As part of their continued effort to improve the game-day experience at FedEx Field based on fan feedback, the Washington Redskins will introduce several new food and craft beer options at the stadium this season for a second consecutive year. On Wednesday, the team hosted a tasting of the expanded 2016 concessions menu for members of the media and several hundred season ticket holders who participated in a fan forum in April.
Among the new food items sampled: red velvet chicken and waffles (a nod to the Redskins’ burgundy and gold color scheme), a bacon cheddar sausage on a mac ‘n’ cheese waffle, a pulled chicken sandwich topped with jerk barbecue sauce, loaded mac ‘n’ cheese bowls, three different hot soups, a buffalo chicken sausage and General Tso’s chicken served over white rice.
“People wanted more variety,” Chris Bloyer, the Redskins senior vice president of operations and guest experience, said of the fan feedback that helped guide the changes to the FedEx Field menu. “They said, ‘There are too many places to get the same thing, so give us more variety.'”
“I want more than Johnny Rockets,” longtime season ticket holder Rob Lee said while sampling the new fare. “I know the boss owns Johnny Rockets, but Johnny Rockets is just so-so and they could do so much better. Other stadiums that I’ve been to, including [the Ravens’] stadium, they have quite a few choices and it’s about delighting your customers.”
(Redskins owner Daniel Snyder sold his stake in the oldies-themed burger chain in 2013, but Johnny Rockets can still be found in five locations at the stadium in 2016.)
Lee, who noted that the new parking plan the Redskins unveiled last season in response to similar fan feedback “made a real difference,” enjoyed most of the food he sampled Wednesday. Fans and media members voted on four flavors of hot dogs from Hagerstown-based Hoffman’s Meats to decide the Redskins’ signature “Hog Dog,” which will be available on all three levels. The winning entry, announced toward the end of the event, includes bacon, ham, sausage and pulled pork.
The soup cart, located in Sections 130 and 301, will open when the weather gets cold and offer Maryland crab, chicken noodle and garden vegetable varieties. Some of the “returning favorites” at Wednesday’s tasting included a grilled chicken sandwich, a crab cake sandwich, a BBQ beef brisket and bacon burger. Healthier fare — including a kale salad, a gluten free veggie wrap, and a variety of snack packs and fruit cups — will be available at the Caesar’s Vineyard stand in Sections 123 and 340.
After adding a craft beer cart on the main concourse last year, Bloyer said the Redskins are making a “much bigger push” with craft beer this season. The tasting was held in a rebranded space on the club level called the Craft Haus, which will feature 8-10 rotating taps throughout the season. Elysian’s Space Dust IPA, Devils Backbone’s Vienna Lager, Flying Dog’s The Truth Imperial IPA, Bell’s Two Hearted Ale and Escutcheon Brewing Co.’s 4th and 1 Pilsner (John Riggins’s beer) were among the beers available Wednesday.
“We’re trying to get some more local crafts, trying to get some variety and make it interesting,” Bloyer said. “There will be noticeably more craft beer on all three levels. This year we will probably triple the number of locations where you can find craft beer and it will not be the same all year. We will switch out the variety with the seasons and with the feedback we get during the season.”
“I really hope this quality carries over,” Chris Corbin, another satisfied season ticket holder, said. “When you do it on a much smaller scale, you can only hope that it translates to a larger scale, but some of the food that we’ve tasted tonight, I’d certainly pay for it at a restaurant.”
What Redskins fans can expect to pay for all this new food and beer at FedEx Field hasn’t been announced.
“The thing that’s going to guide everything is the price, because it could be absolutely delicious, but if they’re charging $17.50, I could do without soup,” said Pat Shoemaker, who has had season tickets since 1997.
Wednesday’s event also featured a sampling of some of the new food offerings for FedEx Field suite owners in 2016: