For two weeks each year the Sony Open at the Crandon Tennis Center on Key Biscayne becomes part of the run-up to the Wimbledon tennis tournament in England, which in 2013 will take place June 24-July 7.
Great Performances, based in New York City, owns the 60-acre organic Katchkie Farm in Kinderhook, NY. This is the seventh year that the company has brought its expertise at offering fresh locally grown food to its “performance” at the Sony Open.
“All the tomatoes we use are grown locally in Homestead by Michael Borek under the trade name of Teena’s Pride,” says Dean Martinus, president of Great Performances.
“Great Performances put out a bid and my mother, Teena Borek, responded,” says Michael Borek, tomato grower and Teena’s son. “We grow 160 acres of tomatoes. During the Sony Open, we sell about 100 boxes of tomatoes twice a week to Great Performances. Our other customers are local chefs and Whole Foods Market.”
“The strawberries we use also are grown in Florida,” says Martinus.
This year Great Performances hired two Key Biscayne restaurants to be among its concessionaires.
Cristoforo Pignata from Naples owns two restaurants on Key Biscayne – Puntino Pizzeria, which provides pizza to the Sony Open; and and Puntino Key Biscayne Fine Italian Cuisine. Both restaurants occupy space in a shopping center at 260 Crandon Blvd.
“Typically we make about 100 pizza a day in our wood-burning oven,” says Pignata. “We are offering a slightly different pizza at the Sony Open, where we use an electric convection oven to finish off our pizza. There we are making over 1,200 pizzas a day, but we could make up to 3,000 a day.”
Novecento Bistro Argentino sells Argentinian beef. In addition to its Key Biscayne location, which opened in 2010, the company has a Brickell Avenue location that opened in 2004, and others in New York’s Soho section, Argentina, Mexico, and Uruguay.
Miami-based Sushi Maki shares a concession area with a Veuve Clicquot Lounge. In 2000, Sushi Maki opened its first restaurant in South Miami. It now has multiple locations, and provides sushi to Whole Foods Market and Milam’s Markets.
Other food concessions
Ben & Jerry’s is represented with a full-service ice-cream concession that makes a very good mango smoothie containing mango, banana, and apple juice. Great Performances also has nine Ben & Jerry’s carts scattered through the Sony Open grounds, selling four different Ben & Jerry’s ice cream novelty bars and one yogurt novelty bar.
Bacardi U.S.A. Inc. and Latin Café share a concession space. Bacardi, founded in Cuba 150 years ago, has a U.S. office in Coral Gables. Jose R. More opened the first Latin Café in 1998 and now has five in Brandon, Hialeah, and Miami. He has owned 11 other Latin cuisine restaurants in Miami.
Great Performances manages most of the other concessions in the Sony Plaza area. The Burger Joint serves several kinds of fresh-grilled burgers, with a separate grill for chicken breast and beef sirloin. One special offering is the Katchkie Farm veggie burger made from scratch with tomato jam from tomatoes grown at Great Performances’ farm. The farm also make Katchkie Ketchup, Thunder Pickles, and Katchkie Farm Bob-A-Que Sauce, which are ingredients in some of the Great Performances recipes served at the Sony Open.
Other Great Performances concessions
La Marqueta sells sandwiches, salads, Sushi Maki rolls, and hummus and chips.
Fiesta Burrito makes burritos to order, and has tortilla chips, salsa, guacamole, and frozen Margaritas.
Bombay Lounge’s signature cocktail is a Sapphire Ace Collins. To go with its beverages, Bombay Lounge serves shucked oysters, shrimp cocktail, and ceviche.
Corona Beach House is sponsored by Corona Extra beer, an ATP (Association of Tennis Professionals) World Tour and Sony Open sponsor.
Starbucks Café serves typical Starbucks drinks.
All Great Performances food outlets offer vegetarian and gluten-free products when appropriate.
In the center court stadium, Great Performances has carts and snack bars on all three floors selling stadium foods, including hot dogs, wraps, ice cream, roasted nuts, Corona beer, hot pretzels, fresh-squeezed lemonade, popcorn, and Ben & Jerry’s ice-cream bars; and Bacardi bars offering Bacardi and Martini beverages.
Stadium suite guests may choose from among five special food platters that are delivered to their suite. The selections are American BBQ, All Natural Hot Dog & Sausage, Asian Street Food, Argentinian Steakhouse, and Assorted Sushi Rolls & Sashimi.
The players’ dining area on the ground level of the center court stadium is closed to the public, but they may bring family and friends there. Everything served in that location is healthy and in ample supply: breakfast omelet with all the trimmings; pasta station for carbohydrates; Sushi Maki; salad bar; many kinds of pressed sandwiches; hot grilled items (citrus marinated chicken, prime beef burgers, chimichurri skirt steak, mahi-mahi filet, kosher beef hot dogs, turkey burger); daily entrée specials; and my favorite, Grab n’ Go, with more than 20 prepared-food items including muffins and yogurt.
The coconut yogurt is a favorite with the players. “We ran out and had to purchase more the first two days,” says Martinus.
The largest food selection is in the Sony Plaza area, within easy walking distance of the practice courts, where fans can watch through a fence as the players practice.
Great Performances operates three sit-down restaurants: the Collectors Club, the Champions Club and the Terrace.
The Collectors Club is a full-service restaurant across the main walkway from Center Court, open to members who pay a fee to join. Many menu items at the Collectors Club are unique to the Sony Open food service, including watermelon salad with feta cheese, mint, and chili-lime vinaigrette; a very good jumbo lump crab cake with grilled corn salsa; and Farmers BLT with fried egg, apple-smoked bacon, aged cheddar cheese, bib lettuce, tomato jam, and multi-grain bread.
The Champions Club, close to the practice court and other food outlets, is open to holders of level 100 and level 300 tickets. It serves food from buffet stations, including a grill, to-order pasta, Brazilian food, and a self-service salad bar.
The Terrace, in the Hospitality Village, is open all day and evening. It serves full meals and snacks, and its bar is always open.
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