What to eat at Seahawks games this season: new menu is local and diverse

KIRO Newsradio, Features reporter

Seahawks season officially kicks off tonight at Lumen Field, and if you like meatballs just as much as footballs, this report is for you.

I got a preview of this season’s new menu offerings and loved the juicy, chopped pork sandwich on a squishy roll from Jones Barbeque, a 30-year-old Seattle family-run restaurant, and a giant, chewy, salted chocolate chip cookie from Seattle chef Ethan Stowell. The cookie is cleverly named How To Wolf A Cookie, a little wordplay shoutout to his Queen Anne restaurant, How To Cook a Wolf. You can also enjoy one of his meatball subs at the game.

Not only does Lumen Field bring local restaurants into the fold, they also make a point to go hyper-local.

“We have a really cool project called the Community Concession program, and we highlight food and food partners in the immediate neighborhoods,” said Zach Hensley, general manager of Lumen Field and VP of operations for the Seahawks. “Chinatown International District, Pioneer Square, as well as SoDo.

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“We provide a great opportunity for some of these small businesses to be able to come into the stadium,” Hensley continued. “It’s no funding from them because a lot of them are family owned. We also promote them on our social media, we take care of all their signage so people know about it. We talk about our Community Concession program with the intent of driving business to their restaurants in the adjacent neighborhoods.”

No funding means these restaurants can sell their food in the stadium, rent free.

“Lumen took the steps to do what they said they would do around diversity and inclusion,” said Tess Thomas, owner and head chef of Seattle’s Emma’s BBQ.

You can enjoy her pulled pork, mac & cheese, baked beans, and brisket at the stadium this season.

“To be able to bring a small restaurant on to have this experience here at Lumen has meant the world to us,” said Thomas. “We are a family-run business that was struggling, truly struggling, before this opportunity happened. We are so very thankful. When you have the foods of all ethnicities displayed, this is truly the next step that we need to be taking as a society.”

Thomas devoted 40 years of her life to fostering 150 children in the Puget Sound region, and now she’s showing her love through food.

“That was my mother’s passion, she opened a restaurant, she loved cooking,” said Thomas. “She did not read, she did not write, she brought these recipes back with her from the old south up here to the north and that’s exactly what folk here are able to eat today at Lumen.”

Thomas named the business after her mother, Emma, and says some of the recipes she serves have been in her family for a century.

Emma’s BBQ is not the only restaurant at Lumen Field cooking from legacy. You can also enjoy food from Tai Tung, Seattle’s oldest Chinese restaurant and a favorite of Bruce Lee, which opened in the International District in 1935. They’re cooking up char siu (Chinese BBQ pork), crab rangoon, and hot and sour soup, available in the new Amazon ‘Just Walk Out’ district.

Longtime Puget Sound chef, John Howie, is offering tempura bacon and poke, Mangosteen restaurant in the ID is selling a Seattle classic, chicken teriyaki, you can grab vegan nachos from Cook at T’s and chicken tinga tacos from Manus Tacos, formerly located in Pioneer Square.

Listen to Rachel Belle’s James Beard Award nominated podcast, “Your Last Meal.” Follow @yourlastmealpodcast on Instagram!