Sports concession stands go gourmet

Chowing down at a Washington Wizards game is an exercise in gustatory globe-trotting.

The concession stands, with names such as Munich House and Blue Dragon, serve foods that hail from countries where soccer is popular — Italian ravioli, British fish and chips, Mexican tamales, Greek gyros, Chinese egg rolls, German wienerschnitzel — and, of course, all-American hot dogs. Churros and paletas are alternatives to funnel cakes and ice cream for Latin-style snacking.

The new menu is part of a Wizards effort to build atmosphere at the games and make the soccer experience “more Disney-esque,” says Greg Cotton, executive vice president for the Wizards. If you’ve strolled through the international pavilions at Epcot Center, you get the idea.

This celebration of diversity isn’t unique to the Wizards. Across the country, professional teams are kicking off more ethnic and upscale concessions to satisfy fans who may watch the Food Network as much as they do ESPN.

“People are a lot more educated about food these days, and expectations are a little different,” says Roderick Jackson, regional executive chef for Centerplate, which manages concessions for the Wizards and the Kansas City Royals.

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