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Verizon Center adds vegetarian fare, colder beer

Ted Leonsis's list of 101 changes he's made in 101 days of Wizards ownership has already gotten a great deal of publicity, largely because of his assertion that a name change back to Bullets is "under consideration." The list has been written about on Wizards Insider, Ball Don't Lie, SB Nation DC, The Basketball Jones, SLAM Online, DCist, Truth About It and heaven knows where else.

And while the headline is the name change, the supporting role is played by the concessionaires. No fewer than 15 of the 101 items have to do in some way with concessions, from fresher buns to colder beer to warmer pizza to prompter refilling of condiment containers to a greater focus on "local flavor" on the menus. ("In-development," on that last one.)

I'm working on getting a list of new items at the arena this year, but in the meantime, there's this, from the bottom of Leonsis's blog:

Many of you complained about the quality as well as the time it took to order and purchase your food. So we've taken steps to speed up the process at every food stand in the building. We also have put a select number of vendors with food and beverages back in the stands so that you don't have to leave your seats. We've taken steps to make sure the beer is cold (do you know we serve nearly 50 brands of beer?), the pizza is hot and the popcorn is fresh. We've added a number of kosher, gluten-free, vegetarian and even vegan food offerings. We also have added a text service that allows fans to give us immediate feedback on how we are doing.

Trust me, the vegetarians among us will not hesitate to use that text service line if the veggie options include cardboard sandwiches and Bowl O' Grass. Anyhow, by my count, at least three of the four major pro franchises in this town have now made major overtures to vegetarians. It's appreciated.

(Also, Leonsis said they were eliminating the "Dee-Fence" chant from Wiz games and adding more organ music. You don't have to love tofu to recognize the value in that one.)

By Dan Steinberg  | October 7, 2010; 11:19 AM ET
Categories:  Caps, Wizards  
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How about having Clyde's provide some concession items? They are right next door. Double-dipped buffalo wings, crab soup, etc....

Also, did Ted actually say that he's considering changing the name back to the Bullets, or to another, new name? Because of the whole Gilbert thing, I'd be shocked if they actually changed it back to the Bullets. Of course, Gil's guns weren't actually loaded, so maybe that opens the door a little.

I hope Ted's considering using one of the other "finalist" names from the contest Abe Pollin had all those years ago. The Washington Sea Dogs has such a great ring to it!

Posted by: dmorgan6617 | October 7, 2010 11:53 AM | Report abuse

As a fellow vegetarian, I have to agree with you, Dan. I applaud Leonsis on making this long overdue update to the menu. However, if the prices for these items cost as much as the meat-laden choices, I may still stick with beer and chocolate chip cookies as my foods of choice...

Posted by: arizona4 | October 7, 2010 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Vegans don't like hockey. It's too violent, fun, exciting, not lame.

Posted by: Section104 | October 7, 2010 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Anyone else get the idea that Polin and the people he trusted were asleep at the wheel for way too long? Some of these great changes are really no-brainers. The surprising part is why it took so long. "Really you want COLD beer? And HOT pizza? We don't normally do that." Good to see someone is now on top of it.

Posted by: DCV1 | October 7, 2010 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Vegans aren't gonna be in the Verizon center anyway. With the skinny jeans cutting off circulation above the waist there's too much risk of fainting in the nosebleed sections.

Posted by: GFisher1 | October 7, 2010 12:15 PM | Report abuse

I don't make many rules up here, but if you come in talking mess about vegans, I will rain down wrath and vengeance upon your heads.

Posted by: DanSteinberg1 | October 7, 2010 12:18 PM | Report abuse

DCV1 hit the nail on the head. The implicit message in all of Leonsis' changes is that Abe Pollin was a terrible owner. Not that we didn't already know that..............

Posted by: poguesmahone | October 7, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Well, at last Tuesday's Caps preseason game, the concession line was amazingly slow, it took almost five minutes after I ordered for them to actually give me my basket of chicken strips and fries, the first ketchup dispense I went to was empty and the napkin dispenser at that condiment stand was empty. That's much worse than last year--so these improvements are still a work in progress. On the bright side, my chicken strips and fries were hot!

Posted by: TheFingerman | October 7, 2010 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Below are various comments from today's Mike Wilbon column on Gilbert Arenas:

"I believe Arenas can be a productive player in the NBA again"

"Arenas has had a decline in play"

"Go ahead and tell me what Arenas has that's extraordinary? Talent? Not anymore."

"Arenas has some very good, if not great, basketball left in him"

Things that make you go hmmm...

Posted by: Barno1 | October 7, 2010 1:32 PM | Report abuse

Really section 104 and GFisher1? I'm vegan, several of my friends are vegan, and we all love Caps hockey.

Posted by: NoVAPostFan | October 7, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Jan. 17 Chat House

Fairfax, Va.: Call me crazy, but I truely believe Gilbert will be here next year. It appears obvious that both Flip and Ernie are gone after this year. Everything that happened is not their fault, but time to clean house. Next year, enter Leonsis (presumably) and you have a guy that is all about second chances. He got a second chance at life and seems to be a tremendous man who cares greatly about other people. He looks at Gilbert as a man who has made mistakes, and decides to try and guide him in the right direction. Thoughts?

Michael Wilbon: Gilbert Arenas will not be with the Washington basketball franchise next year. Will not. Period.


"Reclamation projects can be successful, which means, no, I haven't ruled out the notion of Arenas playing for the Wizards again" -Mike Wilbon, March 17

Posted by: Barno1 | October 7, 2010 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Jan. 4 Chat House

"But one would hope that in the weeks after Abe Pollin's death the Wizards, particularly a franchise player handed a $111 million contract, would conduct themselves in a way that would make the late owner proud. This isn't the way. And now, the baby needs to go out with the bath water." -Mike Wilbon

Jan. 13 column

"If some of these other jokers who avoided serious suspension or worse were worth our time, Arenas sure is. There is much too much intelligence and goodwill, skill and legitimate personality to, as folks used to say, just throw the baby out with the bath water. " -Mike Wilbon

Posted by: Barno1 | October 7, 2010 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Screw "colder beer." How about *better* beer choices? There are some great craft beers from the Mid-Atlantic area. How about some Dogfish Head or Victory on tap somewhere in the arena, rather than macro crap that tastes so bad you want it to be colder?

Posted by: Spill | October 7, 2010 2:22 PM | Report abuse

It seems to me that the long-overdue shelves in the men's room are a food-related item as well, insofar as beer qualifies as food. :-)

Seriously, I never understood what doofus thought putting in urinals with rounded tops was a good idea.

Posted by: 1995hoo | October 7, 2010 4:48 PM | Report abuse

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