On Wednesday, the Blackhawks and Bulls (and the United Center) invited some media folks to see some of the new stuff going on at the arena for the coming NHL, NBA and concert seasons. I was there, and it was a good time.
First, there will be new kiosks outside sections 213 and 230 called the Dashery where you can swipe/tap your card or choice, walk in, grab a beverage or bag of food and walk out — no big, long lines. It’s at the top of the escalators on the 200 level, so if you have a ticket for any level you can grab stuff there.
We also got a tour of the new FanDuel Sportsbook Lounge. It backs up to the Atrium for those wondering about the location.
They shared that the United Center does not have a gaming license — yet. While that’s still pending, the lounge will be open (ticket required) and will have some exquisite new food and drink options. I got to try the menu and, as a horizontally challenged individual, I made sure to try as much as I could so I could share with you, the paying consumers, what they’re adding this year.
- Wagyu hot dogs: wow! A few of us asked folks from the UC and the Blackhawks what their favorite was on the line and this was unanimous. So, of course, that’s where I went first. And it lived up to the billing. It was absolutely delicious — way better than your standard dog. Highly recommend.
- Spicy pork nachos: another home run (or is it a slam dunk at the UC?). It’s hard to screw up nachos, but when you start adding meat it can open up room for problems. The spicy pork was on point and the queso was really good. I wouldn’t order this in a white Blackhawks sweater, but I would order it again because… well, I had a couple plates on Wednesday.
- Crispy chicken sandwich: while we don’t keep people in Nashville from buying tickets here, this had the feel of a Nashville-style chicken sandwich and it hit all the right notes. Hand fried, crispy and good piece of chicken.
- House made chicken fritters: they’re chicken tenders with the same preparation as the sandwich — and they’re outstanding. The Carolina-style barbecue sauce they’re serving has some punch to it, and the tenders are the right mix of breading and chicken. I’m in for more.
- Jamon croquettes: Great finger food if you’re looking for something with a unique flavor that isn’t the standard game night food.
- FanDuel burger: it’s a burger. When lined up next to the other new options, this (and the pizza) really didn’t stand out because the other items were so much better and more unique. If you’re looking for a good burger, this will do the trick. But, again, it’s a burger.
- Black cherry old fashioned: yeah, I took a drink on Wednesday (sorry, boss, it was for the job so I had to). I’ve been known to enjoy the occasional old fashioned (or three) so this is where my attention went on the selection of cocktails. And it was amazing! A unique flavor that was light and refreshing with the right citrus flavor and just enough kick to get the afternoon heading in the right direction. If I didn’t need to get home from the event, I would have enjoyed a couple more for sure.