Updating the Classics: How To Give Your Menu A New Twist

It’s football season and patrons are coming in to do some game day dining, so don’t serve them the same tired wings you did last year.Here’s an opportunity to do some menu updates and reinvent some of their favorite classic bar snacks.

The Essentials

When thinking of stadium food, we imagine nachos, wings, loaded fries, and hot dogs. The food is served either too hot or too cold, and a thick layer of grease permeates everything. It’s not the food itself we love but the excitement we associate with it. Give your diners a much more enjoyable experience while maintaining the thrill of the game by giving their favorites an upgrade. Let diners feel like they’re right there in the stadium on game day by offering some classic tailgate snacks. Revamping the familiar makes old favorites exciting and boosts check averages.

Not your Typical Stadium-Wings

Wings are the number one game day seller and as such should hold a place of honor on your menu. Capitalize on diners’ love of chicken by offering both bone-in and boneless varieties alongside an array of house-made signature dipping sauces. From standard buffalo to sweet honey barbecue, parmesan garlic and beyond.

The Improved Quesadilla

Fast and easy to prepare, quesadillas are another ubiquitous game day dish and we have a few ways to give them some major upgrades.

For incredible depth of flavor, add a smoked cheese like cheddar or gouda into your quesadilla filling. Quesadillas are one of the few game day treats that can be made healthy. Try offering a veggie-heavy quesadilla with things like roasted carrots, leeks, quinoa, and hummus. Football can be an all-day affair so keep pace by offering breakfast variations like a sausage, egg, and cheese ‘dilla.

Fully-loaded Fries

America’s favorite vegetable, the french fry, can easily be transformed from appetizer to entree by adding a boatload of toppings. The sky is the limit when it comes to loaded fries and what’s more, they are the perfect base for any number of different flavor profiles. Do Mexican by adding black olives, corn, ground beef and of course jalapenos. How about Philly cheese steak fries, chicken bacon ranch, or the classic pulled pork. Any dish you can imagine is better served on a bed of french fries and for some dramatic flare try serving them to your guests in a hot cast iron pan.

We all Scream for Ice Cream

Ice cream is the most well-represented dessert at sports games and why not? You can’t really go wrong with ice cream, but you can certainly give it an upgrade. Improve your ice cream offerings by getting creative: ice cream sandwiches made with big gooey house-made cookies. Or ice cream hot dogs served between a sweet brioche bun and drizzled with strawberry syrup. It’s avant-garde but it’s delicious.

These are just a few ideas for adding a little extra sporty pizzaz to your menu. But don’t stop there, go wild. Come up with your own favorite stadium fare, or reinvent a current menu item to feature alongside this week’s game.


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Hannah Abaffy

Pastry Chef & Recipe Development

Hannah Abaffy is a pastry chef and an active member of the culinary community. From working in kitchens to developing recipes, and creating menus for restaurants, she has been involved with food in one capacity or another for the past decade. After starting a food history blog, Hannah has been continuously writing and learning about the ever-changing realm of cuisine, its history, and its future. Since then her appetite to learn about and share all things that touch upon the world of food can only be described as voracious.

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