As Scotiabank Arena gears up for another new season for fans of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Raptors, the venue gave a sneak peek at some of the new eats crowds will be chowing down on this year.
And no matter what the scoreboard says at the end of the night, it will be another winning year for fans’ tastebuds as they sink their teeth into tasty new concession options, which elevate stadium favourites like hotdogs and offer creative riffs on poutine, fried chicken, mac and cheese and more. The best part? Almost everything is made from scratch.
Michelin star winner Patrick Kriss of Alo fame serves a take on Aloette’s Spicy Chicken Sandwich as well as a Deluxe Hot Dog with shredded pickle, bacon, pepperoncini relish and garlic sauce.
Barbecue pit master Lawrence La Pianta, whose Cherry Street Bar-B-Que has received a special nod from the Michelin Group, will again offer up signature items from his downtown restaurant — including their mouthwatering Cherry Mac Burger, legendary Beef Brisket and their killer Smoked Wings — as well as a new Chili Bowl (yes, it’s Lawrence’s signature recipe) and a Smoked Sausage cured in house.
Afrim Pristine’s famed Cheese Boutique will fork over two delectable takes on mac and cheese at their stand on the 100 level. The Classic Mac is made from creamy five-year-old Ontario cheddar, grass-fed Ontario mozzarella and Dutch Black Phillip Gouda, while the Bianco Mac comes together with Dutch cheese XO Beemster, grass-fed Ontario mozzarella and aged Swiss.
Both options will consist of pasta made exclusively for the Cheese Boutique that’s only available at the arena and their shop, said head chef Tiago Milheiro.
The concession will also offer up a gloriously gooey Grilled Cheese.
“It’s not a mix of your typical sliced cheddar,” Fatos Pristine Jr. (also known as the “cake guy” at their west-end shop) said. “You have a beautiful gouda that adds a bit of creaminess and a nice bite. You have our in-house, five-year-old cheddar that adds a beautiful sharpness. Then you have the mozzarella and that’s just for the stringiness. This year, we’re adding a fried prosciutto. That’s what throws it over the top.”
Other offerings include the new Original 6ix Hot Dog, a new wiener from Toronto’s Seed to Sausage that was four years in the making.
“We named it that after the Original Six Toronto Maple Leafs … and it’s connection to the Raptors,” said Seed to Sausage founder Mike McKenzie.
Rumour has it that Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment chair Larry Tanenbaum is a fan of hotdogs and was looking for a homegrown frank to be added to the arena. McKenzie said his creation met the challenge.
But there was so much more. A Mac and Cheese Burger from St. Patties brings together two stadium favourites in one delicious concoction. The new Triple Bacon Poutine at the Poutinerie finds a plate of fresh-cut fries slathered in cheese curds and gravy before it is topped off with double-smoked bacon, pancetta and bacon bits. There’s a Butter Chicken Sandwich that’s like none other in the city, said Chris Zielinski, culinary director for MLSE.
Other offerings include Chungchun rice dogs, which have been a hit during live shows, deli sandwiches and a Thai shrimp bowl you can grab from one of the arena’s new Just Walk Out locations.
We barely scratched the surface this week when we were there for a sampling in an attempt to try everything that’s new on the menu this year.
Recommended from Editorial
Fans first: Toronto’s Scotiabank Arena lifts lid on $350-million renovation plans
Will the ‘Reimagination’ of Scotiabank Arena help attract more free agents to Maple Leafs?
When Quentin Meloff, operations manager for Aloette Go, heard that we went big on the mac and cheese right out of the gate, he shook his head and smiled.
“That was a rookie mistake.”