St. Louis City Soccer Club enlists Gerard Craft as 'flavor officer' to develop its culinary options before 2023 opening
With the St. Louis City Soccer Club officially in the game for a 2023 kickoff, the franchise has deputized local James Beard Award winner Gerard Craft to help develop its stadium’s cuisine options as “flavor officer.” “It’s going to have more independent restaurants involved than probably any stadium in the world,” Craft said. “[It will reflect] the diversity of the city and of the sport.”
Craft’s game plan is to round up some of St. Louis’ most interesting and exciting restaurants and concepts and place them in the stadium in various capacities. This initiative will begin with asking the people of St. Louis to nominate their favorite spots and figures. “We’re taking recommendations – the first part of this journey is exploration," he said. "We’re looking to broaden the scope with the little gems from the community.” To participate, locals are encouraged to visit this website to submit their favorite restaurant in the city.
Craft said he anticipates over 20 concepts in the stadium, and that his Niche Food Group probably won’t have much presence. “This is less about Gerard and Niche and more about curating a list,” he explained. “It’s such an important part of St. Louis – we can’t just rely on the government to change downtown.” In his view, an influx of private equity to the city will bring smaller, more independent businesses into the mix and will encourage fans and diners to spend more time in the city supporting them.
A more comprehensive downtown culture is part of St. Louis City Soccer Club’s goal with the stadium; a representative for the franchise said that they hope fans will visit downtown earlier, before games, and leave later in order to explore the surrounding community. Craft added that between the Foundry opening soon and other new businesses going into the area, the city could become an even bigger attraction.
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