Reporting Sara Pelissero
It may not feel like it, what with 80-degree temperatures this week, but hockey season is upon us. As the Minnesota Wild prepares for its opening night on Thursday, the cooks of Levy Restaurants at the Xcel Energy Center are busy cooking new creations for fans.
Between 15 and 20 new foods will be available to fans in the main concourse and at the club level. On Tuesday, Executive Chef Jason Steidle introduced us to most of them.
“It’s just one of those things,” he said. “You want to continue to get fresh, new ideas in. You don’t want to stay with the same stuff all the time.”
Among the new items, there’s a walleye BLT with tomato jam — adding a new spin to a classic food item that’s been on the menu. There’s a brisket sandwich topped with mac and cheese and fried onions and three new sausages from St. Paul’s Husnik’s Sausage — a chili cheese dog, loon sausage and Reuben sausage. They’ve added a few new burgers — one with onion rings and BBQ sauce (The Cowboy) and the jalapeno and bacon burger.
Steidle said a lot of the new food items came from ideas from his staff — things they’ve enjoyed and meals they make at home. Steidle, who just arrived to our state in March, said he also relied on the locals to help him integrate as much Minnesota-made products into their menu.
“I’m from the Midwest, but maybe I don’t know Minnesota specific,” he said. “So I wanted to know what was local — what’s the local produce, what’s the local apple?”
From meats to cheeses, Steidle said local offerings really inspired and drove the menu, which is mostly available at the main level, with a few items restricted to club level only.
Beyond the new foods and local offerings, a new wine from a very familiar face will also be available this year. Minnesota Wild’s Zenon Konopka is sharing his other passion, wine making, with fans through his brand ZK28 Wines.
Konopka, who grew up on a fruit farm, had always had an interest in wine making and learning about different kinds of wines. When he signed with the Wild, a family friend in Napa offered to help him start his own brand.
Konopka is very involved with the process of his wine and after taking the time to perfect the taste, he was ready to bottle it. Aptly titled “The Wild One,” his varietals of wine will be available to fans in the club level and in select local liquor stores.
For a full gallery of the new offerings this season, click here.