As the shiny new Climate Pledge Arena gets ready for its October 2021 opening, the food and drinks lineup is starting to come into focus. Among the newly announced vendors for the sports and concerts venue are: Din Tai Fung (the hugely popular dumpling house); local burger favorite Lil Woody’s; steakhouse mainstay Metropolitan Grill (part of the E3 restaurant group); Ethan Stowell’s pie joint Ballard Pizza, lunch bowl chain Just Poke, and Oregon-based brewery Hop Valley.
In February 2020, design renderings teased a few possible food and beverage areas inside the arena. But up until this point, it was unclear which hospitality businesses would be partnering with the new home for the Seattle Storm and the NHL’s Kraken. So far, it looks like the arena is playing fairly safe when it comes to the range of third-party food options geared toward sports fans, leaning into burgers, beer, and pizza.
Ballard Pizza Company, Lil Woody’s, and Din Tai already have presences at T-Mobile Park, while Hop Valley should provide a range seasonal IPAs, lagers, and porters. Meanwhile, the Metropolitan Grill will be a sit-down service restaurant in the premium section. More vendors will be announced in the coming weeks and months (hopefully that includes some Washington-based breweries, or any of our own suggestions).
The arena bills the food and beverage program as “the Climate Collective,” and it aims to source 75 percent of all ingredients within 300 miles, in keeping with the venue’s carbon neutral ambitions. Running the entire food operation for Climate Pledge is executive chef, Molly D. De Mers, who previously ran the kitchen at the Seattle Aquarium. She’ll be the first female executive chef to open a major sports arena, and she tells Eater Seattle that the goal is to provide a dining experience that “walks the walk” when it comes to the Climate Pledge’s environmentally conscious goals.
De Mers says the main conundrum was, “How do we do sustainability at a large scale?” In that respect, she’s currently working with farms and other local purveyors with that question top of mind, right down to the bulk ketchup and mustard at the concessions.
There will also be plenty of non-meat alternatives throughout the arena, along with fresh produce. In fact, De Mers claims Climate Pledge will have the most plant-based options of any arena in the U.S. And when meat is available on menus, she notes that it will still be done with mindfulness to ecosystem impact. “Every person is getting vetted,” she says.
- Climate Pledge Arena [Official]