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Omaha Magazine

Creative Concessions

Jan 08, 2016 04:10PM ● By Daisy Hutzell-Rodman

When visiting Century Link Center to cheer on Creighton’s Jays, marvel at Terence Crawford’s muscle, behold Olympic swim trial backstrokes, or sing along to Janet, Taylor, Ozzy, and Elton’s every lyric, gourmet food often isn’t on your dancecard for the evening.

It soon might be. Levy Restaurants’ latest menu makes dining at the C-Link less afterthought and more main event.

Creative-Concessions-3Sure, the arena offers chicken fingers and popcorn, but customers will also find unique artisan eats. Brad Howard, assistant director of operations for Levy Restaurants in Omaha, wants folks to skip the pre-show restaurant rush. 

“We want to make it a destination, where people plan to eat here at a game or concert. We see each stand as a mini-restaurant, not a concessions concept,” says Howard, whose team re-envisions the menu annually and continually adjusts based on requests and item reception.

New items include bruschetta fries, hot medium-cut fries under a cold blend of fresh tomatoes and herbs, perfectly balanced pesto, and balsamic reduction drizzle. This pairs well with the meatball sub, meatballs made from both beef and pork served on a sturdy bun with provolone and marinara, dusted with parmesan and herbs.

“We’re excited to offer more fresh, from-scratch items. We’re all about incorporating a restaurant mentality into the concession world,” says Sous Chef Darren Hill, adding they’ve worked to ensure the menu’s homemade aspect doesn’t slow production, allowing customers a quick return to their seats.

Most items, including sauces, are housemade. All the burgers are hand-pattied.

The whiskey barbecue burger stands out. A potato bun houses a half-pound Omaha Steaks burger topped with cheddar, bacon, caramelized onion, and whiskey-barbecue sauce. A turkey burger infused with basil and mozzarella comes with roasted red peppers and smoked aioli. These are both crowned with a pepper and served with fries.

Creative-Concessions-`The brisket waffle fries resemble high-class poutine. Nicely crisped waffle fries are topped with cheddar-barbecue sauce, house-smoked brisket, pico de gallo, and barbecue-crema drizzle. The pico provides these cheese fries with freshness, and the brisket provides substance that impressively renders this popular snack into a well-rounded meal.       

An oblong-shaped flatbread pizza comes in margherita or a combination with pepperoni and sausage on it, each with marinara on crisp baked-in-house flatbread brushed with herb-infused oil.   

Alongside reuben and turkey reuben sandwiches are reuben fritters: corned beef, sauerkraut, and cheese breaded with rye and panko bread crumbs, served with a side of Thousand Island and an order of chips.

The blueberry brat is a continued 2014 item—a Stoysich blueberry bratwurst served with fresh jalapeno and savory/sweet maple-bacon jam. One needn’t be a Bluejays fan to enjoy this local-focused gem. 

Adult beer floats are as awesome as they sound: Two scoops of vanilla afloat in a choice of Guinness, Lindeman’s Raspberry Lambic, Root Cellars’ Alcoholic Root Beer, Green Flash Double Stout, or Brickway Chocolate Coffee Stout. Floats are joined by three adult sundaes: s’mores, Guinness-brownie, and chocolate mint avalanche.

These and other delicious dishes may have people indiscriminately buying tickets to whatever, just to indulge in the food. Bon appetit, arena-goers! Encounter

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