If you go to Cardinals Stadium . . . - East Valley Tribune: Sports

If you go to Cardinals Stadium . . .

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Posted: Friday, August 11, 2006 6:14 am | Updated: 4:48 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Need a quick rundown on the drive to Cardinals Stadium from the East Valley, places in the area to grab a drink, bite to eat or tailgate, or where to catch a move afterwards? If so, keep reading!

Getting there

Headed to Glendale to check out the new stadium (oh, and watch the Cardinals play)? Below is a list of times and distances from various points around the Valley:

Estimated From Miles drive time

Apache Junction High School 51.1 48 minutes

Chandler Fashion Center 38.0 35 minutes

Fountain Hills High School 46.3 49 minutes

Freestone Park, Gilbert 40.7 41 minutes

Mormon Temple, Mesa 35.7 55 minutes

ASU East, Southeast Mesa 49.6 51 minutes

Paradise Valley Country Club 17.9 37 minutes

Downtown Queen Creek 54.9 60 minutes (Ellsworth and Ocotillo)

Scottsdale CC, Scottsdale 34.3 42 minutes

Arizona State University, Tempe 27.6 30 minutes

But wait, there’s more

Not sure what else to do when in Glendale? Below are your best bets for food and entertainment near the stadium:

Pregame and postgame meals

With construction of Westgate City Center still ongoing, there aren’t any restaurants within walking distance of the stadium. That should change when the Yard House just north of the stadium, the first of several restaurants, is slated to open Oct. 22. Until then, the best choices are Applebee’s, 2.5 miles north at Northern and the Loop 101, or Arrowhead Town Center, which has a plethora of options in and around it, nine miles north at Bell Road and the 101.

Game and a movie

Want to stick around Glendale and catch the latest blockbuster? A 20-screen AMC multiplex just north of the stadium at Glendale and 95th avenues is scheduled to open in late October.

Area sports bars prepare for more Cardinals fans


When the Arizona Cardinals tee it up for the first time in their new Glendale stadium on Saturday, 63,400 fans will see the home team take on the defending Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers.

Along with getting business from ticket holders before and after games, area sports bar owners say they believe those not lucky enough to score tickets for games this season will take in t h e a c t i o n a t t h e i r establishments.

"I think sellout or not a lot of people look at footballgame days as a chance to get together and socialize with friends," said Charlie Nicastro, McDuffy’s general manager. "We’ve always had a strong draw for the NFL, but I think with the stadium being on this side of town it will only add to it."

Next door to McDuffy’s, which is located across from the Peoria Sports Complex, Fox and Hound also has big plans to take advantage of the NFL’s presence in the Northwest Valley.

"In talking to some of our regular patrons, quite a few have become season-ticket holders so I think there’s obviously a buzz about the Cardinals this season," said Jeff Runion, Fox and Hound general manager and managing partner. "We normally do well during the football season, but we’re expecting to do exceptionally well this season."

Ken Goodwin, the general manager of Max’s Restaurant and Sports Bar, said he thinks his locale, at 6727 N. 47th Ave. in Glendale will be the beneficiary of Cardinals fans who are unable to obtain tickets to the games.

"I’m thinking the impact should be a 10 to 20 percent increase in business compared to seasons past," he said. "Even if you don’t have tickets, people go there trying to get them. Once it gets close to game time, those that aren’t able to buy tickets are going to make their way to a sports bar. I think we might be the closest one to the stadium."

New establishments are being built at Westgate City Center, which surrounds the stadium.

Garduno’s Margarita Factory, Gordon Biersch and Yardhouse will add more dining and football-watching options closer to the stadium.

However, existing businesses say they offer the best viewing and dining options for fans.

Once the regular season rolls around, with the first Sunday games set for Sept. 10, all three establishments will open between 9 and 9:30 a.m., giving fans enough time to get breakfast prior to 10 a.m. kickoff.

All three venues also feature NFL Sunday Ticket, Direct TV’s exclusive football package which allows fans to see every game.

Runion’s facility offers five rooms with a total of 50 televisions.

"Each room will feature a different game, with the volume on for that game," the Fox and Hound GM said. "We’re going to be homers this year. The main room will be for the Cardinals, which hasn’t been the case in years past."

"In the past, a lot of the teams from the Midwest have been the most popular at our bar, but there’s a lot of talk about the Cardinals right now," said Nicastro, whose restaurant features 100 televisions. "People believe they’re going to be pretty good and with the new stadium there’s alot of excitement."

Good food always scores touchdown with fans


Football team’s colors; a very crisp tortilla filled with chicken and cheese; the Sonoran Desert Dog, a spicy sausage topped with red pepper and corn relish; and a dessert tortilla that is baked and coated in cinnamon sugar, served with fruit salsa and whipped cream.

The company also installed TurboTap at the stadium, which is an improved beer tap that pours the perfect draft up to four times faster.

"Centerplate’s goal is to get its guests out of concession lines quickly so they can get back to their seats to enjoy the game," Cullinane said.

At the club level, Centerplate will manage six concession areas, featuring stonefried pizza, the First Down Deli and Touchdown Tortilla, the latter offering tacos, burritos and nachos.

On the premium level, there will be six quad-shaped bars serving mixed drinks, wine and beer. And on the luxury loft level, fans will get a snack pack upon entrance and then will be able to order via a Web-based system.

"All of our locations are designed with a consistent look and theme, including the portable carts," Trotter said. "They have a specific look to match the Cardinals design theme."

For those not interested in themes or unique regional creations, there is always

One thing is for certain, you won’t be at a loss for food choices while attending an Arizona Cardinals football game in Glendale.

"Fans will have 310 fixed locations from which to purchase food and beverages, not including portable concessions," said Mark Dalton, director of public relations for the Cardinals. "Beer will be served at the ‘First Round Draft’ and the expanded and unique culinary offerings include Japanese cuisine at the AZian Wok, Mexican fare at Grande Rojo (Big Red), as well as Mr. B’s Barbecue in honor of team owner Bill Bidwill."

Centerplate, a company based in Spartanburg, S.C., will handle all the food and beverage in Cardinals Stadium, including all the concession stands, catering in luxury lofts and specialty foods on the club level.

The company — which has served food at 10 Super Bowls and nine U.S. Presidential Inaugural Balls — wanted to create a unique culinary environment for Cardinals Stadium.

"The Centerplate team at Cardinals Stadium did not employ a cookie cutter approach as it developed the food and beverage selections," said Dennis Cullinane, senior vice president for Centerplate. "This phenomenal new stadium, with the retractable field and the wonderful assortment of regional food items, is truly a marquee venue and demanded a truly unique approach."

"We have a talented staff who have worked very hard to provide fans with both traditional football favorites, as well as numerous regional items, some which are very unique," said Steve Trotter, Centerplate’s general manager at Cardinals Stadium.

Some of those unique regional items, created by e x e c u t i v e c h e f S e a n Cavanaugh, are: a Red Rage chicken tender, which is spicy and breaded from red corn tortillas to match the tailgating in the parking lot.

"You go to a tailgate to have a good time, eat, hang out with some good friends and see a good game," said Sun City West resident John Kelley. "And it’s even better when your team wins."

Kelley talks fom experience.

Since 1990 , he has attended one of the better tailgates in the Western United States, the annual Pigmillion in San Diego.

The event features a core group of friends buying a pig and then roasting it on a skillet beginning at 3 p.m. the Saturday before the Chargers home opener. The group would hang out in the parking lot overnight to keep watch over the pig, shoot the bull and attend the San Diego State game when there was one.

Some of the tailgaters would spend the night in their motor homes, others at nearby hotels. As soon as they woke up, they’d start to set up for the event — including tables, chairs, food, the Chargers Cannon, which fires off rounds on the field after the home team scores, and a statue of KFC’s Colonel Sanders sporting a Chargers helmet and holding a football.

"In its heyday, we would have more than 100 people attend," said Kelley. "Even the Chargers Girls would come out to the event as well."

The event cost $20 a person, which included tickets to the game, a Pigmillion T-shirt and all the food.

"Everything was there," Kelley said, including "pig, prime rib, salads and beer." He stressed "you go out there to have a good time, not get drunk."

A few years ago, Kelley said the city changed its codes and no longer allows tailgaters to spend the night in the parking lot, putting an end to the all-night roast.

"I miss those days, it was fun," Kelley said. "Now, we just have a big tailgate with about 30 to 40 people."

Kelley, a sales manager for a San Diego-based company, will attend this year’s home opener for the Chargers, and again do the tailgate thing.

His advice for would-be tail gaters at Cardinals Stadium:

"No. 1, make sure you are all Cardinals fans," Kelley said. From there, make sure "it’s your friends, you get good food, and get out early enough to enjoy it. Everything else is just dressing."

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