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Menu Items Unveiled for College Basketball’s Big Event at Lucas Oil Stadium

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind., March 16, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Centerplate, a Sodexo company and the leading hospitality partner to North America’s premier sports entertainment venues, today announced an array of specialty menu options and enhanced safety protocols for Lucas Oil Stadium.  


Centerplate – the exclusive catering partner to Lucas Oil Stadium and a Sodexo company – is known for serving creative and exciting menu items at the world-class venue and hundreds of other leading entertainment destinations around North America. In Indianapolis specifically, it is a program rooted in traditional Heartland dishes and Hoosier hospitality, and is regularly ranked #1 in Stadium Journey’s “Best Stadium Experience” annual list.


This is the third time the Centerplate team has hosted the championship event at Lucas Oil Stadium, including 2010 and 2015. This year’s iteration is one-of-a-kind though, as the team will host 15 games over 8 event days, with hundreds of employees stepping up the occasion.


"The top priority will be the health and safety of fans, players and our staff,” said Steve Pangburn, CEO, Centerplate / Sodexo Sports & Leisure. “Our heightened protocols are in place to help everyone feel confident, safe and comfortable, and our menu items have also been dialed up a notch to meet the moment of one of the most exciting sporting events that our industry has to offer.”


Among the specific changes to the food and beverage program in-venue:


  • 100% cashless points of sale to reduce contact; fans who don’t have credit cards can exchange cash for gift cards to use on gameday
  • Individually packaged flatware
  • Portion-controlled condiments
  • Transitioned foodservice to individual packaging and closed containers
  • Gloves and masks required for all food-service employees
  • Social distance markings to encourage and promote distancing guidelines in common areas
  • The Rise with Sodexo program is the company’s systematic approach to embracing this new world and adapting to new safety environment


Experienced Leadership

Centerplate’s team at the Indiana Convention Center and Lucas Oil Stadium is led by District Manager Justin Kizima and General Manager Lynda Fonderoli. Fonderoli is hosting this event for the 7th time, the third time at Lucas Oil Stadium, having been with Centerplate for 28+ years, hosting all the milestone occasions and big games that come to town on a regular basis.


Broadly, Sodexo’s global gender balance strategy is a key driver to ensure that both women and men have equal access to growth and opportunities in the workplace and communities. Since 2009, Sodexo’s global gender advisory board has been dedicated to driving gender balance by advancing women at all levels of the organization. To date, 35%+ of the North America Regional Leadership Committee and 60% of Sodexo board of directors are women.


Caring for the Community

Centerplate also is committed to donating excess food at the end of the tournament to local groups like Second Helpings and Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana.


Throughout 2020, for reference, Second Helpings served, on average, 8,000 meals daily and transitioned from community meal to meals packaged for home delivery. During this time, the group received nearly 30,000 pounds of food from Centerplate at Lucas Oil Stadium, which was used to prepare nutritious meals for the community at its Hunger Relief kitchen or was distributed to food pantries and other social service agencies. 


Culinary Excellence

Leading the culinary efforts is Chef Shimelis Adem, who has also hosted three college basketball championships at the stadium, as well as the Super Bowl.


The local culinary team, as a way to virtually bring a taste of the arena to fans watching at home, has also compiled digital recipe cards that will be promoted on social channels during the event – featuring signature items that are the ideal complement to any at-home viewing experience.


Affectionately referred to as Chef Shumu, his highlights of the gameday menu include fan-favorite items on the general and club concourses:


  • Half-Pound Bracket Burger: all-natural Angus beef double cheeseburger topped with housemade applewood smoked bacon jam, melted cheddar and crispy onions on a fresh baked roll
  • Heartland Beer Cheese Steak Sandwich: locally sourced shaved beef sirloin, topped with Sun King Brewing Wee Mac Scottish Ale cheese fondue on a freshly baked hoagie roll
  • Indiana Whiskey Sour Pork Wings: locally sourced smoked pork wings glazed with a housemade whiskey and orange marmalade


Vegan and Gluten-Free items for the more health-conscious fans:


  • IMPOSSIBLE Loaded Peppers: roasted tri-colored sweet bell peppers with meat substitute, drizzled with a housemade sweet chili glaze


And in the premium hospitality spaces, specialties include:



There will also be a trio of specially souvenir craft cocktails for age-appropriate attendees, showcasing local products from Oliver Winery and 1205 Distillery.


Fans can find out more about the culinary approach, broader foodservice safety protocols and much more at Sodexo USA.


About Centerplate / Sodexo Sports & Leisure

Each year, the combination of Sodexo and Centerplate enhances the level of services provided to more than 116 million guests across premier venues in North America, such as stadiums, arenas, conventions centers, museum, zoos, aquariums and more. Through consumer research, innovation and local personalization, we are positioned to deliver an unrivaled array of services to successfully contribute to offer a memorable experience for the guests in our partner venues.


From hosting VIPs at the Super Bowl to superheroes at Comic Con, the company provides hospitality services to North America's premier events. Click here to learn more.



Paul Pettas
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