Dish of the Day: Grilled Italian Sausage Hero
As much as any tournament out there, the U.S. Open reflects its New York City setting: Hard courts that are the sporting equivalent of pavement and asphalt, a sea of spectators that rivals Grand Central Station at rush hour, night matches that stretch into the wee hours—proving that, like the city, sometimes our visiting athletes never sleep, either. The Open also shares New York's devotion to great food, from simple, everyday pleasures to sophisticated restaurant cuisine.
Throughout the tournament, between matches and during rain delays, I'll be prowling the grounds of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, checking out the food and drink on offer, and pointing visitors to some of the more noteworthy grub available on the grounds, highlighting a Dish of the Day for each of the Open's fifteen installments. Check back here to see what's worth lining up for, hidden gems at lesser-known outposts, and new offerings that are bound for legend status. Enjoy the tennis, and save room for dessert.—Andrew
In addition to his duties as an editor at-large for TENNIS, Andrew Friedman writes about food, chefs, and the restaurant industry. He has written or co-written more than 25 chef-focused books and cookbooks and chronicles his travels in the culinary world on his website, Toqueland.
Day 1: Grilled Italian Sausage Hero with Peppers and Onions
Where: Franks & Fries concession stands (Food Village and stadiums)
Every year, after the U.S. Open draws to a close, the gastronomic team at Levy Restaurants—which took over the tournament's daunting foodservice program in 2006—begins an annual assessment of dishes and drinks, deciding which will live to see another year and which will be retired in favor of new concepts. One offering that, happily, endures tournament after tournament, is this satisfying link of pork and fennel sausage, lightly grilled along with sweet peppers and onions, all of them served up on a soft but durable bun.
The Open's food program has been admirably and consistently expanded to include ever-more-sophisticated fare, but thankfully, there's still room for a no-frills classic like this, which, with its evocation of outer borough street fairs, is quintessentially New York. The hero is also portable, so easy to eat on the run as you hustle for a seat at the big match that's about to start, or even as you queue up for said match. And, during this tournament that dependably ushers in the first chilly nights of autumn, it's the perfect way to say farewell to summer, even as you say hello to the Open.