You won’t believe what local chef and James Beard Award winner Gerard Craft has been cooking up for St Louis CITY SC.
St. Louis CITY SC and the club’s Flavor Officer, James Beard Award-winning chef Gerard Craft, today unveiled Balkan Treat Box, BEAST Craft BBQ Co., Steve’s Hot Dogs and Niche Food Group’s Brasserie and Pastaria Deli & Wine as the Major League Soccer team’s initial STLMade food partners. The club’s CITY Flavor program, which will include more than 25 local St. Louis restaurants represented in the stadium, is designed to celebrate St. Louis’ authentic tastes and original flavors and support a local industry still recovering from the pandemic.
Last summer, CITY SC asked fans to share their suggestions for hidden culinary gems and favorite menu items from St. Louis’ diverse neighborhoods. After receiving more than 10,000 submissions, the soccer team, along with Chef Craft and stadium hospitality partner Levy, began identifying the final group of local food partners who will make up the STLMade stadium food experience. While additional food partners will be announced at a later date, the club’s CITY Flavor program will encourage the community to support local restaurants and give fans a taste of matchday before the team’s historic inaugural season kicks off in 2023.
“Our St. Louis food scene stacks up to any major food city in the country and deserves to be celebrated, in our stadium and beyond,” said Carolyn Kindle, St. Louis CITY SC President and Chief Executive Officer. “We have the opportunity to utilize our platform to shine a light on St. Louis’ truly amazing restaurants. Thanks to our partnership with Chef Craft and an incredible lineup of restaurant partners, we are making every soccer match feel like a STLMade food festival with St. Louis’ diverse and eclectic culinary scene being well represented.”
As part of the initiative, fans will have the opportunity to meet CITY SC’s initial stadium food partners through a four-part content series launching today at 1:00 PM on CITY SC’s YouTube channel. Hosted by Chef Craft, the series celebrates St. Louis’ culinary scene and give fans a look at the unique and inspiring stories of the people behind the stadium’s food. Additionally, CITY SC will host pop-up fan events at each of the featured food partner’s restaurants after the launch of each episode.
“Our goal with the CITY Flavor program was to ensure that we highlighted the different cultures of our St. Louis food community. Through the food, fans get a feel for the diverse neighborhoods that make our city so special,” says Chef Craft. “Every food partner has such an inspiring story, and we wanted to not just showcase these restaurants and food brands in the stadium, but drive the community to support local before, during and after matchday.”
In addition to being 100% local, Centene Stadium’s food and beverage offering includes 52 individual areas for fans to access items, the most in Major League Soccer. It will showcase the next generation of in-stadium convenience, with state-of-the-art “connected stadium” technology and modern design features including: dedicated mobile-order ahead, digital menu boards, walkout markets and mobile wallet/pay technologies to decrease transaction times and increase overall fan convenience.
“The CITY Stadium experience -- from the views of downtown St. Louis to the food to the music – is designed to be reflective of our region,” continued Kindle. “Fans and guests will get a feel for the culture, innovation, energy and passion of St. Louis at every event.”
Additional information about CITY SC’s initial restaurant partners and signature items featured at Centene Stadium include:
Balkan Treat Box: Tantuni Kebab
- Balkan Treat Box is inspired by the Balkan region’s food from countries such as Croatia, Bosnia, Albania, Turkey and more. Husband-and-wife team Loryn and Edo Nalic started Balkan Treat Box as a food truck in 2017. Already an accomplished chef, Loryn learned to cook the foods of her husband’s native Bosnia from his family and through her travels abroad. After receiving both local and national acclaim for dishes on her wood-fire baked breads such as the Döner, Cevapi and Pide, Balkan Treat Box opened its first restaurant in 2019. The restaurant was then recognized as one Esquire’s Best New Restaurants, one of the 50 nominees for bon appetit magazine’s Best New Restaurants in America, and more. Now as a family-operated business alongside Edo’s brother Emir Nalic, Balkan Treat Box continues to be a destination for Balkan-inspired food in St. Louis.
- Tantuni Kebab: Made famous in the Mediterranean city of Mersin, Balkan Treat Box will showcase their take on the dish made of small cuts of meat in a seasoned gravy, soaked up by the breads served with tomato, sumac, onion, herbs, and lemon. Served in durum as a wrap or in a hoagie-style bread, Balkan Treat Box will offer beef, chicken, and plant-based option.
BEAST Craft BBQ Co.: The Pork Steak Sandwich
- BEAST Craft BBQ Co. is the St. Louis area's premier smokehouse by David Sandusky, who has been featured multiple times on the Food Network. Redefining "St. Louis-Style," BEAST pays homage to our BBQ traditions while creatively modernizing those dishes. BEAST is nationally recognized as one of the top BBQ joints in America by Food & Wine, Thrillist, & Big7 Travel. The "Pork Steak Sandwich" is known to be "world-class" and will be featured on the menu at Centene Stadium.
- The Legendary Pork Steak Sandwich: Half a pork steak smoked on hickory, then basted and torched for maximum caramelization
Steve’s Hot Dogs: The St. Louis CITY Dog
- Known for its elevated comfort food and creative collaborations, Steve's Hot Dogs started as a hot dog cart serving concertgoers in 2008 by founder and musician Steve Ewing. Today, it's a St. Louis institution - a community gathering space, music venue, restaurant, and bar in a legendary location in the South Grand neighborhood of St. Louis. Steve's Hot Dogs has been celebrated for both its creative menu and its sense of community. Awarded both Best Hot Dogs in St. Louis and Best Hot Dogs in Missouri, Steve's has been featured in People Magazine and on the Food Network. Steve’s is also the home of the “official St. Louis-style Hot Dog,” named by the St. Louis Board of Aldermen, which is the concept’s signature hot dog on their menu at Centene Stadium.
- St. Louis CITY Dog: Smoked and grilled all-beef hot dog topped with Provolone cheese, grilled onions and green peppers, housemade smokey pepper mustard, banana peppers and bacon.
Niche Food Group*:\* Brass Burger and Pastaria Deli & Wine’s Detroit-Style Pizzas
- Niche Food Group is based in St. Louis, Missouri and owned by executive chef Gerard Craft. As a Food & Wine Best New Chef, Food & Wine Innovator of the Year, 2015 James Beard Foundation Award-winning Best Chef: Midwest, and Inc. Magazine Star Entrepreneur, Chef Craft has been a pioneer for the Midwest dining scene. Niche Food Group now includes 8 restaurants in St. Louis and one in Nashville, Tennessee: French bistro fare at Brasserie by Niche, approachable Italian at Pastaria, laid back burgers and brats at brassWELL inside Rockwell Beer Co, Cinder House, a wood-fired, South American-inspired restaurant at the Four Seasons Hotel, Pastaria Deli & Wine, a deli, wine and retail shop next door to Pastaria, Kitchen Bar serving wine, beer and cocktails inside City Foundry STL Food Hall, Bowood by Niche, neighborhood brunch, lunch and dinner spot inside Bowood Farms Garden Center, and latest the concept, Fordo’s Killer Pizza, a wood-fired pizza kitchen also located inside City Foundry.
- Brass Burger & Detroit-Style Pizza from Pastaria Deli & Wine: The Brass Burger is a perfected take on the classic burger with simple toppings of American cheese, dijonnaise, dill pickle, and onion. Originally made popular at Niche Food Group’s Brasserie by Niche, the Brass Burger is a staple on several of Craft’s menus. Pastaria Deli & Wine’s Detroit-style pizzas are cooked in a square pan for a crispy and chewy thick crust. Available in Margherita or Pepperoni, the crispy edges make the square slice memorable.