The NBA regular season kicks off tonight and basketball fans nationwide are returning to watch their home courts. For most vegan fans, that means eating before the game, but plant-based Minnesota Timberwolves fans are in luck: The Target Center in Minneapolis is getting a new menu. This week, the Timberwolves and Wicked Kitchen announced a partnership dedicated to delivering tasty vegan concessions to basketball fans all season long.
“Wicked Kitchen is a wonderful addition to our concession lineup at Target Center, providing delicious and approachable plant-based options for our fans,” Ryan Tanke, Chief Operating Officer of Minnesota Timberwolves and Lynx said. “A gourmet and chef-driven offering, there is something for everyone from Wicked’s sandwiches to ice cream. We are so excited to introduce Wicked Kitchen to Timberwolves fans this season.”
Vegan Concessions at Timberwolves Games
Wicked Kitchen’s concession stand marks the company’s first foray into the sports industry. The concession stand offers a selection of elevated gameday classics that remove all meat and dairy products typically included in gameday fare. The products will also be served in the Club Level and VIP Lounge of the stadium.
“It’s an honor to provide our hometown team with a Wicked experience that fans will love and crave,” Pete Speranza, CEO of Wicked Kitchen, said. “We know our foods will quickly be fan favorites and on par with the amazing team this year. More and more players are moving to eating plant-based, and we want to give the fans the same opportunity.”
Speranza noted that the brand expects to team up with more sports teams globally following its inaugural concession stand with the Timberwolves. The company aims to help provide healthier food choices while also lowering the environmental footprint of these sports stadiums.
“There’s no better way to show mainstream America that animal-free foods are super tasty, satisfying, and comforting than by serving them up in a basketball stadium in the middle of the country,” Speranza said. “We are thrilled for our global brand to show up loud and proud right here in our hometown to meet the demand for plant-based foods that appeal to everyone.”
The company will also introduce a plant-based ice cream cart at the Target Center. The cart will offer the first-to-the-market ice cream novelties, featuring ingredients such as the lupini bean. The ice creams can be purchased at the cart and at three other locations around the stadium.
Wicked Kitchen’s Vegan Menu at Target Center
Chef Chad Sarno, the Chief Culinary Officer and co-founder of Wicked Kitchen designed the new plant-based menu and will oversee the concessions during the season. Timberwolves fans will have the chance to try several plant-based specialties, including Brats and ice cream novelties.
“With this menu, we pushed the boundaries of traditional game day favorites for bold-flavored offerings that are good for the planet and free from animals,” Sarno said. “We are offering the best sporting arena concession items in the country and upping the game with additions such as our harissa mayo on bratwurst, our secret sauce and gouda on the burger, and our Nana’s red sauce to our meatball sub, all vegan.”
- Grilled Chorizo Brat: Bratwurst served with spicy harissa mayo, sautéed peppers, and onions, complete with crisp shaved lettuce on a sub roll.
- Jalapeño Gouda Burger: A juicy jalapeño patty topped with melted vegan gouda cheese, crisp lettuce, vine-ripened tomato, sliced onion, and coated with creamy, zesty Wicked burger sauce.
- Meatball Sub: Italian seasoned meatballs coated in Wicked’s famous Nana’s red sauce and completed with parmesan on a garlic-butter sub roll.
Ice Cream Novelties:
- Berry White Stick: Vanilla ice cream with a raspberry swirl dipped in white vegan chocolate.
- Chocolate & Almond Stick: Vanilla ice cream with toasted almond dipped in milk chocolate.
- Chocolate & Red Berry Cone: Chocolate ice cream, red berry sauce, and chocolate chips served in a gluten-free cone.
Sports Fans Nationwide Get More Vegan Options
While this is Wicked Kitchen’s first partnership with a sports stadium, several brands have teamed up with sports teams to provide plant-based fans with craveable vegan eats, especially in Major League Baseball. This July, Wrigley Field (Home of the Chicago Cubs) announced that it would introduce more vegan meat options with the help of Planterra Foods. Baseball fans could order vegan brats, burgers, and more made from the Ozo brand.
Several other MLB stadiums introduced plant-based options in recent years with the help of Oatly and Beyond Meat. Dodger Stadium (home of the Los Angeles Dodgers) is gaining a reputation as one the most vegan-friendly stadium in the United States, providing fans with Beyond burgers, tempeh tacos, and nachos covered in Follow Your Heart Cheese.
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