Of kickoffs and kosher dogs

Of kickoffs and kosher dogs

Jewish consumers find much to sate them at area stadia

Fans can find glatt kosher hot dogs and prayer services at four locations at MetLife Stadium. Courtesy Nicole Fountain

The Giants and the Jets both had dismal Sundays last week (actually, Jets coach Rex Ryan used stronger words to describe his team’s 45-19 pounding at the hands of the Philadelphia Eagles) and one of them will emerge the loser when they meet this weekend, but they both are hanging on to their playoff hopes. For the Giants, that means getting beyond the Jets game (and hoping that the Dallas Cowboys ground the Eagles), and then going on to defeat the Cowboys. For the Jets, it means holding on to a precarious lead over the Cincinnati Bengals for the AFC East wild card slot.

It also means that Jewish football fans who will be heading for MetLife Stadium on New Year’s Day can count on at least one more bite of a kosher hot dog before hanging up the jerseys on the 2011 season.

Professional sports have come a long way in our area in the last few years, when it comes to accommodating the needs of the kosher sports fan.

Especially where football is concerned, food seems to go hand-in-hand with sports, with pre-game tailgating parties in the parking lots, and the eating of hot dogs and other foods inside the stadium during games. Not too long ago, the kosher consumer had limited to no options whatever at area stadia. Today, not only can you get kosher food at your favorite team’s home turf, it may even be possible to find a minyan (prayer quorum), if need be. At MetLife Stadium, which is home to both the Jets and the Giants (and is slated to be the site of Super Bowl XLVIII in 2014), Delaware North Companies Sportservice offers a variety of kosher food options. It operates four portable kosher concessions carts on three different levels of the stadium – one on the service level in front of the Great West Hall, one on the 100 level (Section 119), and two on the 300 level (Sections 309, 337).

Jeff Striks Courtesy Jeff Striks

Strikly Kosher, the New York-based kosher catering company founded by Jeff Striks, is under glatt kosher supervision by Vaad of Queens. It operates glatt-kosher facilities for Sportservice at a number of other stadia, as well, including Yankee Stadium. Portable carts offer kosher hot dogs, knishes, and pretzels. In typical “wait ’til next year” fashion, there are plans to offer buffalo chicken wings and soup in the 2012 season.

According to Strikly Kosher’s eponymous owner, “My goal was to take care of the community – and I did so by providing a minyan and ‘the most delicious hot dogs.'” Striks has appeared on Rachael Ray’s “Ballpark Caf锝 and Andrew Zimmerman’s “World’s Best Ballpark Foods.” He lives by his motto – “Do things the right way” – to make certain that customers keep coming back for more.

In addition to relying on Strikly Kosher, Sportservice uses area glatt kosher caterers to prepare individual plated dinners for MetLife’s Coaches Club, Commissioner’s Club, two Mezzanine Clubs, and guest suites. Menu offerings rotate each game and include corned beef, brisket, pastrami, barbecue chicken, grilled chicken wraps, hot dogs, potato pancakes, side dishes, and vegetables.

There is a minyan every game at each of the four glatt kosher stands operated by Strikly Kosher, located in Great West Hall and sections 124, 309, and 334. Usually, there are at least two minyanim per game at each location and sometimes as many as four, with anywhere from 10 to 50 people at each stand, usually before the game and during halftime. Siddurim (prayer books) are provided.

There are other concessions that also offer kosher hot dogs and other foods and beverages (knishes, potato chips, peanuts, hot soft pretzels, and soft drinks), although the meats are kosher, but not glatt kosher.

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