Just a little more than a day before thousands of fans converge on Sun Life Stadium to watch the Dolphins take on the Falcons, workers were busy cleaning seats and setting up souvenir stands as president and CEO of the Miami Dolphins and Sun Life Stadium, Tom Garfinkel, showed the media around phase one of the major refurbishment that the home of the Dolphins is undergoing.
Changes include wider, more comfortable seats for the masses and plush luxury chairs (complete with USB charging hubs) for top-tier season ticketholders. As part of phase two, in 2016 as part of phase two the stadium will be fitted with an open-air canopy to protect fans from the weather.
Several gorgeous suites and clubs will also be introduced, including the 72 Club, which includes VIP parking spaces and field access to a private club where you are served unlimited food and premium beverages. There's also no four-quarter last call at these seats. In fact, the club will be open two hours before and 90 minutes after the game.
The stadium has also made significant improvements on concession operations, including two premium taprooms serving craft beer and more than three dozen unique food options throughout the stadium. Sun Life Stadium's director of concessions and retail management, Ben Metzger, said it was important for the food and drink at the stadium to represent Miami. There are nearly a dozen local restaurants with a presence at the stadium, and many local beers are available in the taprooms.
Five new South Florida restaurants were added to the roster: Café Versailles, Key West's Sloppy Joe's Bar, Hollywood's Kosher Central, snow cone company Paradise Cups, and Bodega Taqueria y Tequila. Goya Foods will also have a pregame presence on the grand plaza.
These new restaurants join Sushi Maki, Bru's Room, Bokampers, Cold Stone Creamery, BurgerFi, Papa John's, and Johnsonville Sausage. Michelle Bernstein's Crumb on Parchment also returns on the club and suite levels. Of course, concessionaire Centerplate also has a group of branded eateries such as Miami Chicken, where you can get country chicken and gravy biscuits, and SoBe Fresh, which serves lighter fare like quinoa-and-kale salad and fresh fruit cups.
Here's a list of new additions and featured favorites and where you can find them on game day:
South Beach's Bodega Taqueria y Tequila is the most surprising and welcome addition this year, with three locations opening at the stadium, in Sections 142A, 329, and 345A. The taco joint will serve a menu of al pastor pork tacos, pollo tacos, and barbacoa beef tacos. In addition, Bodega will also offer Cubanito and Milanese tortas and chips and salsa verde. The restaurant's own hot sauce will be on hand to spice up your life. Bodega's Bernie Matz said he always wanted to play for the Dolphins, and now he's cooking here. In all seriousness, he said the stadium was looking for new people, "and we're the best taco in Miami." Matz said he's making sure fans get the same food they would at the original Bodega. "Centerplate handles everything, so the challenge is that they stick to our standards. They took all our recipes and all our ingredients and are making everything to our exact specifications. I'll be here all day today and tomorrow and I won't let them serve anything on Saturday that's not perfect."
Bokampers and Bru's Room
Kim Bokamper's sports bar, Bokampers, located on Mezzanine 32, Level 3, and the East End Zone, serves traditional game-watching fare like Bo's signature wings, mac 'n' cheese balls, smokehouse barbecue pork sliders, chicken tenders, Bo's chopped Cobb salad, mozzarella sticks, and spinach-and-artichoke dip. If you're looking for more wings and things, Bob “Bru” Brudzinski's Bru's Room is located in Sections 101 and 303.
This fast-casual chain that serves natural Angus beef burgers has upped its game by adding two new locations. You can find BurgerFi burgers, veggie burgers, apple chicken dogs, and fries and onion rings in Sections 114A, 124, and 350.
Kosher Central offers classic New York-style pastrami and corned beef sandwiches made in-house at its Hollywood deli and market. It also offers hot dogs, sushi, salads, hummus, and a flavorful cumin-laced shawarma. Find Kosher Central in Section 111.
Centerplate's Miami Chicken, located in Sections 117A and 319, is where you can find some good, down-home country chicken and gravy biscuits, chicken sandwiches and wraps, and chicken tenders. The sleeper hit, however, is the chilled, spiced watermelon, which is a healthful and zesty way to chill out at the game.
Afternoon games can get hot and steamy if with the new roof. If you're in need of cooling off, head to Paradise Cups in Section 155 for snow creams and shaved ice. The snow creams arrive as a snowball in your choice of flavors such as key lime, triple coconut, birthday cake, Snickers, and strawberry shortcake. The result is the full, creamy flavor of gelato with a light, airy texture.
That's right, folks — the Key West home of Sloppy Ritas and Hemingway look-alikes has ventured north with three stadium locations, in Sections 106, 144A, and 317A. You'll find sloppy Joes (natch), conch fritters, shrimp po'boys, sloppy dogs, sloppy fries, and frozen drinks. Drunk piano sing-alongs aren't included — you'll still have to drive to the Conch Republic for those.
Sushi Maki, located in Section 126 and on the club level, offers bento combos, California rolls, spicy tuna rolls, veggie lo mein (chicken or shrimp can be added), a Fins roll, sashimi, Asian chicken salad, and spicy tuna salad. New this year are tuna poke and a take on elote with Asian spices and bonito flakes.
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Café Versailles finally makes it to Sun Life Stadium. The iconic Cuban restaurant serves its traditional fare in Sections 119A and 317 and on the club level. Find pressed Cuban and Elena Ruz sandwiches, empanadas, ham and chicken croquetas, pastelitos, plantain chips, and Cuban coffee (perfect if the game stretches on for hours).