When Steelers fans pack Heinz Field on Sunday for the home opener against the Cincinnati Bengals, it's not just football they will have the opportunity to enjoy. They also will be able to enjoy a wide variety of new items throughout provided by Aramark.
"You get a lot of repeat customers as people don't give away their Steelers tickets, so you have to offer them something different every year," said Scott Walton, Aramark's executive chef at Heinz Field. "It challenges our team to do something different every year, get creative. This year we tried to get back to cooking real classics, doing real food, giving some options. We also tried to cross utilize giving general concession more what we give in the club levels and in the suites."
While the standards of nachos, pretzels and hot dogs will still be on the menu, Aramark is now working with Smith's Hot Dogs out of Erie, Pa., to provide more options. Also on the menu are the Al Pastor Bowl, with pineapple, onions, jalapeno, queso fresco and cilantro, the Pot Roast Potato Stack, with house made pot roast and French fries, the Poutine Burger with pot roast, French fries, gravy and pimento cheese, the Manchester sandwich with slow roasted pork, charred broccoli rabe and provolone, and the Big Porky sandwich with large pork cutlet, sliced hot sausage, mozzarella, peppers and marinara sauce.
"I look to see what we did in the past that worked with the guests," said Walton. "What people wanted fell back to the basics. It was quality and value. That was our idea behind the menu this year and I think we did it pretty well. I think we are going to surprise a lot of people here. They will have to take a look around and see what we did."
A prime stop for fans will be Steelers Hall of Fame running back Franco Harris' place, Franco's Italian Army Gridiron Sausages in the Ford Fan Zone. The stand will offer bratwurst, sweet Italian sausage, kielbasa, chicken sausage and other options.
"The food people at Heinz Field approached me about the idea and I thought this could be great, this could be fun," said Harris. "We gave people a nice assortment. We worked on different recipes and came up with what we have."
One thing you won't see on game day, though, is Harris cooking up the fare.
"There are a lot of people out there that cook a lot better than I do," said Harris. "But I like to eat."