SAN ANTONIO – The Spurs are looking for some new teammates this season in the food department. Spurs Sports & Entertainment (SS&E) and Aramark are looking for local, minority-owned restaurants to participate in the second year of their culinary residency program.
Four restaurants will be chosen to showcase their menu at the program’s dedicated concession stand inside the AT&T Center throughout the 2022-23 Spurs season.
“We have been striving over the last few years to get more local, to reflect the city that we represent,” said Kevin Barker, SSE Senior Manager Culinary Experience.
The program, which started last season, brings together minority chefs and locally-owned restaurants to keep food fresh and current inside the AT&T Center.
Ma Harper’s Creole Kitchen, Tony G’s Soul Food, The Lord’s Kitchen and BallHoggs BBQ were all part of the program last season.
“Over the last few years, we put a lot of effort and focus into making sure that our food has gotten more diverse,” Barker said.
But it’s not all about adding more food options to the menu. Helping minority businesses grow is also a key part of the program.
“Historically, minority-owned businesses face inequities when it comes to trying to get access to capital, grow their business exposure,” said Morgan Jones, SSE Sr. Manager of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging Strategy.
This season, restaurant owners will also be able to take part in a business mentorship program coordinated by SSE’s Impact team that includes training in areas such as social media, marketing, graphic design and finance and accounting.
“Our role in this is to be able to help amplify their businesses. And we’re hoping that by fans coming here in the arena and experiencing their food, it drives them to their brick and mortar,” Jones said.
SSE officials said it’s free for restaurant owners to apply for the program and all staff, food and ingredients will be provided at no-cost for the restaurants that are selected.
Restaurants will work with SSE and Aramark to plan and prepare for their signature dishes to be sold during Spurs home games.
The culinary residency program concession stand will be located on the balcony level concourse next to the H-E-B Fan Zone.
The four eateries will take turns being the featured restaurant at the dedicated concession stand for nine games each.
The deadline to apply is Aug. 15 and Barker said dozens of local eateries have already applied to be a part of the program, each with their own unique story to share.
“There are a lot of compelling stories on who deserves and wants and should be a part of the program,” Barker said. “We’re representing San Antonio, so we need to offer food that represents our city as well.
“We’re focused on building leaders and legacies where we live, learn, work and play. So, everything that we do is centered around equity,” Jones said. “No matter if you are an employee or you are a fan, anytime you step into our arena or at our soccer game or up at Austin Spurs game, you feel like you have a safe space for belonging.”
Restaurant owners that would like to apply can fill out an online application.