In-person sporting events are back on in Los Angeles County as part of the area’s current orange tier coronavirus pandemic reopening status. That’s good news for SoFi Stadium, the massive Inglewood stadium and surrounding development project that is home to both the Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Chargers. Last year was supposed to be the stadium’s coming out party, christened at the outset with a massive concert from Taylor Swift, but the pandemic scuttled those plans completely. Now the stadium is back, and finally ready for its big reveal.
So what does that mean on the food front? Jon & Vinny, for one.
The star chef duo Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo, known for their eponymous restaurants as well as Animal, Son of a Gun, and others — including the recent purchase of Cookbook Market — have inked a deal with the SoFi folks to turn out several different menus on property. Each is meant to act as a tentpole dining experience, playing off of traditional stadium food married with California sensibilities. These won’t be the only options for dining inside the stadium, given the massive scope of the building and surrounding Hollywood Park development area, but they’re likely to be the most talked-about.
So what are Jon & Vinny actually cooking? That remains to be seen. Per the SoFi team, a weekly video drop on the stadium YouTube page will showcase each of the four new food setups, with the rest of the lineup of vendors inside the football stadium to be named later.
This isn’t the first time that Jon & Vinny have partnered with a larger brand to bring food at scale to the masses. The fellas picked up a contract for meatballs and other dishes with Delta Airlines back in 2018. This new SoFi journey, though, will likely touch tens of thousands of diners come gameday in the fall, making the partnership with Legends and their executive chef Robert Biebrich and Legends Vice President of Culinary Innovation Gretchen Beaumarchais the biggest co-branded deal from them to date.
As for the stadium itself, expect more details on all the vendors and cooking options in the coming months. SoFi reps tell Eater that the the concessions spaces will be unique in their own right, with lots of open glass into the kitchen areas and big view to the field below and the scene outside. Each concession kitchen will also have its own gas setups, meaning actual live-fire cooking throughout the property.
Of course, the stadium and its development is not without controversy, particularly because of the uncertain future for so many renters, unhoused people, and small businesses (particularly restaurants) in the area. Inglewood businesses have been hard hit during the pandemic, and these days, with the stadium’s opening on the horizon, many of them are simply holding on and hoping that the coming boom times trickle down to them as well.