The Washington Times - February 17, 2009, 11:48AM

The Nationals mentioned this at their fan fest last month, but they formally announced Tuesday that they will have their third food vendor in as many years, as Levy Restaurants will replace Centerplate as the concessionaire for the upcoming year.

Levy Restaurants is also the food vendor at Verizon Center. The company is based in Chicago and is the food concessionaire to the White Sox and Cubs, along with the Pirates, Diamondbacks and Dodgers.


The Nationals said Levy will serve “traditional ballpark fare and upscale menu items, featuring regional dishes and innovative versions of D.C.’s favorites.” Some of the company’s chefs have won the James Bear Foundation Award for food service and in 2003, the company became the first sports and entertainment firm to win the Ivy Award.

(Here’s a list of the awards they’ve won, though it’s worth noting that some of these award are for the company’s restaurants, not their stadium service.)

Last year, the Nationals announced with considerable fanfare that Centerplate would replace Aramark as the team’s food vendor, after several years of complaints about food service at RFK Stadium. But service still wasn’t perfect last year, as fans complained of long lines, lukewarm food and less-than-stellar service. While the team had signed a multi-year deal with Centerplate, it was able to get out of the contract after the team was acquired by private equity firm Kohlberg and Company.

“We’re thrilled to team up with the Washington Nationals to provide exceptional food and hospitality to fans at the beautiful and cutting-edge Nationals Park,” said Andy Lansing, President and CEO of Levy Restaurants said in a release from the team. “We have great respect for what the entire Nationals organization has accomplished in bringing this team to Washington D.C. and building this incredible ballpark, and we look forward to creating Levy signature dishes and a first-class dining experience for generations of Nationals fans.”

- Tim Lemke