Blackhawks and Bulls fans take note: The United Center just acquired a Big Star to bolster its concessions line up. Yes, those Big Star tacos, along with selections from Publican Quality Meats, Leghorn Chicken, Lillie's Q and other notables are opening inside the stadium later this year. The United Center and Levy Restaurants are calling the makeover Chicago's Plate, part of ongoing arena renovations, according to a news release.
Exactly what will be served hasn't been revealed. The plan calls to makeover some of the concessions stands and walk-up bars on the main concourse on the 100 level as well as the club level. There will be new signage with video displays in the privately-financed project. The free agent bonanza also includes Jake Melnick's Corner Tap, LQ Chicken Shack, Frontier and The Pony.
Levy and the UC have plans to bolster that roster in the future with even more restaurants. Despite the announcement, DiGiorno Pizza remains on the menu. And Bulls fans thought the Carlos Boozer contract was an albatross.
So for those scoring at home: Big Star and Publican Quality Meats are part of chef Paul Kahan's One Off Hospitality Group. Their co-founder, Donnie Madia, won this year's James Beard Foundation Award for Outstanding Restauranteur. Jake Melnick's is a part of Levy, which runs many UC concessions. Frontier, Pony and Lottie's all fall under Pioneer Tavern Group. Charlie McKenna owns Lillie's Q and LQ Chicken Shack.
It's been a bit like keeping up with the Joneses for Chicago stadiums, after Wrigley's news about Hot Doug's. Let's see if the White Sox take note at U.S. Cellular Field.
Levy and the United Center are also touting pop-up events to give fans previews of the food before the NBA and NHL seasons begin. Follow social media, including @ChicagoBulls, @NHLBlackhawks, @UnitedCenter and @LevyRestaurants for more info.