The Petersen Events Center was opened back in 2001 and sits smack dab in the middle of the University of Pittsburgh’s campus in the suburb known as Oakland. It has been the home to Pitt basketball and other sports for 10 years now and on this day was hosting Pitt vs. Villanova.
The Panthers have been ranked in the top 10 of college basketball all season long and with a win, would clinch the outright Big East title and the #1 seed in the upcoming Conference tournament.
This also marked my first trip as one of those members of the wretched media, so as media types do, I stopped by the press room to see what was being served.
In this day and age of penny pinching, it’s not often you get a free meal. Pitt is kind enough to provide those covering the team a hot meal. This one included chicken fingers and french fries. There was a fruit plate also and a sweet tray that was lined with some good looking cookies and brownies that I didn’t try. That didn’t stop 93.7 The Fan Morning show host Gregg Giannotti for partaking.
(From L to R, Fan Morning show news anchor Jim Colony, evening news anchor Jon Burton and Fan Morning Show host Gregg Giannotti taking in the Pitt-Nova action)
I asked him about it and he quipped, ‘You know, it’s the classic media room food. It looks good, but afterwards, you regret eating it because they didn’t taste nearly as good I thought they would.”
Now as far as finding good eats while attending a hoops game at Pitt, your not going to find much. There are a few stands located inside the Pete, including the aptly named Fastbreak…
And what college basketball arena would be complete without a food stand named this…
I wasn’t coming for nachos or pretzles. I wanted to try the hot dog. Now what makes the hot dog served at the Petersen Events Center so special? Well it just happens to be a Smith’s Hot Dog.
Having lived near Erie for five years, I remember Smith’s hot dogs quite well as several of my fraternity brothers would bring them down for cookouts during my days at Edinboro. Smith’s began sponsoring Pitt Athletics back in 2009 and has seen their product take foot in Western, PA.
In addition to sponsoring Pitt, Smith’s now lays claim as the ‘official’ hot dog of the Pittsburgh Penguins at the new Consol Energy Center. The all beef, skinless dog was just as I remembered them. Smoky, filling and full of flavor.
As for the game itself, Pitt handled their business and beat Villanova to claim the Big East Regular Season crown and the #1 seed in front of the 5th largest crowd in the Petersen’s history. Next stop for the Panthers, The Big Apple and The Dance with visions of Houston dancing in their heads.
John Phillips is the author of this article and an avid sports fan and food junkie who blogs about the two on his website, www.foodandgamestv.ning.com