Buffalo Sabres fans, thrilling to the prospect of seeing new faces in Sabres sweaters, are going to find new players in First Niagara Center's food roster as well.
Many of the new menu items resulted from fan requests on the Sabres' website, said Executive Chef Scott Green, who oversees the center's food operations for Delaware North. "It was great this year because the Sabres were able to get their fans involved," Green said. "We used a lot of those ideas this year."
New choices available to all ticketholders will include a chicken finger sub made with Anchor Bar wing sauce ($7.25), a baked chicken parmigiana sandwich ($7.75), and a cheesesteak with peppers and onions ($7.75).
Two specialty dogs, the "Main & Fillmore," with chili, cheese, mustard and onions, and the "Downtown," with chili, sauerkraut and mustard, will go for $5. Those aren't Texas Hots imitators, by the way; the chili has kidney beans in it, though that might change as the season goes on, Green said.
Pizza got an upgrade, too, with more toppings, local favorite Margherita pepperoni, and specialty pies like chicken finger being added on a rotating basis, said Green. The slices are also bigger, as a 16-inch pie is being cut into six instead of eight wedges. They'll be $5.50 for cheese or pepperoni slices, $6.25 for specialty pies.
The choices for fans in the 100s, 200s and suites have moved solidly into gourmet territory. There's lobster macaroni and cheese, a beef on weck sushi roll and homemade jumbo ravioli with Parmesan crisp joining the 100-level offerings, while the 200s are joined by grilled steak flatbread, Greek salads and "margarita" shrimp cocktails with lime salt.
Suiteholders will be offered menus that include artisanal cheese and charcuterie boards, beef tenderloin quesadillas and shrimp scampi. Green's staff is smoking its own bacon for the triple-bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwiches, which sport pancetta and house-made bacon and Canadian bacon.
There will also be an expanded roster of wine and beer offerings, including more stations serving more flavors of Flying Bison beers, a locally brewed favorite.
The Pegula Era touches are everywhere. Guests, journalists and other food moochers were greeted by the dulcet tones of a jazz trio as they arrived for the news conference and sampling.