I have a confession to make: I’m a sports snacker. Forget the big meals and clunky cardboard cup-holders filled with fried-this and fried-that or burgers with all of the fixins and sides. I prefer foods you can crunch and munch on. Hand over that big bag of peanuts (in the shells, please) and an ice-cold beer at the baseball game. Give me a bucket of buttery popcorn or a giant soft pretzel with spicy mustard at an NBA arena. I’ll also gladly accept a frosty cup of Carvel soft serve swirl to drown my sorrows in during a football game at MetLife Stadium. (Yes—I’m unfortunately a New York Jets fan.) But when it comes to eating actual meals at the ballpark or arena, it’s just not my thing.
Unless, that is, I’m at the U.S. Open.
You’ve likely heard the stats: 90,000 pounds of beef, 9,000 pounds of lobster, 225,000 hamburgers and hot dogs, plus 7,000 specialty tennis ball cookies. All of that food will be for the more than 700,000 people expected to attend the final tennis major of the year at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows. Starting on Aug. 28, fans will flow in and out of the grounds to watch some elite tennis—but they also are coming to eat.
Just as most U.S. Open-goers will check the day’s schedule and formulate a plan for seeing the matches, it’s also necessary to map out a meal plan as you navigate the grounds. There are so many options. From traditional sports fare (hot dogs, hamburgers, waffle fries) to local New York City hot spots serving up foodie-favorites (Melt Shop, Fuku and Korilla BBQ, to name a few) to more fancy, fine-dining cuisine, there truly is something for everyone. Maybe it’s the fact that the event is two weeks long, and each day has 12+ hours of matches, but the U.S. Open is the one place I cave in, ditch my snack statue, and order a full meal, be it a cheeseburger and fries, a rice bowl or a full personal pizza.
Whether you’re looking for a quick bite or a hearty meal during the changeover, we’ve got you covered. We’ve rounded up the food options (and prices) you’ll see on the menus in the Food Village, restaurants and around the grounds at the 2017 U.S. Open.
GRAB A DRINK FIRST
Grey Goose Honey Deuce: More than 275,000 melon balls will be used to garnish the U.S. Open’s signature cocktail, a vodka-spiked raspberry lemonade that has become synonymous with the tennis tournament itself. You should definitely get one on your way in and take the glass home as a souvenir. Or, if you can’t make it out to the tournament this year, make your own with the recipe Grey Goose shared with PEOPLE.
WHERE TO EAT IN FOOD VILLAGE
Located right in the middle of grounds, this is the central location for all of the concession stands, including stations for water, coffee, beer, champagne and more.
A renowned local meat purveyor, Pat LaFrieda’s selection does not disappoint and is highlighted by the star of the show, the steak sandwich. Here are some of the options:
—Filet Mignon Steak Sandwich: Ahh, the steak sandwich. Tender pieces of filet, topped with Monterey jack cheese, caramelized onions and au ju, all cradled in a toasted roll. It’s pure delicious-ness, and honestly one of my favorite choices at the U.S. Open. It’s huge, satisfying and feels like the kind of thing you should be eating at a tennis tournament. (Price $17)
Other menu items: Chicken parm sandwich; Meatball sandwich; Milkshakes
Momofuku chef and founder David Chang always brings his mouth-watering must-haves to Flushing Meadows, and this year Fuku has turned it up a notch with a new U.S. Open-exclusive burger, a specialty dessert item and more, all served up at two new locations.
–Fuku fingers and fries: Chicken fingers and fries are a staple at sporting events as much as they are a staple in a seven-year-old’s diet. The Fuku fingers are an ace: an adult version of a kid’s classic, they have just enough of a spicy kick and pair well with your condiment of choice. (Price $14)
–Spicy Fried Chicken Sandwich: I’m partial to Fuku’s fingers, but the sandwich comes in as a close second as far as chicken options go. Habanero-marinated spicy fried chicken thighs are served on a Martin’s potato roll with pickles. Very easy to eat with one hand. (Price $13)
–163 Burger: Fuku is known for its chicken, but Chang says he wanted to do something as a contrast to his standard spicy sandwich. Enter the 163 Burger. Sourcing the meat from Fuku’s neighbors across the grounds, this burger has two LaFrieda beef patties topped with cheese, lettuce and special sauce—a hozon spread made from fermented chickpeas—on Chinese bing bread from Hot Bread Kitchen. (Price $14)
–Double berry ice cream sandwich by Du’s Donuts: Cue the Instagram photos. This donut ice cream sandwich has a pink strawberry donut on one side and a blueberry one on the other, and it’s all coated in a colorful strawberry and blueberry crumble. (Price $8)
Other menu items: Spicy chicken bacon ranch sandwich; Fries with jalapeno seasoning.
What once was only a food truck has now grown into a restaurant with multiple locations—and a spot in the U.S. Open Food Village.
–Bulgogi rice bowls: This may not look as pretty as some of the other dishes, but it really is tasty—and filling. Purple sticky rice is topped with your choice of bulgogi (ribeye steak, spicy pork, sesame chicken or tofu) and caramelized kimchi, beansprouts, fire roasted corn or garlic spinach. You can choose your sauce as well. (Price: $15)
Other items: Korean tacos; Kimcheese fries; Pork and veggie dumplings.
The folks behind Korilla BBQ are bringing U.S. Open fans a new bowl to feast on this year: poke.
–Poke Bowls: Pick from classic tuna, spicy tuna, salmon, crab and shrimp or tofu, which is spooned over seasoned sushi rice. Depending on your choice, the bowl will be served with the accompanying veggies and dressing. For example, the vegan tofu comes with avocado, cucumber, tomatoes, carrots and edamame slaw, with a creamy tofu Caesar while the spicy tuna is served with avocado, cucumber, masago, pickled daikon and fried shallot with a creamy togarashi and gochujang dressing. (Price: $13-$17)
A go-to NYC lunch spot, Melt Shop’s U.S. Open offerings always deliver on three things food should always be: cheesy, crunchy and comforting.
–Classic: American, cheddar, white bread—perfection. (Price $10)
–Fried Chicken Melt: When you’re feeling a bit hungrier, go for this buttermilk fried chicken sandwich with pepper jack cheese and red cabbage slaw. (Price $14)
–Shop Tots: Is there a better way to watch tennis than to sit and pop tater tots (with a sprinkle of parmesan) in the stands? (Price: $6.50)
Other menu items: Cheesy tots; Deluxe grilled cheese with bacon.
FARM 2 FORK
If you’re trying to keep it sorta-healthy while you spend the day watching tennis, grab a cold bottle of Evian and head over to Farm 2 Fork, where you can find some more nutrition options, such as salads with superfoods and more.
–Sweet potato and barley grain bowl: This is a great lunch option. Chicken, red and golden beets, arugula, sweet potatoes and barley make for a hearty but light meal. (Price $14.50)
Other menu items: Mediterranean salad with grilled chicken; Locally raised chicken sandwich; Short rib sandwich; Roasted portobello sandwich
HILL COUNTRY BBQ
Straight from Texas, Hill Country brings authentic barbeque to Flushing Meadows.
–Chopped Brisket Sandwich: Served on a potato roll with pickles and sliced onions, this is a meaty, delicious sandwich that goes great with a side of fries. (Price: $15)
Other menu items: Smoked hot link sausage;Fresh-cut fries; Longhorn mac and cheese
Chef David Burke serves up a flavorful Mexican street food menu.
Chipotle chicken tacos: If I’m being honest, I’d skip these tacos (served with pico de gallo, shredded lettuce and crema fresca) and go for the loaded nachos or chips and guacamole instead. (Price: $13)
Other menu items: Carne asada beef tacos; Pescado tacos; Nachos; Chips and guacamole
CREPERIE BY LE CHEF PAUL
If you only know crepes as banana-strawberry-and-nutella, Le Chef Paul will open your eyes to a whole new world with sweet and savory creations, including the Le Boeuf Bourguignon Crepe with skirt steak and cheese and the La Poulet Dijon Crepe with chicken.
Pizzas: Neapolitan’s personal pies are everything you want in a pizza: Bubbly, burnt crust, simple but delicious toppings and of course, served up in a pizza box. Choices include margherita, pepperoni and sausage, and for dessert, the nutella pizza. (Price: $10-$14)
WHERE TO EAT…AROUND THE GROUNDS
Morris Grilled Cheese: Near Court 17, this is a food truck that serves up a simple menu of killer grilled cheese sandwiches, including a classic with New York state cheddar and New Hampshire landaff cheeses, a gouda one with herb butter and bacon, and more.
Soomsoom: Sort-of hidden over by Court 12, this vegetarian-friendly, healthy spot serves up fresh Mediterranean fare, including falafel sandwiches and salads.
Joju: I didn’t get to taste the food from this modern Vietnamese Queens spot, which is new to this year’s concessions, but some of the offerings include a lemongrass chicken banh mi sandwich, loaded banh mi fries and a banh mi bacon dog.
Dean & DeLuca: For the first time, this NYC staple brings its upscale market fare to the U.S. Open at two locations, in the Grandstand Food Village and at the Club Level in Arthur Ashe Stadium. Menu items include: on-the-go sandwiches, salads and snacks, including gluten-free options and performance bio-nutrition bars in flavors such as turmeric and ginger, matcha and espresso, manuka and mango and more.
RESTAURANTS AND FINE-DINING OPTIONS
Wine Bar Food: Located in the South Plaza above the Mercedes-Benz Brand Center, we suggest you order the mozzarella and burrata plate.
More fine dining: Mojito Restaurant & Bar, BLT Prime by David Burke, ACES and more.