U.S. Open is about Food, Spirits and Tennis

After a preview tasting of some of the new offerings and more than two weeks of eating many other items, I think I’m well-qualified to talk about what there is to eat and drink at the U.S. Open.

I know it’s supposed to be about the biggest sporting event in the United States, and you will never get me to say tennis isn’t important, but attending the U.S. Open is about the entire experience.  The experience here is about “cooks” like Executive Chef Mike Lockard, Spiaggia Chef Tony Mantuano, Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto, Border Grill Chef Susan Feniger, Carmen the Restaurant Chef Carmen Gonzalez, RM Seafood Chef Rick Moonen and New York’s infamous Jonathan Waxman, winner of the 2010 US Open Master Chef Charity Competition.

The new chefs and additional offerings by Levy Restaurants have transferred into some great dishes.  The South Plaza Café, which still offers the great Panini’s, now also has an assortment of other menu items.  I hear (I’m allergic so I didn’t try it) the Lobster Roll is delicious and the Pulled Pork Sandwich with mango slaw is great, if you like a little spice.  I was also impressed with the pulled pork and other barbecue choices in the new Southern BBQ place in the food court. 

One big addition to the Food Court at the Open has been the Stonyfield Farm.  I can’t say enough about this concession (especially since they are also supplying the press room) that offers healthy sandwiches, yogurt (frozen and in parfaits) and even a delicious Gazpacho Soup.  Also in the healthy offerings – and who would have ever qualified Ben & Jerry’s as healthy(?) --  one of America’s favorite ice cream brands has added a selection of smoothies that are fat free or low fat, many of which are under 250 calories (I tried one each day during the first week’s heat wave).

If you want to head into a restaurant, but don’t want to break the bank, I’d suggest the new Patio Café.  There wasn’t even a wait when I was there for a delicious, reasonably priced Chicken Pesto Sandwich that came with cold water (and your choice of drinks) and waiter service.  ACES, now serving sushi, Champions and the Open Club are still around with some new menu items, and the Mojito Restaurant & Bar has added a Squash Blossom Quesadilla to their menu.

While you are checking out some of the new food and drinks, don’t forget about some of the great offerings that have been at the Open for years.  I’m a big fan of the Chicken Tacos at Fresca Mexicana, which are a bargain since they give you enough meat and tortillas for four tacos.  Inside of Louie Armstrong Stadium, you will find a stand filled with stuffed pretzels (cream cheese is incredible).  The Cuppa Spotta has always had fresh fruit available and a fruit and nut bar that is quite satisfying.   And you can never go wrong with the New Dehli Spice Café.

Drinks are available for every taste at the Open.  The Heineken Red Star Café has beer cocktails and frozen drinks.  The Wine Bars have a selection of offerings (and even offer small plates of food this year).  And last, but certainly not least, the Grey Goose booths (located throughout the grounds) and Grey Goose Bar are still serving their very popular U.S. Open Signature Drink , the Honey Deuce-Grey Goose Vodka, lemonade and Chambord  raspberry liqueur, topped with frozen honeydew melon balls.  

If you are looking for some place to stay cool and quench your thirst at the same time, there are two more options.  The new Heineken Lounge by the main entrance not only offers beer, but also has great couches and Belgium waffles.  The Overlook is a “over” the food court in 2010.  This area, sponsored by the new Cosmopolitan Las Vegas Hotel, has a full bar and a menu of food.

Tickets are still available for the U.S. Open so you can taste and watch it for yourself.  If you can’t get there this year, be sure to put it on your schedule for 2011 – whether it’s for the food, the drink, the tennis, or all three.


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