Food at Scott Stadium ups its game with some national help

Photo: Ryan Wheeler Photo: Ryan Wheeler

You’re at a tailgate party outside Scott Stadium taking down dogs and burgers two at a time. You’re thinking, “I don’t want to pay a bunch of money inside for food. I’ll fill up now.”

This year, you might want to think again.

According to Matt Smythe, director of operations for Aramark’s UVA dining program, the food services giant is always perfecting its Scott Stadium menu under the local leadership of concessions program general manager Paul Schertz and district executive chef David Mason. This year is no different.

“We look at what is popular around town, what fans can enjoy in their seats and what they can only get at a UVA athletics event,” he says. “We want it to be a special day for all of our guests.”

In addition to yearly favorites like the Virginia Burger (formerly the Hoo Burger) and the Hoos on a Roll hot dog stand, Scott Stadium is rolling out a new item this year that’ll fill the stands with flavorful aromas—the smoked pulled pork sandwich.

Smythe says the pork will be smoked on-site, giving it that tailgate party appeal inside the stadium. “The sandwich is slow-cooked in the western Virginia fashion,” he says, and served with Sweet Baby Ray’s barbecue sauce.

The Virginia Burger, an 8-ounce hamburger patty on a pretzel bun with Virginia ham and thick-sliced cheddar cheese, has served that same role for years.

“The Virginia Burger is…grilled to perfection right in front of our guests,” Smythe says. “Its flavor is enhanced by succulent Virginia ham, making it a protein-lover’s favorite. The pretzel bun adds to its uniqueness, something you don’t expect when you are in a football stadium. It would be more at home at an upscale, gourmet burger joint.”

Similarly, Hoos on a Roll is looking to elevate the stadium hot dog, Smythe says, serving “Hebrew National hot dogs with all kinds of crazy combinations.”

And while the stadium’s three signature items are designed to provide that special in-game dining experience, lots of fans still opt for the old favorites. Smythe guesses Scott Stadium vendors will sell 38,000 hot dogs, 35,000 popcorn tubs, 24,000 pretzels and 17,000 pizzas this year. Other options include salads and sandwiches from Einstein Bros. Bagels, Chick-fil-A, Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, Italian sausages, chicken, turkey legs, corn dogs and mac‘n’cheese.

“We [have] a wide variety of options throughout the stadium so that fans can get what they want, when they want it,” Smythe says. “We continuously research what works best so that we can continuously improve the entire fan experience.”

Having the backing of a company like Aramark, which works with sports venues all over the country, gives the local outpost a lot of experience to draw on, according to Smythe.

“We are big fans of the University of Virginia,” he says. “We are the team behind the teams.”