By HARRISON FREUCK, Adams Publishing Group – Jul 12, 2022
BELOIT—The Beloit Sky Carp welcomes hundreds of fans for each home game at ABC Supply Stadium, creating a tall task for the stadium’s concessions and hospitality teams.
The team of over 40 people have to coordinate menus and prepare dishes for hundreds of baseball fans, as well for the home team and visiting team for each home game. They also prepare meals for the club areas of the stadium, the party decks and for special events at the stadium.
After averaging 806 fans across 24 games in the new stadium at the end of 2021, the hospitality staff had a good sense of how to attract more fans this season, Geronimo Hospitality Group general manager Blair Schmitz said in an interview with the Beloit Daily News.
In the 2022 season, the Sky Carp have drawn nearly 1,100 fans per game across 40 home games through July 10. Schmitz said Geronimo Hospitality’s management spent the offseason working on systems to be able to deliver exceptional service to all Sky Carp fans, starting with the Food on the Fly program.
“The goal of this program is to allow fans to quickly place their order and get back to watching the game, so they won’t miss any of the action waiting in line,” Schmitz said.
The food offered at the ballpark is not the usual fare you would expect. There are the usual hot dogs, brats and popcorn, but there also are specialty items such as the waffle and chicken sandwich. Some of the hottest selling items include funnel cake fries, street nachos, and of course, fried cheese curds.
The culinary team at the stadium is led by executive chef Matthew Austin and sous chef Amorin Thomas.
Thomas, a Rockton, Illinois native, earned her culinary degree from Blackhawk Technical College. She was excited for the opportunity to work at ABC Supply Stadium.
“I just was not prepared for the mass quantity of people we serve. But, I’m proud of the team we have,” she said. “It’s not an easy thing to cook for an army.”
Austin oversees the food preparation and production for the concessions locations, premium hospitality areas and each team’s food layout, while Thomas assists Austin with day-to-day operations and creates the food for the non-game day events.
The three kitchens include the banquet kitchen, where Thomas works, which provides food for the club area, the media and the party decks; the game day kitchen which is located behind the concession area; and the main kitchen.
On Tuesday, Patrick Scott was in the main kitchen handling the task of getting hot dogs ready for the upcoming game when the Sky Carp would take on the Cedar Rapids Kernels.
He has been with the team even before the stadium was built, having worked for the Snappers team at Telfer Park. He said he has been working in kitchens since he was 16 years old.
“I did a lot of cooking at restaurants around town,” he said. “It’s different. It’s fun.”
The process of preparing and creating food for each game and event at the stadium begins 10 days prior and requires attention to detail and advanced planning, Schmitz said. He said this lengthy process helps make ABC Supply Stadium a great dining experience for everyone.
“The goal at ABC Supply Stadium is to be a great dining destination for people in Beloit and the Stateline Area,” Schmitz said.
To help achieve that goal, Geronimo Hospitality has focused on creating programs to support those in and around Beloit. One such program is a fundraising opportunity for nonprofit organizations, which allows local groups to send volunteers to the stadium to help serve concessions. Geronimo then donates up to 10% of the sales from that concession location to the group.
Geronimo also runs a food truck program, where two local food vendors are invited into the stadium each game day to sell their products, raising awareness and money for local businesses in and around Beloit.
Whether you’re a baseball fan or not, be sure to make it out to a Beloit Sky Carp game and check out the wide range of food and beverage options available at the stadium.