Michael Mina's Tailgate Experience at Levi's® Stadium

Michael Mina's Tailgate Experience at Levi's® Stadium
  • Chef Michael Mina used to tailgate at the old 49ers stadium, so it made perfect sense to open the Michael Mina's Tailgate at the Levi's Stadium. 

  • Ken Schwartz, FCSI consultant helped to design the concept's seafood boiling stations and all the custom kitchen equipment.

Football season is back and with it comes amazing food, amazing fans, and of course, a whole lot of showmanship. In this episode of “BUILT.,” see the sights and the sounds of Michael Mina's Tailgate experience at the San Francisco 49ers’ Levi’s® Stadium and learn how passion and vision can come together to create a foodservice operation that doesn't shy away from going big! (The only “going home” is guests going home happy.)

Levi’s® Stadium officially opened its doors on Sept. 14, 2014, when the 49ers took on the Chicago Bears. The state-of-the-art, 1.3 billion-dollar-stadium-seat venue (that can fit just below 70,000 people) has 8,500 club seats and 165 luxury suites. That is a lot of mouths to feed. When the stadium was in its early design phases, the York family, who own the 49ers, knew that they wanted to elevate the foodservice operation. So, they reached out to James Beard Award-winning chef and avid 49ers fan Michael Mina.

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Restaurant Design: How SSA Nails Down Their Clients' Design Needs

On this episode of “On Foodable Side Dish,” we learn about SSA, a foodservice design and consulting firm that prides itself on putting their clientele first.

Ken Schwartz, president and CEO of the 29-year-old firm, believes in becoming their client’s strategic partner and biggest advocate in order to accomplish their vision.

“I think a lot of designers design for themselves, and I think we are one of the few firms that really design for the client,” said Schwartz.

They fulfill their objective by involving their creative team of designers and technical visionaries very early into each project.

“We realize everybody is going to be very critical of our work…. We wanted to criticize our work before it ever left our office...so we welcome that input and that input gets folded into the project,” Schwartz said.

SSA’s approach is to sit back and listen to the client and understand the entire project as a whole before dissecting it area by area, to hone in on how the operation will function and succeed.

Ken Schwartz adds that by being a solution-based design team, they can exceed expectations by designing tools that really benefit their clients, or can overcome challenges with buildings themselves in terms of ventilation, refrigeration, design limitations, and more.

SSA has clients in over 20 different countries and their portfolio includes Hard Rock International, Dean & Deluca, InterContinental, Marriott, Morgan Hotel Group, Microsoft, Dell, Johnson & Johnson, Pepsico, Michael Mina Group, Scott Conant Management and many others.

Watch the full episode now!