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The Food At The Wisconsin Entertainment & Sports Center Is Going To Be AWESOME

Tired of standard arena food options at the Bradley Center for Marquette games? TODAY IS YOUR LUCKY DAY.

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On Thursday, the Milwaukee Bucks made a pretty impressive announcement in terms of arena amenities at the Wisconsin Entertainment and Sports Center, aka the new home for Marquette men’s basketball.

It’s called MKEat, and that’s the overarching name for the food offerings at the new downtown arena.

Let me turn things over to the official press release here so nothing is missed:

Led by the venue’s senior executive chef, Kenneth Hardiman, and best-in-class food and beverage provider Levy, MKEat will feature popular and diverse local culinary establishments, including Klement’s Sausage, Sobelman’s, The Laughing Taco, Gold Rush Chicken, Iron Grate BBQ, FreshFin Poké, Cedar Crest Ice Cream, Colectivo Coffee and Milwaukee Pretzel Company. Unique to the arena will be Canal Street Pizza, a new fresh pizza concept that was developed in conjunction with the Fallucca family, the original pizza family of Milwaukee and the founders of Palermo’s Pizza. Additionally, core menu items throughout the arena will include Klement’s Sausage and Wisconsin-based Sargento Cheese.

That sounds amazing, but let’s turn to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel for further explanation of what it means.

For the Canal Street Pizza from Palermo’s:

The arena includes three deck ovens around the building that allow pizzas to be par-baked until they’re about 80 percent cooked. Customers will order their slices — three or four varieties will be available — and they’ll finish the baking on the spot.

”The slices will only take two or three minutes,” Fallucca said. “They’re going to get really great, hot out of the oven pizza with a crispy crust.”

Pizza (essentially) baked to order? That’s pretty darn fancy for a sports arena.

For the Klement’s Sausages, and this is pretty fantastic:

Klement’s will create two sausages for the Bucks that will only be found at the new arena, said CEO Tom Danneker.

Can you think of anything more Milwaukee than the basketball arena having exclusive sausages?

For Iron Grate BBQ:

Offerings such as chopped chicken and chopped beef sandwiches and pork belly inspired by the Bay View-based restaurant will be served throughout the arena.

Hardiman fired up the arena’s smoker this week and sounded delighted. He said meat from the smoker would be used for a variety of arena food offerings throughout the building.

THE ARENA HAS IT’S OWN [BLEEP]ING SMOKER HOLY CRAP THIS IS SO GREAT. Hey, what’s this note in the press release?

a wood-fired smoker capable of handling up to 3,000 pounds of meat


Onwards to the beverage options, and if I know the AE/Marquette audience, I know discussion of the beer is pretty important. From the press release:

MKEat will have some of the best selections of Wisconsin-brewed beer, reflecting Milwaukee’s rich brewing history. Working with Bucks longtime partner and Miller Brewing Company, the arena’s beverage program is built upon Miller’s locally brewed and globally-acclaimed beers. Complementing Miller’s product offering, local lifestyle brand Drink Wisconsinbly will entitle and curate three craft beer bars, presenting a rotating list of exclusive Wisconsin micro-beers.

NEAT. Three craft beer bars is a dramatic uptick from the one in the Bradley Center, and sources close to my taste buds tell AE that more beer options is better. I want to highlight this note from MillerCoors general manager Jim Kanter that’s in the JS story:

Kanter predicted that 80 percent to 90 percent of the draft beers sold in the arena will be a Miller product.

As slightly crazy as this sounds, this is probably true. If you consider “Miller” to be “MillerCoors,” then “a Miller product” includes anything from Miller, Coors, Blue Moon, and Leinenkugel’s, and that covers an awful lot of ground in terms of sales.

Here’s a note in the press release that goes undiscussed in the story in the JS that I think is pretty cool:

The arena will also be home to the Southside Market, which was designed as a tribute to the popular Milwaukee Public Market. The Southside Market will serve a variety of food and beverage options that will not be found anywhere else in the arena, providing a differentiated experience for guests on the upper level.

There’s going to be a section of the upper deck that’s going to be specifically devoted to selling concessions that you can’t get in the lower bowl AND it’s going to be a shoutout to the Public Market to boot. That sounds pretty badass in terms of idea and execution.

For those of you out there that are Coca-Cola people and not Pepsi people (which includes my wife), get excited. The arena has partnered with Great Lakes Coca-Cola Bottling as “the official soft drink, bottled water, and iced tea partner of the WESC.” All Coke products, all of the time.

One final note: There will also be a Chick-fil-A booth somewhere in the arena. As you may be aware, Chick-Fil-A does not operate on Sunday, so when the arena is in use on Sundays, it will be a “loaded chip and fry stand” according to WESC vice president for hospitality Justin Green’s quote to the JS.

Let’s hear your thoughts on the new food offerings at the arena! What sounds most interesting to you? What are you hoping to try on opening night against UMBC?