Judging from the crowds overwhelming the food concessions at the renovated Nassau Coliseum on opening night Wednesday, you’d think they were giving food away. Not exactly.
Almost all of the selections — chicken quesadilla from Cabo (Rockville Centre), meatball pizza burger from Vincent’s (Carle Place), Roast’s buffalo chicken sandwich (Melville and Hicksville), lamb and beef gyro from GreeKrave (Deer Park), pizza Margherita from New Hyde Park’s Umberto’s — were in the $10 to $12 range.
But serving thousands of customers in the 110-minute window between the doors opening at 6:30 p.m. and Billy Joel launching into “Miami 2017” at 8:20 p.m. meant that vendors had to devise strategies for maximum speed and efficiency.
That meant that Umberto’s pizzas, served in a beer garden near the main entrance (the only venue with seats) had been made at the mother ship in New Hyde Park and shipped frozen to the Coliseum. Smokin’ Al’s did its smoking at its BBQ restaurant in Massapequa; sandwiches of pulled pork and brisket were assembled to order.
Levy Restaurants, the food-service operator for NYCB Live’s Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, selected the vendors for its Long Island Taste program, and provided all the staff. Also on the concourse: dogs and fries provided by Nathan’s, headquartered in Jericho, and Prime Food Distributor, a leading metropolitan area meat wholesaler based in Port Washington, was serving burgers at PFD Ground.
There was also plenty to drink. Cocktails and wines dotted the concourse, courtesy of Port Washington-based Palm Bay International, an importer of wine and spirits. On the beer front, many local breweries were represented, including Bluepoint, Greenport Harbor, Lithology (Farmingdale) and Long Ireland (Riverhead). Beers are available on draft and in cans ($10 to $15.)
Oyster Bay Brewing Co. made the scene with the entirely venue-appropriate Alexa, a double IPA named for “The Downeaster Alexa,” Joel’s song about the struggles of Long Island baymen, and the namesake of his daughter Alexa Ray Joel.