New Coliseum vendor could bring new changes to the old venue

New Coliseum vendor could bring new changes to the old venue.

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - After 41 years of the same concessions, there is a new vendor at the coliseum and, so far, people seem to be liking what they are serving.

A concert Saturday night with headliner 3 Doors Down gave those attending a chance to try the new food choices. It was the first large-scale event for the new caterer.

"[We have] new food that we've never served before, different ways of cooking it and preparing it and presenting it," said Matt McDonnell, executive director of the Mississippi Coast Coliseum and Convention Center.

When the previous vendor's contract expired earlier this year, the Coliseum decided to part ways with Aramark, selecting Levy Convention Centers as their new caterer. They say the decision was not a hard one to make.

"All of our food is of restaurant quality," said Frank Abbinanti, Levy's vice president of culinary. "We want you to come for the event but stay for the food."

The Chicago-based company partners with 23 other event venues across the country and are known for incorporating local flavors into their food.

"For example, one of our signature (items) is the Biloxi Blues Chips, which is a Cajun-spiced cheese sauce over fresh made potato chips, garnished with tomatoes and green onions," said Abbinanti.

Visitors to the Coliseum can also expect to see fresh burgers, salads, and seafood items on the menu.

"We take a lot of the local flavors. We partner a lot with local vendors. We really understand the market and what those flavors are, and you'll see that in a lot of our products," added Abbinanti.

Throughout the duration of their ten year contract with the Coliseum, Levy will invest about $2 million in equipment and other resources at the venue. Those investments will help the Coliseum evolve into a place that can sustain the constant changes of the new technological age.

"The things we will add over the next two years will be very noticeable to the public," said McDonnell. "It will provide better experiences when they come to the facility, new experiences, and those are the things that keep people coming back and paying more money to see these events."

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