Goodbye, flat beer and stale chips dipped in Day-Glo cheese; hello, barrel-aged Boulevardiers and imported charcuterie sliced to order. T-Mobile Arena’s food-and-beverage architects plan to “knock your shoes off” (the socks are a given).
“When you look at the Food Channel or the Food Network and you see all those beautiful, crazy foods—that’s what we’re doing now for the masses,” says executive chef Garry DeLucia. “All of our food and beverage is basically handcrafted.”
That includes the usual suspects, from burgers, boneless wings and hot dogs to pretzels, pizza and nachos. The burgers, for instance, will never be frozen. Pies range from eNVy’s pesto margherita with fresh herbs to wood-fired classics by the Ferraro’s crew behind Pizza Forte. The signature dog is a Shock Top brat with beer-ified onions and mustard on a fluffy New England-style roll. And the nachos? A local company’s tortilla chips will be fried on-site and topped with queso blanco, tender chipotle-braised pork and “a bunch of goodies.”
Go ahead, pair them with frozen drinks in souvenir cups, because this beverage program is spearheaded by mixology giant Tony Abou-Ganim. He was tapped by the venue’s exclusive F&B provider, Levy Restaurants, and their approach reflects their understanding that an arena vibe can’t be fussy. But like Vegas, T-Mobile Arena appears to be about hitting every spot. So along with elevated standards, expect artisanal ice and lounges devoted to fine tequila and whiskey cocktails, carts for customized poke and banh mi, a barbecue stand smoking meats in-house, a Goose Island craft bar, a grab-n-go for sushi and salads, even a gastropub (DeLucia recommends the duck-fat fries and sandwich of juicy, slow-roasted prime rib). Suites can tap the caviar side of things, whether it’s those prized fish eggs, a secret menu by Shake Shack, a playful dessert cart (think six-layer carrot cake and hand-dipped chocolate liqueur cups) or a one-on-one with Abou-Ganim to personalize the bar. And don’t forget the roving mojito cart and the Punch Girls armed with Champagne and crystal.
It’s the multi-level progressive meal of your dreams, whether you’re into Maine lobster slaw or fluffernutter pie. And if you’re in one of the 28 loge boxes, DeLucia says the deliciousness can come to you. Not in the form of an aisle vendor slinging peanuts—servers with handheld devices and runners making sure you get exactly what you want without missing a second of action.
“We want to create that experience that no one’s gonna get anywhere else, not only in this town but in this country,” says DeLucia, whose team aims to make memories of T-Mobile Arena about more than the headliners. “We’re a living food story.”
Still hungry? Snack on these facts:
Experience is at work.
There’s serious cred behind arena partners Tony Abou-Ganim and Chicago-based Levy Restaurants.
As the “first-ever resident celebrity mixologist” in this setting, Abou-Ganim brings his reputation as one of the foremost bar professionals anywhere (and a local legend). In a press release, he said: “People come from all over the world to experience Las Vegas mixology and dining. We’re bringing that level of precision and hospitality to T-Mobile Arena, giving each guest a Vegas-worthy experience.”
Meanwhile, Levy brings the expertise of an F&B provider working in more than 200 venues around the country, described on the T-Mobile Arena site as “the original disruptor in defining the premium sports and entertainment dining experience.” And executive chef Garry DeLucia is a longtime local with casino experience who comes to the job from the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, where he was executive sous chef for years. With his team of seasoned chefs and Abou-Ganim’s “Bar Chefs,” the goal is maximum wow factor. “We are definitely elevating all these experiences for the guests,” DeLucia says. “We’re just bringing on a whole new game.”
Everything is new.
DeLucia says that not a single piece of equipment is used, from kitchen basics to the point-of-sale systems.
Without sharing exact price points, DeLucia says they’ll be comparable to what you find in other big arenas—that the concepts are meant to be broadly appealing and accessible. “It’s gonna be food that people can eat and enjoy, and they’re gonna be able to afford it.”
From the classic Berkel slicers and specialty sausages exclusive to Levy to the fact that everything possible will be done in-house, this massive Strip entertainment venue sounds a little bit like a neighborhood restaurant. In that vein, it’s partnering with Vegas outfits including Ferraro’s, Shake Shack and a powerhouse chicken place that couldn’t be announced at press time.
The menu really is everyone-friendly.
From gelato to noodle salad to barbacoa to chicken-and-waffle bites to grass-fed filet mignon, there’s a delicious to match any palate here. And the same goes for drinks, domestic beers to Tennessee Highballs to Abou-Ganim’s Atomic Fizz.
The venue echoes the Strip experience.
While the arena is set up to delight all guests, there’s a wide selection of premium options, ranging from club seats and terrace tables to loge or “opera” boxes and luxury and event-level suites—with according views and levels of access to specialty F&B services. “We want you to come see a show here, and we want you to go home and keep talking about it. Not only the concert, the fight, the hockey game; we want you to talk about all the cool concepts we have,” DeLucia says.
Fun is served.
The venue’s hot-doggery will be doling out the occasional freebie at every event; you’ll know it when you see the golden wrapper. And the upper concourse is home to Neon Alley, full of glittering lights, glowsticks and signs aimed at an Old Vegas effect. That’s where you’ll find Abou-Ganim’s Electric Lemonade, and the fantastic blinking souvenir cup. In the best way, this arena embraces where it is.