Chefs and restaurateurs gather to get ready to feed fans at the 2023 US Open. | Photo courtesy of US Tennis Association by Jennifer Pottheiser
Fans attending the 2023 US Open Tennis Tournament can expect to be wowed by the courtside culinary action along with the exciting matches on the courts. Hospitality partner Levy Restaurants assembled 29 top chefs and restaurateurs to offer their specialties at dining venues scattered throughout the tennis complex in Flushing, N.Y.
The matches began Monday and extend over the next two weeks, starring the world’s best tennis players.
“Many fans are here most of the day watching tennis, and the matches go through lunch and dinner,” said Jim Abbey, VP of culinary for Levy at the US Open. “About 40% of guests are international and they’re looking for the local flavors of New York, not traditional stadium fare. We partner with local chefs and restaurants who can offer a good mix of foods.”
Some of these partnerships have been going on for 17 years, like the one with renowned seafood restaurateur Ed Brown—the first chef to join. He is serving some of his seafood signatures at on-site restaurant ACES, joined by sushi master chef Masaharu Morimoto and James Beard Award winner Kwame Onwuachi of NYC’s Tatiana restaurant—a newbie at the Open.
David Burke, another US Open veteran chef, is back running Mojito, his Latin-themed concept, a stand-alone restaurant on the premises. “Ed Brown encouraged me to join, and my first year, I made pasta in the shape of a tennis racquet,” said Burke. This year, he created a seafood ceviche for the “Flavors of the Open” event that kicked off the culinary activity on Aug. 24. Onwuachi served up black bean hummus with M’semen, a Moroccan flatbread, while Food Network star Alexandra Guarnaschelli cooked up cavatappi pasta with yellow tomato sauce.
But not all the chefs are well-known food personalities. “We’re partnering with small restaurants and up-and-coming chefs as well as celebs,” said Abbey, adding that women-owned and minority businesses are well represented.
New this year in the US Open’s Food Village is Melba’s, where Harlem restaurateur Melba Wilson is serving up signatures like Tres Mac & Cheese, Country Fried Fish Po’Boys and Red Velvet Cake. The Migrant Kitchen is also a first-timer, reflecting the migration of tastes from the Middle East to Latin America. On the menu are a Lamb Torta Sandwich, Fattoush Salad and Hand-Pressed Empanadas. King Souvlaki is making its debut with an array of Greek street foods, and Crown Shy, a Michelin-starred restaurant, is coming in with beef and chicken sandwiches, a tomato and peach salad and Sticky Toffee Pudding.
Returnees include Fuku with its Spicy Fried Chicken Sando; Korilla BBQ serving up Kimcheese Fries and Bulgogi Rice Bowls; San Matteo NYC with Neapolitan pizza topped with a whole burrata; and The Crabby Shack with its sought-after lobster and crab rolls. Eataly also is a fan favorite, as is Poke Yachty, Benjamin Steakhouse, Taqueria Nixtamal and Van Leeuwen. That ice cream chain created an exclusive flavor for the 2023 tournament: Honeycomb Fudge Slam.
There are also tennis-themed cocktails, including the Honey Deuce, the signature of the US Open. It’s made with Grey Goose vodka, Chambord, a splash of lemonade and a garnish of honeydew melon balls. According to Levy, 1.2 million melon balls will be served during the course of the tournament.
Chef Abbey has a team of 250 tasked with preparing all these items across seven restaurants, 60 concession stands and 90 suites. The dining options first became available during Fan Week (Aug. 22-27) and will continue operations from Aug. 28-Sept. 10, when the Men’s Final concludes the tournament.
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