Originally Published at Atlanta Journal-Constitution by Jon Waterhouse
Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre at Encore Park in Alpharetta readies for its grand opening on May 10. The live music venue, which holds a maximum of 12,000 guests, will host everything from orchestral music to rock rave-ups. Since food is a key ingredient to these event experiences, that's quite a few bellies to fill.
"Food is an extremely important aspect," says Doug Drewes of Ovations Food Services, which manages the venue's food operations. "No matter what facility it is, today's customer expects the total event experience. ... This includes the value, service and quality of the food that's there."
The following is a guide to dining before, during and after a visit to Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre at Encore Park. Whether it's a picnic in the parking lot, an entree inside the venue or an after-show cocktail, here's a set list for consideration.
Looking for a snazzy preshow experience?
No outside food or drink are allowed inside the amphitheatre. If you want to bring your own, tail gating is an option. Here are a few tailgating suggestions to pair with some of the venue's upcoming shows. Pick up the phone and order in advance for pick up.
Ovations Food Services handles all of the amphitheatre Is grub. The lower plazas have two main cooking stands, dubbed Center Stage Markets, which bustle with such equipment as grills and fryers, These offerings run the gamut from Angus burgers, chicken satay skewers and rib sandwiches to loaded grilled sausages, taco salads and quesadillas. According to Ovations, most items are basically made to order and come unwrapped in an open boat.
Other concession stands have such standard fare as hot dogs, popcorn, soft pretzels and nachos. Various stands serve drinks including sodas, water, beer, wine and cocktails. Bruster's Ice Cream has a frosty presence, and kiosks shilling freshly roasted cinnamon nuts can be found on grounds, too.
A total of four different assortments of picnic baskets can be ordered in advance.
The box seat section has a-menu all its own. And the plazas offer Chef Express locations featuring prepackaged salads, wraps, sandwiches and more, geared toward those guests stretching out on the lawn.
A solid show may deserve a toast later. Several surrounding restaurants and bars offer cocktails, including the following:
Both The Eagles and Steely Dan have Wednesday night shows. In addition to offering a half -price sushi menu, Atlantic Seafood Company (2345 Mansell Road, Alpharetta) pours $5 martinis on Wednesdays. Guests tip back drinks amid bright and bold wall murals, pockets of colorful light and a bubbling tropical fish tank. The restaurant has a massive wine list and an admirable beer roster, too. Last call at the bar is 10 p.m. during the week and 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.
The Loafing Leprechaun (3070 Windward Plaza, Alpharetta) has its own Wednesday specials. All wine, by the bottle or glass, is half-price. And hump day spotlights the bar's beer of the month. Every time a customer orders the beer of the month, he or she scores a 22- ounce glass featuring the respective brew's logo. May's beer of the month is Dos Equis Amber. The staff says last call is at midnight, but they'll stick around if the- crowd is good. Loafing Leprechaun also offers paying customers free shuttle service to and from the amphitheatre.
The Locos Grill & Pub (11770 Haynes Bridge Road, Alpharetta) has late -night hours for nightcaps. It stays open until midnight Sundays -Wednesdays and until 2 a.m. Thursdays - Saturdays. Running low on cash after a Friday night concert? The bar serves 22- ounce Pabst Blue Ribbon and Coors Light beers for $3 each on Fridays. The late -night menu includes the popular chicken wings.
Jersey Mike's Subs CateringPhoto by Phil Skinner