For many - the best part of a game or live event at Amsoil Arena is the food!  There's just something about the venue that seems to make the food you get at the concession stands a little better.  In advance of the 2018-2019 hockey season, the DECC is readying up some new items to tempt your taste buds as you cheer on the UMD Bulldogs.

To unveil the new food items, the DECC held a media event to give some of us a sneak-peak (and taste!) and what's in store for hockey fans this season.  Amy Carlson - Director of Food Service at the DECC - started the event with an overview of some of the new foods; then - the best part - the taste tests!

Most of the new items at Amsoil Arena aren't strangers to concession food.  The new menu features upgraded burgers, dogs, pizza, and the like.  But there were some surprises.  Included among Amsoil's new food items are a poutine dish, a meatball and sauce offering, and even soup and bread.  Here's a run-down of what's new on the menu:

  • Poutine:  Features salt and pepper fries and cheese curds, topped with a brown gravy.
Mary Sullivan
  • Half-Pound Cheddar Polarena:  A half-pound smoked cheddar polish on a Johnson's Bakery bun.  The item is a throw-back to the original DECC Arena concession menu.
Mary Sullivan
  • Champ's Meatball:  A half-pond meatball, with marinara sauce and Parmesan cheese, served with a cheese-filled Bosco breadstick on the side.
Mary Sullivan
  • Local All-Beef Dog:  Amsoil's usual hot dog has been upgraded to a local, all-beef dog served on a Johnson's Bakery bun.
  • Local Fresh Hamburger Patty:  Amsoil's usual classic burger has been upgraded to a fresh, locally-produced beef patty on a brioche bun.
  • Soup with Bread:  Your choice of three different soups (Tomato Basil, Creamy Chicken Wild Rice, or a house-made Chili) served with Johnson's Bakery bread.
Nick Stoltman
  • 4-Meat Pizza:  Traditional pizza served with sausage, pepperoni, Canadian bacon, and bacon bits.
Mary Sullivan
  • Veggie Pizza:  This pizza features green peppers, olives, onions, mushrooms, and sun-dried tomatoes.
Nick Stoltman
  • Cedar Chest Ice Cream:  Wisconsin-made ice cream with new flavors to try - including gluten-free options and two rotating specialty flavors.

In addition, the popular Fish Fry which was offered on Friday's last year has been expanded to include Saturday's as well this year.

I am happy to say that I tried each of the new menu items except the poutine.  (I probably should have while I had the chance, but I'm not really a fan).  The new dogs (Polarena and the upgraded Hot Dog) were substantial, a little spicy (but not too much), and tasty; I'm not usually a hot dog eater, but these would pass my taste test.  The burger was nicely pink inside, and you could definitly tell that the meat had never been frozen.  The meatball was nicely tender (sometimes if the meat is overworked it can result in a tough product) and they provided just-enough sauce to finish.  I recommend the Tomato Basil soup (it was creamy, chunky, and well-rounded).  I found the Creamy Chicken Wild Rice soup to be watery - although that may have been an anomaly.  The Chili was delicious and you could definitely tell it was house-made.  The pizzas were average; I've had better - but then again, they weren't bad, either.

To see more of our staff's taste-testing at the media event, watch the video.