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Food

Walleye to open season with new concession items

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    A new Coney Fried Bologna Sandwich with Hebrew National Bologna, coney sauce, shredded Colby-Jack cheese, diced onions and mustard on grilled sourdough has been unveiled as upcoming fare to be served at this year's Walleye games at the Huntington Center.

    The Blade/Katie Rausch
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    A dish of poutine tots with cheese curds, brown gravy, bacon and jalape–os has been unveiled as upcoming fare to be served at this year's Walleye games at the Huntington Center. Other items new to the menu include a new Tavern Burger, Coney Fried Bologna Sandwich, Red Velvet Funnel Cake, Cine-a-Pup, and Bourbon Carmel Crunch Sundae.

    The Blade/Katie Rausch
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In a venue as chilly as the Huntington Center, it might be tempting to assume that Walleye fans would prefer their treats warm and toasty. But that’s not necessarily the case, according to Scott Fuernstein, general manager for food and beverage at the facility.

“We sell a lot of ice cream,” he said.

Walleye fans can soon look forward to enjoying a Bourbon Caramel Crunch Sundae, this year’s addition to the ice cream menu at the arena’s T-Town Treats. It’s among the several new concession items that will roll out at the Huntington Center when the Walleye kick off their home season Oct. 21.

GALLERY: Walleye dishes new concession stand items

Other items include a Tavern Burger, Poutine Tots, and Red Velvet Funnel Cake. Each made its debut at a media tasting event on Thursday.

The lineup of sweet and savory is the culmination of a creative and culinary process that begins as soon as the season does, said Jon Drake, director of operations for food and beverage, who described jotting down ideas all year in anticipation of the annual menu additions.

His favorite this year? A Coney Fried Bologna Sandwich, available for $7 at Swamp Dogs Grill.

Neither Mr. Drake nor Mr. Fuernstein said they initially expected much from an experimental mix of flavors: Hebrew National bologna, topped with coney sauce, colby jack cheese, onions and mustard, and set between slices of grilled sourdough.

But both were impressed by the cozy sandwich that emerged.

VIDEO: Blade staff tries the new Walleye dishes

“It’s the leader in my mind,” Mr. Fuernstein said. “And I’m not typically a bologna fan.”

A new burger and a new sundae are introduced each year for the Walleye season. This year’s Tavern Burger, available for $7.50 at Frogtown Burger Co., features a horseradish and cheese spread, sweet peppadew peppers, and bacon. It’s served on a pretzel bun.

The Bourbon Caramel Crunch Sundae, $4.50 at T-Town Treats, tops Toft’s chocolate ice cream with bourbon caramel sauce, chocolate covered pretzels, and cinnamon almonds.

Poutine Tots build on an already-healthy appetite for loaded tator tots among Walleye fans, Mr. Fuernstein said. It also reflects an obvious tie between hockey and Canada, where poutine has roots in Quebec. Poutine Tots will sell for $5 at Swamp Dog Grill; they’re potato nuggets topped with cheese curds, brown gravy, bacon, and jalapeños.

Red Velvet Funnel Cake and Cinn-A-Pups, $5 and $3 respectively, at T-Town Treats, will round out the dessert menu. The funnel cake is topped with cream cheese icing, while the Cinn-A-Pups wrap a hot cinnamon roll, cream cheese icing included, around a stick for convenience.

There will be new treats this year in suites, too. This year’s additions include Mini Chicken Chimichangas, served with queso blanco; Peppered Tenderloin Crostini, served with horseradish aioli and red onion marmalade; and Asian Pork Belly Skewers, served with sweet soy glaze and Thai chile relish.

The new additions update the concessions offerings, which menu crafters balance each year by retiring other items. Mr. Drake said that’s sometimes a difficult task.

“Our menu as a whole grows each year,” he said.

Contact Nicki Gorny at ngorny@theblade.com or 419-724-6133.

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