short Rib and Brisket.
In 2014, the stadium had just 16 branded concepts. By this year, that number has more than doubled to 38. If all of this isn’t enough, Hard Rock Stadium now features over 50 beers including 18 local flavors. While Hard Rock Stadium still has a long-lasting and profitable partnership with Anheuser Busch, the addition of these upscale and local beers as options means more diverse offerings, sure to appeal to the beer traditionalist and the beer connoisseur alike.
Florida-specific crafts brands include Florida Beer Co., Orange Blossom Brewing Co., Coppertail Brewing Co., Saltwater Brewery, Barrel of Monks Brewery, Wynwood Brewing Company, Tequesta Brewing Company, Cigar City Brewing, Green Bench Brewing Co., Due South Brewing Co., and MIA Beer Company. Many of the local crafts are on offer at the stadium’s two modern Tap Rooms. The Tap Rooms also feature seasonal craft options that rotate throughout the seasons as well as two gluten-free beer options. In total, the stadium has almost 1,100 taps. 25% of these offer craft options. The significance of this is that, with so many taps, Hard Rock Stadium has one of the highest points of distribution of any major stadium. This means that the wait time for beer is significantly lower than many other sports venues. With all of these food and drink options, it’s never been easier to enjoy a concert or sporting experience at Hard Rock Stadium. You might even forget all about the music or the score!
The various Miami-inspired and diverse options will provide food and drink for the large crowds, but Centerplate can also cater to the few, or even the couple! In May of 2017 – a loving couple who are massive fans of the Dolphins – got married on the football field. Their wedding reception, catered by Centerplate, was held in one of Hard Rock Stadium’s private clubs and featured pastries and decorations with a Miami Dolphins theme.
As food and drink options transform, so do the opportunities for exciting and innovative happenings such as this special wedding; they can happen 365 days of the year. As a result of the aforementioned $500 million renovation, the stadium now has 14 distinct areas where upscale events can be held.
Centerplate’s head chef is Dayanny De la Cruz. Born and raised in the Dominican Republic, this mother of three is a veteran chef who used to cook at Brooklyn’s Barclay Center and was the Head Chef for the Miami Heat, is in charge of the menu for 5 full service kitchens, 8 premium clubs (perfect for wedding receptions and company functions), and 167 luxury suites. All of these concessions, kitchens, clubs, and suites are sure to be put to maximum use when Miami hosts the 2020 Super Bowl.