Betsy Freeman Omaha World-Herald
OMAHA — Last year, Levy Restaurants played it safe with food for the College World Series due to the pandemic.
Believing that fans would crave familiarity after a year away from the stadium, the company introduced just a handful of new offerings focused on classic stadium food.
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This year, new Executive Sous Chef Alec Wukman jumped out of that comfort zone.
Its menu includes more than 10 new dishes with atypical ingredients. For example, shrimp slaughter with Cajun remoulade and a vegetarian appetizer with cauliflower.
“I definitely wanted to change last year’s approach to a wide range of flavors,” Wukman said. “All of this is what I like, made more interesting and non-standard.”
Wukman, from Crofton, is a graduate of the Culinary Arts Institute at Metropolitan Community College. He has also worked for Levy for seven years, a nutrition company at Charles Schwab Field and CHI Health Center Omaha.
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He was promoted to his current job, which includes creating and coordinating CWS meals, about six months ago.
It was exciting, he says, because developing the CWS menu was his career goal. He immediately started working on it.
Here’s what he came up with, starting with two things he thinks are the most unusual:
Cauliflower and babies: The vegetables are fried crispy in a spicy batter and served with potato tortillas and curry aioli. According to Wukman, this is the only vegetarian product.
Chicken in brine: Chicken breast is fried until crispy, then served with a thin slice of dill brine, fried pickles and aioli sauce with sweet pickles in bread and butter.
“It’s definitely fun on the CWS,” he said.
Chicken and waffle fries: Small pieces of fried chicken breaded with bacon and maple sriracha aioli sauce.
About Dog: Grilled hot dog topped with queso, grilled diced steak, green onions and homemade sauce.
Jalapeno Popper Dog: Grilled and topped with bacon, homemade jalapeno jam, cream cheese and roasted jalapeno peppers. Dirty and tasty.
Slugger: 14″ Italian Boiled Beef Sandwich with giardinieri and melted cheese on top.
Shrimp Po’Boy: Grilled giant prawns with lettuce, tomato and light Cajun remoulade. It is a pity that there is no LSU this year.
Braised brisket at the stadium: Tender meat on a bun with caramelized onions and arugula. Delicious in its simplicity.
Italian sub: Everything you need: ham, salami, capicola, red onion, oil and vinegar, lettuce and tomatoes.
Chicken Parm: A classic Italian restaurant dish on a sandwich.
Grilled sweet chili ribs: Small ribs on the bone with cabbage and carrot leaf.
Jalapeno Artichoke Sauce: Hot cream cheese sauce with small pieces of jalapeno and sticky cheddar crust.
Brother Up Burger: Made with beef patty, sausage patty and caramelized onions.
Reese’s Peanut Butter Cookies: A gooey and delicious dessert with a whole cup of peanut butter on top.
Wukman said past season favorites like NachOmaha will be back on the shelves.
There are two new lounge vendors this year: Sticky Stuff Confections, which will sell colored corn in section 132, and eCreamery, which will sell ice cream at the club level, said Alex Cross, Levy’s director of concessions and retail.
Regular suppliers include Sno Floss, Dippin’ Dots, Shaved Ice, Oklahoma Joe’s BBQ and Maui Wowi.
Pint 9, Kinkaider, Kros Strain, Brickway and Glacial Till are craft beer and cider vendors.
Each year, certain Levy items are only offered in suites and club locations. This year it’s ribs, chicken and waffles, cookies and jalapeno sauce.
This year there will be more of them at the stadium.
“We tried not to go crazy thinking we couldn’t afford it for the masses,” he said.