Saturday, August 11, 2012
Gluten-free at EverBank Field
It wasn't perfect but on balance, I have to say I was very happy with my gluten-free experience at last night's Jaguars preseason opener.
The first thing I did upon arrival was to go straight to the Bud Light Party Zone to order a beer. I asked the bartender for a gluten-free beer, and she gave me a strange look. Then I asked for Redbridge or Bard's and she understood and began looking through the coolers.
She found a Redbridge and told me there was only one left. It was loud and I really couldn't carry on the conversation any further so I was not able to find out if they also had Bard's, or why they only had one Redbridge left. But I was happy to get a beer.
Then things got even better. She held up five fingers to tell me it was $5. I paid $11 for a bottle of Redbridge at the stadium last year!
If you've ever had a beer of any kind at any stadium, you know that $5 is a remarkable price, so I was very excited. But I'm wondering if this was some kind of pre-game happy hour special in the Bud Zone. I'll have to check into that further.
Also, she just handed me the glass bottle of Redbridge. I thought fans were not supposed to have glass bottles in their hands (because drunk fans tend to throw them). Last year, they poured my 12-ounce Redbridge into a 32-ounce plastic cup.
The guy looked a little puzzled but he immediately asked someone else, and she produced a package of Udi's buns. I was going to get my dog! I was even more excited.
And there was no extra charge for the gluten-free bun. The hot dog was $5, the same that everyone else pays.
Also, the bun was fresh! My last major stadium experience with gluten-free hot dogs was a Tampa Bay Rays game at Tropicana Field, and the buns were notably stale.
I was so anxious to eat my hot dog that I forgot to take a photo of it, which I had planned to do. Oh well.
I probably should have asked if they could change gloves before handling the gluten-free bun, but I didn't.
After I finished the dog, I decided to circle the lower concourse to see if the other beer stands that were supposed to stock Redbridge had Redbridge available (I was also curious about the price). I stopped at a couple of beer carts that I thought should have had it and asked if they had Redbridge, and the answer was no.
So that was the one glitch in the system. But it was the first game, and I am confident that the Jaguars will fix that once I tell them about it. I really do get the impression that they want to do things right.
Overall, it was a very good gluten-free experience.