Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre needs Outdoor vendors!

The choices of decent food that one can buy at stadium events are often inferior to that of what some nearby diners can offer. Not many arenas have a large dedicated space for a proper kitchen, much less a proper area for cooking gourmet foods for more than one operation. Rogers Arena and BC Place Stadium in Vancouver offers great variety while Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre in Victoria has the Lion’s Den Restaurant upstairs, Ali-Baba Pizza and basic concession downstairs. After attending a few events at this venue over the past few years, I feel disappointed. Is there other snacking options that a picky eater can find? No.

When no outside food or drinks are allowed inside, I could try to get creative to sneak stuff in. But that would get me in trouble (I could get banned from the venue) so I won’t do that.

I feel better variety is needed. Some people are cutting back on their soda intake and I couldn’t spot a Vitamin Water even if I tried. People with money to blow at the Lions Den Restaurant may find better choices, but when I see Aramark as the source for most of this venue’s food operations, I get nightmares. I don’t approve of this company’s food much less of their hiring practices. They service Camosun College‘s Lansdowne cafeteria. When I was in school and needed a bite, everything I ate there tasted like cardboard. I have a very horrible memory I will never shake — reheating rice should never be microwaved!

When I took a look at the prices of concession, they are worse than a movie theatre’s. I began to wonder if management has considered partnering up with street cart operations to give attendees better choices to fill the gullet during half-time? Even better, will they lighten up on the restrictions of what kinds of food can be allowed into the arena? A few years ago, the Times Colonist reported that Tacofino was setting up shop in the Save-On-Foods parking lot to serve the lunch-time crowd. Not much is said about how long they will remain there or if they will operate during hockey games or concert hours.

Clara Wilson, reporter for the TC, wrote,”If Tacofino replicates its success in Tofino and downtown Vancouver, the company may open a Victoria location.”

However, space outside Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre’s front doors is being wasted. I can see a great opportunity during the warm months for vendors to sell their wares. At least, when the arena is not in operation, they let food truck vendors park in the lot behind them. But once when a show is on inside, they have to be gone. That’s sad.

If only the management were to allow outside vendors, various operations can shack up here during many a game. I’d happily pay whatever price is offered for a decent hot dog, doughnut, twisty fry or box of noodles. I’m Asian, and I want my proper choice of starch, dammit!

I like the fact that the centre has Ali Baba Pizza, but I’m not paying the few extra dollars for a slice. The Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre is, by its name alone, an oxymoron. I knew there was a reason as to why I’ve avoided this place for so long. I’d prefer the days of going to a baseball park and yelling to a wandering vendor what you want than hitting it up at the food court. At least you know where the money is going, and that’s to support a youth’s college education.


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