Local and sustainable flavors will feature prominently among Climate Pledge Arena’s food and beverage offerings.

The arena’s food and beverage program, billed as “The Climate Collective” aims to source 75% of all ingredients within a 300-mile radius to satisfy the venue’s environmental-conscious objectives. Executive chef Molly De Mers, a Nevada native who previously worked at the Seattle Aquarium, is overseeing the food and beverage program on behalf of lead arena concessionaire Delaware North and vetting all that fans will eat and drink ahead of time.

“We’ve had to reinvent the entire operation for this to be feasible,” De Mers said of the arena’s sustainability goals.

The arena features 19 “marketplaces” — what fans typically know as concessions stands — including four with Amazon’s Just Walk Out technology where fans dip a credit card at the entrance, take whatever items they want and leave without having to stand in line to pay for it. Some fans can preregister credit card information and simply have their palm print scanned at the entry for even quicker use.

While Delaware North used the Just Walk Out tech at TD Garden Center in Boston, it was only at one location serving cold, prepackaged food. Climate Pledge will be the first to feature hot dishes using the tech, with Shaquille O’Neal’s Big Chicken offering items kept heated for fans to grab.

As well, De Mers and her team of six chefs and 100 culinarians assisting them must service 59 suites, an all-inclusive Moet Suite and three other clubs — the Verizon Club, Space Needle Club and Mount Baker Hall — with food and drink.

Advertising

De Mers has met with businesses planning to sell food and drink within Climate Pledge to ensure they are sourcing within sustainability in mind. Even Pepsi and Coors Light have agreed to have no more single-use plastic bottles at the arena by 2024.

“The quest for sustainability is not new for this industry,” she said. “We’ve just always been told it can’t be done.”

But that changed, she added, when the arena corporate backers such as its Oak View Group arena developer, Delaware North and the venue’s Amazon naming rights partner insisted any companies doing business inside had to commit to the sustainability goals.

“The solution wasn’t to cross them out of the formula,” she said of beverage giants Pepsi and Coors. “It’s to include them. We just needed to find a way.”

She even researched where the arena would get its bulk ketchup and mustard, eventually picking a Portland-based company within the required 300-mile radius. Non-meat alternatives and fresh produce — all USDA certified organic where applicable — will be prominent throughout the arena. Eggs will be from cage-free hens. Any beef will be grass fed, while proteins such as Hempler’s hot dogs will be antibiotic, nitrate and hormone free. Heart-healthy oils will be used in cooking, with no trans fats.

Among local eateries with an arena presence: Lil Woody’s burger and shakes, Ethan Stowell’s Ballard Pizza Company, Din Tai Fung dumpling house, Sound Pizza, Piroshky Piroshky Bakery, Just Poke, Elliot’s Oyster House, Bistol Bay Wild Market seafood, and Metropolitan Grill. Other places include Modelo Cantina, Lolli’s, Impossible burger and Pop Chef.

Advertising

Hop Valley Brewing Co. from Oregon is the team’s official craft beer partner, while Chateau Ste. Michelle of Woodinville is the wine counterpart. There’s also two Coors Light branded bars, a Kraken Rum Bar, Hennessy Bar, Truly Hard Seltzer and Westland Distillery locations and — of course — A Starbucks presence.

General concessions outlets will feature items such as a Bacon Pop Rock Potato, featuring a butter-roasted hasselback potato, dill from Crows Farm, Flagship Cheese Sauce from Beecher’s and Bacon Pop Rocks candy. Also, vegan pressed watermelon sashimi flavored with wasabi sesame and yuzu compressed watermelon.

“It’s a delicate balance of meeting the needs of a good hot dog and a beer,” De Mers said. “But you’ve also got the more plant-based products in a more foodie-driven environment. The goal is to introduce the plant-based items to the forefront.”