The concessions at Philips Arena are evolving way beyond typical stadium fare. First, Joe Schafer jumps from running the kitchen at James Beard award-winner Bacchanalia to a role as executive chef for the Atlanta Hawks. Next, rocker Zac Brown signs on to open a full-service restaurant in Philips Arena.
Now, cricket protein snacks are about to make their debut. That’s right, Atlanta Hawk fans will be able to try Aketta seasoned dry roasted crickets at the home opener this Friday, October 27.
This isn’t the first stadium to sell the cricket snack brand. Aketta’s Vincent Vitale explained that the Seattle Mariners’ Safeco Field stocked the snacks, which proved to be so popular that they sold out. After hearing about the brand’s success in Seattle, the Hawks culinary team reached out about getting Aketta cricket snacks in to Philips.
Aketta’s product development team even worked to create a special Atlanta-inspired flavor just for Hawks fans. Behold, Sweet-N-Spicy Cajun Crickets.
These and other flavors will be sold on Friday in the area near Sections 114-116 and Section 113-115. This is the only place in Atlanta currently selling the snacks. Aketta hopes the product sells similarly to Seattle so it will become a permanent fixture in the arena.
But what do the crickets taste like? “It’s crunchy like chips and savory like sunflower seeds,” Vitale told Eater, explaining that this is the sustainable — and trendy — food of the future. “Crickets, the real selling point to them, is that not only are they high in protein they are extremely sustainable to farm at scale,” he says. “We want to farm crickets to feed people and help solve food sustainability.”
These aren’t your run-of-the-mill crickets either. They’re farmed in a lab-grade facility in Austin, and fed organic food and triple-filtered water. “These are the Rolls-Royce of crickets,” Vitale joked.
In addition to all that, Vitale sees no reason why dry roasted crickets wouldn’t be a stadium snack. “It’s easy to eat, tasty, comes in a package,” he says. “Why go for popcorn or peanuts when you could try something you’ve never had before and it actually tastes good?”