United Center Executive ChefMichael Arcomone shared the recipe on a private behind the scenes tasting tour to showcase their farm to stadium food last Sunday.
Plus, PETA actually recognized the United Center in its first top 10 list of most vegetarian-friendly NBA arenas last week. They specifically noted the vegan tempeh Sloppy Jane, housemade veggie burger, and a baked potato.
Chef Mike, as Arcomone is known throughout the stadium, leads a staff of about 90 for Levy Restaurants, working closely with Milan Stojakovic, Director of Operations. They took over foodservice in 2009, serving not only concession stand classics like hot dogs and beer, but luxury dining, staff meals, and Hawks team meals too.
That season Chicago won the Stanley Cup.
“The head trainer for the Blackhawks [Mike Gapski] asked us to go on the Dr. Oz website for ideas for the green juice,” said Chef Mike, “So my chefs did a tasting of all the recipes they found. What you have is what they came up with. They added a little of this and a little of that.” (Yes, I know about The New Yorker story about Dr. Oz.)
The Hawks specifically request organic ingredients, cage free eggs, and gluten free bread too.
“Most of the players drink the juice: Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Patrick Sharp, Corey Crawford, Brent Seabrook, Ray Emery, Jamal Mayers,” said Ricardo Ibarra, Levy Restaurants banquet chef at the United Center.
“There are a few exceptions but for the most part they all have one or two glasses.”
The PETA approved veggie burger is more like an all-American arancini than a pale imitation of meat. The crunchy griddle-crusted black bean and rice patty, barbecue sauced and smothered in Cheddar cheese, comes with a side of hand cut, twice fried fries.
Chef Mike says Levy was hoping to buy a local potato farm this season and plans to do so by next year.
One particular point of pride is that they make all their dressings in house too. At this scale they could send out their recipes to be made by a third party in huge quantities. But they make their own, which is not only more work on the front end, but back end too, with more dishes to do.
Of course not everything is local and sustainable. I asked Chef Mike why they bother to source from local farms and sustainable meat and seafood purveyors at all when most fans wouldn’t ever know. He said, “Because it’s the right thing to do.”
Chicago Blackhawks Green Juice Recipe by Levy Restaurants
6 pineapples, peeled and cored 3 carrots 1 1/2 cups spinach 5 bunches parsley 6 bunches kale 3/4 cup honey 2 limes, juice only 6 cucumbers 3 bottles mineral water
Green Juice #2 10 bananas, peeled 6 pineapples, peeled and cored 3 carrots 1 1/2 cups spinach 6 bunches parsley 6 bunches kale 3/4 cup honey 2 limes, juice only 6 cucumbers 3 bottles mineral water
Green Juice #3 1 1/2 cups spinach 8 cucumbers 1/2 head celery 6 bunches parsley 1 small bunch mint 4 carrots 8 apples, cored and seeded 2 limes, juice only 2 lemons, juice only 4 pineapples, peeled and cored 3 bottles mineral water