When we first visited SoFi Stadium last year (and even after our most recent visit), we left with one lingering question: But what about the food? Sure, the Inglewood NFL stadium had some generically-named concessions, but there was no word yet about any only-in-L.A. kind of culinary touches. Now though, the home of the Rams and Chargers is busting out the big (son of a) guns.
Last month, SoFi Stadium announced that Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo created a new food program for the venue. And now we know exactly what sort of meaty, bready, cheesy and saucy dishes to expect from the James Beard award-winning chefs behind carnivore fave animal, the nautical Son of a Gun and pizza and pasta joint Jon & Vinny’s.
The four stadium concessions—collectively referred to as L.A. Eats—are all inspired by and named after notable L.A. streets. All of them will open in time for the start of the NFL season and—maybe the most convenient news for ticket holders—all will be available on every single level of the utterly massive stadium. Here’s a look at everything you’ll be able to eat.
Named after Downtown’s historical passageway of Mexican restaurants and vendors, the final menu to be announced is all about slow-cooked meats and gooey cheese. The signature burrito, available either with braised beef barbacoa or smoky chicken tinga, folds its meat, rice, refried beans and crushed tortilla chips into a fresh flour tortilla from local fave Burritos La Palma.
Of course, no stadium would be complete without a heaping plate of nachos, and Jon & Vinny have you covered there: the deluxe nachos include salsa macha, green onions, black olives, chopped tomatoes, sour cream and pickled jalapeños, all sprinkled atop a layer of warm queso and crunchy chips.
Elsewhere on the Olvera Street menu, you’ll find Mexican shrimp cocktail, crispy tacos in both potato and shrimp varieties, and a dessert dubbed the “super fudgy brownie.”
The concept closest to Jon & Vinny’s own stomping grounds pays homage to that shopping district’s old-school roots (think: Canter’s, the Original Farmers Market) with some classic dishes turned into over-the-top subs. Enter the cheeseburger sub, an elongated sandwich-sized take on a burger that tops a long and skinny beef patty with American cheese, pickles and a secret sauce on a buttered Martin’s potato bun. (There’s a veggie burger version, as well.)
You’ll find a similarly sized sub topped with chicken salad, in an homage to the district’s long-running delis. The chicken salad sub piles creamy, house-pulled chicken on a buttered Martin’s bun with pickles, lettuce and tomato, plus sea salt potato chips on the side.
The rest of the Fairfax menu takes its cues from stadium staples and California coffee shops, with vegan chili, a City Link hot dog, jalapeño cheddar sausage, chips and queso, and chocolate chip cookies.
Taking its name from the Westside street’s pile-up of bistros and trattoria’s (where you’ll find a Brentwood outpost of Jon & Vinny’s), San Vicente goes big on dough and cured meats. It’s home to maybe the most ludicrous item on any of the four menus, and also the one at the top of our to-try list: the stromboli dog. The duo have taken a City Link hot dog and wrapped it in a trio of cold cuts (capicola, mortadella and salami) and provolone, all of which are then then baked inside of pizza dough and served with a side of red sauce to present a puffy, stadium-ready twist on the rolled Italian favorite.
Of course, with Jon & Vinny behind the menu, you can expect plenty of pizza, too: the thick-cut, pan-baked pies come baked on Sadie Rose focaccia bread and come topped with a mix of marinara, mozzarella and parmesan, and pepperoni.
Other highlights include house-bend meatballs, kale and gem lettuce salad, and chocolate pudding.
And in a nod to West L.A.’s wealth of Japanese restaurants, the Sawtelle portion of the menu is bringing some Japantown tastes down the 405. The crispy chicken sandwich comes topped with special slaw, eel sauce and sriracha mayo. And the tsunami tots come dressed with all the sauces and seasonings: eel sauce, spicy kewpie mayo, sriracha, furikake and togarashi, to name just a few.
If you insist on something green, the sesame ginger salad mixes kale, gem lettuce, mandarin oranges, cashews and carrots with an in-house ginger dressing. Other highlights here include almond panna cotta and farmers’ market vegetables with miso dip.
The duo starting unveiling the four concepts above weekly, beginning in late April, on the stadium’s YouTube channel. All four have been honed after hundreds of development hours in an Inglewood test kitchen, and each one is centered around a live-fire, open kitchen with a clear view of the on-field action.
“The opening of SoFi Stadium is a monumental and historical moment for the city of Inglewood, City of Champions,” said Jon and Vinny in a statement. “We are super excited to be part of the L.A. Eats program at SoFi Stadium. The stadium, along with [hospitality company] Legends, has made it incredibly easy for us to transform how people think about stadium food.”
Stadiums in L.A. County can currently open with in-state attendees in the stands, with limited capacity and modified concession service. But with California set to fully reopen by June 15, plenty more football fans should be able to try everything that Jon & Vinny are cooking up in time for the start of the season in September.