SBJ/February 6-12, 2012/Facilities

Change on menu for Kauffman Stadium bar, dining options

Don Muret
The Kansas City Royals and Aramark are tweaking some of Kauffman Stadium’s premium dining and general concessions spaces, two years after completion of the ballpark’s $250 million renovation.

One change is the development of a new outdoor bar in the 16,582-square-foot Diamond Club behind home plate. A portion of the club’s glass wall along the first-base line will be removed to build a 1,400-square-foot destination, extending from the club’s back corner and spilling out to the main concourse. The intent is to bring new life to “dead space” created after the Diamond Club was built during the park’s three-year facelift, said Kevin Uhlich, the Royals’ senior vice president of business operations.

The Royals are in talks with two team sponsors, local microbrewery Boulevard Brewing Co. and spirits maker Diageo, about the possibility of branding the bar. No deal has been signed.

Elsewhere in the park, Aramark, the Royals’ food provider, will add Asian stir fry to one stand after the concessionaire’s fan surveys showed a preference for more international flavors at the ballpark. The stand, the Fry Works location on the first-base side of the main concourse, sells french fries and chicken fingers, among other items. It will be subdivided to accommodate the Asian theme. Aramark is still determining the exact menu, Uhlich said.

On the View Level in the upper deck directly behind home plate, the Royals plan to add another bar, which Uhlich said has yet to be themed.

Aramark will expand offerings at the barbecue stand along the outfield plaza.
Photo by: KANSAS CITY ROYALS
In the outfield plaza, where Aramark runs the Royals All-Star Barbecue stand, the vendor will expand the menu with such state fair-style foods as sausage on a stick, said Scott McGinn, Aramark’s district manager. The goal is to increase activity in the area, where traffic for the barbecue stand hasn’t been filling the nearby seating area, Uhlich said.

In a market where barbecue reigns supreme, though, the stand’s two 1,400-pound smokers will remain intact and the site will continue to sell ribs, pork sandwiches and smoked turkey legs.

In addition, Aramark will expand its MLB food truck program to the outfield plaza with a rotating menu. The concessionaire first introduced the trendy trucks last year with Wok in the Park at Coors Field in Denver and Just Loaf’N Po’Boys at Turner Field in Atlanta.

At Kauffman, the Bud Light Party Deck above right field will be rebranded as the Budweiser Patio. To date, more than a half-dozen MLB ballparks plan to have Bud-sponsored outfield decks activated for the 2012 season (SportsBusiness Journal, Jan. 30-Feb. 5 issue).

In Kansas City, the upgrades will cost about $800,000, a sum paid by the Royals, Uhlich said. The improvements will be completed by April 13, the Royals’ first home game. Come July, Kauffman Stadium will be in the national spotlight as the site of the MLB All-Star Game.

SHOVELS POISED: The lawsuits continue over the San Francisco 49ers’ stadium project in Santa Clara, but the legal battles have not stopped the team from getting subcontractors on board in preparation for construction.

The Santa Clara Stadium Authority, owner of the proposed $1 billion stadium, has approved five companies to build structural steel, metal decking, precast, elevators and escalators, and foundations, said Jack Hill, 49ers’ project executive.

As of last week, contract approvals were pending for electrical, HVAC, plumbing and fire protection.

Officials were working out the contract language before signing those deals, said Hill, former manager and developer of Cowboys Stadium.

Last week, the Santa Clara City Council filed suit against a local grassroots group opposed to publicly subsidizing the stadium through three bank loans. The group collected the requisite 5,000 signatures from Santa Clara voters in an attempt to force a referendum on the stadium issue.

City officials think the measure is illegal because the initial stadium plan was approved by voters in 2010 before the bank commitments.

As a judge considers the action, the 49ers are moving ahead with an official groundbreaking in a “May to June time frame,” Hill said.

The general contractor is a joint venture between Turner Construction and Devcon Construction.

Don Muret can be reached at dmuret@sportsbusinessjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter @breakground.

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