Barclays Center concession will serve organic, gluten-free food

It’s open! Ceremonial ribbon-cutting marks Barclays Center debut
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

It really is Brooklyn’s arena.

Snack vendors at the Barclays Center plan to serve organic pumpkin seeds and gluten-free beer and hot dogs from a portable cart, says the company providing grub at the new home of the Brooklyn Nets.

The firm Levy Restaurants decided to make the new arena the only NBA stadium with an organic-and-gluten-free concession after conducting a survey that revealed a demand for foods that would fit right in on the shelves of the Park Slope Food Co-op.

Once the company had the data, it concocted a plan to feature grub that reflects the identity of the borough, said Levy Restaurants operations director Julie Margolin.

“We wanted to go a little less traditional route,” Margolin said. “We started to hear about more and more dietary needs and restrictions.”

The diet-conscious cart-on-wheels will feature a Kinnikinnick-bunned hotdog that’s gluten free ($5.95), cheesy popcorn that’s fine for folks suffering from celiac disease ($4.95), and Redbridge beer made without wheat or barley ($9) after the basketball season begins this fall.

Margolin said a growing number of people — roughly 1 in 130 — are allergic to gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye products.

Levy Restaurants previously set up gluten-free carts baseball and soccer stadiums in Seattle, Chicago, and Salt Lake City — but the concession will be the first of its kind for hoops fans.

Vegan chef Neal Harden, who cooks gluten-free meals at Maimonide Of Brooklyn just a few blocks away, is happy to see the arena thinking outside the burger-box.

“It’s great — sports fans are more dynamic than people give them credit for,” said Harden, who expects his eatery will host plenty of Nets game-goers. “The branding of the arena is well thought-out and in-sync with the ‘Brooklyn hipster’ image, even down to the jerseys — so this is no surprise.”

The cart joins a number of dining options that feature gluten at the newly opened stadium, including outposts from Brooklyn eateries such as L&B Spumoni Gardens, Calexico, and Brooklyn Farmacy.

Reach reporter Natalie O'Neill at [email protected] or by calling her at (718) 260-4505.