The Warriors’ new 18,064-seat crown jewel is almost ready to start serving up basketball, concerts, and food from a highly-curated selection of local food vendors. When it opens in September, it will be San Francisco’s first arena of its kind to serve food made from scratch on the premises.
To aid in their lofty endeavors, Bon Appetit has brought in a ringer with a luxury hotel background: Mark Jeffers, the former executive chef and food and beverage director from the Ritz-Carlton Lake Tahoe. Before that, he spent time at the hotel chain’s Half Moon Bay and Orlando locations.
Through a partnership with Bon Appétit Management Company and Levy, the arena features a Taste Maker’s program that’s brought in popular local eateries like Tacolicious, Bake Sale Betty, and Dumpling Time. Today, they announce the addition of two more: La Corneta Taqueria, a family-run taqueria with locations in Glen Park, the Mission, and the Peninsula and Tin Pot Creamery, a French-style ice cream company with flavors like “Verve Latte” using Santa Cruz’s Verve Coffee.
“We’re making sure that we hit on all the communities that are coming into the arena,” says Jeffers. “Representing San Francisco and it’s melting pot.”
The full list of Taste Makers, with the additions of La Corneta and Tin Pot Creamery, includes: Bakesale Betty of Oakland; San Francisco’s Tacolicious, Hot Dog Bills Burger Dog, Big Nate’s BBQ (for late NBA Hall-of-Famer Nate Thurmond), La Cocina, Old Skool Café, Sarap Shop, Live Sushi and Dumpling Time from the Omakase Restaurant Group, Chef BOUG (from Bayview Chef Tiffany Carter), Earl’s Brittle, Yvonne’s Southern Sweets, Sugar and Spun; Berkeley’s CC Made; Five Dot Ranch in Marin; and Sam’s Chowder House of Half Moon Bay.
For most of those businesses, this is their first venture at such a scale, but they’re not going it alone. The Warriors’ investment in the arena’s food facilities with Bon Appetit and Levy’s has resulted in a massive team, led by Jeffers, of over 200 culinary staff members, plus seven executive chefs. Unlike most arenas and stadiums that use a central commissary to prepare food and then serve them from warming boxes, they’re cooking from scratch in 37 concession stands with micro-kitchens, plus eight full kitchens.
“The amount of from scratch cooking in this arena has never been done before, people have been looking at us like we’re crazy,” says Jeffers. “But I feel 100 percent confident that we’re going to blow everyone out of the water in terms of what’s been done in the past.”
The amount of staffing required for a project of this size is a double-edged sword in the Bay Area, where cost of living has pushed many potential employees outside of the city. The Arena will provide jobs for about 680 people throughout the arena, many of whom will come from Oracle Arena (staff there gets first dibs on jobs at Chase). According to Jeffers, there’ll be more staff than Oracle, with 1,000 fewer seats — part of the Warrior’s deep-pocketed investments.
There are still more dining options in other areas of the Chase Center, including an outdoor plaza called Thrive City where Gott’s and Michael Mina will have outposts.
There’s still more to be announced as the stadium nears its debut in September, when Metallica and the San Francisco Symphony will perform together.