Have you ever gone to an event at an arena, stadium, etc. and grabbed food from concession stands? If you answered “yes!”, this review is for you! This weekend we got the honor and privilege to watch my daughter compete in the State Wrestling Tournament at CHI Health Center Omaha. With the many hours of being at the venue, it was inevitable that we would at some point visit one of the counters or stands.
On our first day, my wife packed a cooler, so that we could go out to the car and tailgate between the 2 Friday sessions. We had sandwiches, fruit, chips and drinks. While that did help, we were at the CHI from about 11:30am to 9:00pm. That is a long day, and my daughter and I made a stop out to the concession stand. As we stood in line, I tried to get a view of the menu items. The first thing that stood out was that a slice of pizza was $7. Holy shirt! What the fork is on that pizza? $7 for one slice?! I know, I know…that is what you should expect when going to an event. I did see someone that ordered one, and I will say that it was at least a nicely sized slice. We’ll get back to the price soon. I can promise you that!
Our first order included a large popcorn, a Bavarian Pretzel with the extra cheese cup, crinkle cut fries and a fountain soda. The popcorn was what you would expect from a concession stand. It wasn’t overly or under salted. We eat a lot of popcorn at our house. Ordering that was a must!
The pretzel was a good size and thick. The texture was good, it was a warm temp and there was a great softness to it. Sometimes you can get screwed by those hard pretzels that have been hanging too long or they are cold. No complaints on the pretzel itself. I’m more of a mustard on my pretzel kind of guy, but my daughter wanted the cheese. Even though I prefer mustard, the warm cheese was a nice addition.
Fries! I LOVE fries! “I’m a potato” fiend. They had crinkle cut fries available and the only thing that would have kept me from ordering them would have been the cost. They were served in a little paper box that we were able to close after adding ketchup on top. When we got back to our seat, I opened the box and started to eat them (after hand sanitizing of course). No salt! Who dropped the ball and didn’t put salt on my damn fries? The inhumanity!!! Lol. Other than that, the fries were okay.
I lifted the lid on my soda and noticed that it wasn’t full. I know that they are moving fast trying to serve a lot of people and the fizz can slow down the process. That is understandable, but I just paid $1 million dollars for my order, so a full soda would be appreciated. “Come along, you belong, feel the fizz of Coo-Coo Cola” Was that random? Where are my old heads at? If you grew up on Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers like I did, you might know what I’m talking about. If you don’t, here you go: Coo-Coo Cola.
Day 2 was a tough one. I’m not even referring to the wrestling matches, though those were tough as well. It was cold, so we weren’t going to sit in the parking lot and tailgate. I guess we could have walked to go and grab a bite, but that was a lot of work. So, being at the venue from about 7:30am to 7:00pm, required a stop at the concessions. Oh, that’s even with us sneaking in some of our own snacks from home. Yeah, I’m not ashamed of that. I only wish I had some of my old jeans from the 90’s that allowed me to put bags of chips and bottles of soda in my pockets and pant legs.
As it was an early start, my wife got a coffee. It was ONLY $8. Lol. I didn’t ask her how it was, but at that time of the day, it may have been worth it to her. Then again, after standing in that line, maybe it wasn’t. Later in the day, my daughter wanted a smoothie, so my wife again stood in that long line. This time she only spent $7 on a small smoothie. I can’t do anything, but chuckle as I write this. The smoothie wasn’t great. My daughter didn’t even drink much of it. I was so annoyed! Especially, since the line was moving so slow that my wife had to run back to our seats because she thought that she was going to miss my other daughter’s match. Not wanting to take an even bigger “L”, I drank the smoothie myself. It was supposed to be strawberry banana, but I didn’t taste any banana. It was tart too! I wouldn’t order that again.
Such a long day…I’m getting hungry again. Okay, I guess I’ll go and hit up the concession stand one more time. Is there a loan officer in the building?
Some of the kids sitting around us had the Chicken Tenders Basket and they smelled awesome! By this time my oldest was done wrestling and she asked for popcorn. Did I mention she got 4th place at 120lbs in the first ever NSAA sanctioned Girl’s State Wrestling Tournament? Yes, she sure did! Yes, you can definitely have a popcorn or whatever else you want. You earned it!
I ordered a chicken tenders basket, large popcorn and a soda. No fountain soda at this particular stand. Alright, one bottled soda please. It was ONLY $4.50/bottle. Clearly, I’m balling out of control at this point and I’m like, “I got this!” That’s not really how it went, but I’m just glad that I didn’t cry! I didn’t cry, but if you would have heard the words that came out of my wallet’s fold. Not rated PG! At least I could be assured that my bottle would be full.
Okay, I’ll be serious for a moment and get back to the food. Let me tell you, the chicken tenders were TASTY! I don’t think that was just me being hungry either. I legitimately believe they were good. Crispy and a well-seasoned breading. One of my daughter’s friends also mentioned that “they were so good!” To my surprise, the fries were seasoned this time. I don’t know who made this batch, but they need to go and talk to the person at the other stand and hip them to the game. That was the best $11.50 that I spent over the 2 days. I would eat one of those baskets right now. Would have been a good snack for writing this.
Tips? There is a tipping option? What in the world?
So, I was confused by this and couldn’t understand why tips are now asked for when paying. I was like, I guess…I’ll hit the 10%. Kind of figured that someone working could use it. After all, they are working hard. Later, I found that the workers are usually volunteers. We’ve known a family that has volunteered for years for their daughter’s dance studio. I don’t know how it all works out, but they should have bigger signage to let people know. Many people are probably like me and just default to some sort of tip that also comes with a bit of confusion. It’s still a bit odd to me.
I don’t go to events too often and that is in part because of prices. I don’t like spending money when I feel like I’m being taken advantage of. I don’t mind people making money, but $5 for a Gatorade, $6.50 for Cotton Candy and $2 for a cup of cheese are just a few examples of the ridiculousness of event venues sticking it to people. Arthur Blank, owner of the Atlanta Falcons, made affordable prices happen at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta years ago. That is proof that it can be done. I feel like someone somewhere is just trying to live like Scrooge McDuck and swim in money.
This review boils down to the costs for people going out to events.
I give CHI a 2 Fatties. Have you been? If so, what do you think venue prices? Please leave your comment.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read my thoughts on food. You are amazing!