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Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Veggie Burgers

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Tampa Bay Bucs          Tampa Bay Bucs

Chad and I went to the home opener at Raymond James stadium to watch our hometown Tampa Bay Buccaneers play the Carolina Panthers and we wanted to find the perfect healthy meal while there.  (Right?  What is more American than football and veggie burgers?)

I have to give the Bucs credit- to celebrate the season opener we got free parking (normally $25) and these really cute little gym bags to celebrate the 200th consecutive start of the Bucs’ cornerback Ronde Barber…….

Barber giveaway

(No worries ladies….I don’t think we have to know who Ronde Barber is……I just know that those bags are so adorable- they even have sleeves making them look like little football jerseys.)

Well, of course typical foods at a sports stadium are hot dogs, burgers and fries right?  Well, we don’t want to have the meat and I MOST DEFINITELY cannot have any bread (my challenge for September remember)?  Well, lil’ smart ol’ me decided to do some research on the ‘net – we found a Whole Foods just up the road from the stadium so we could grab some salads and tailgate.  After all, tailgating is as much part of the game too.

However, as part of the season opener promotion, all the food in the stadium was going to be 1/2 price.  SCORE!  I dug a little deeper and found that in addition to the typical dogs, burgers and fries, the stadium offers veggie burgers, chopped veggie salads and even a black beans and rice dish – all part of the updates the stadium has made for the new season.  Well, since it looked like we had some good options, we opted to eat in the stadium.

We walked all through the stadium- there are TONS of places to eat…..I mean TONS.

Raymond James Stadium    Raymond James Stadium    Raymond James Stadium

We were surprised by all the choices offered…..loaded tator tots (loaded with chili), BBQ Chicken nachos, Mojo Chicken Quesadillas……all sounds yummy….if you like meat.  We walked up and down all the food venues…..we saw peanuts and popcorn for us…that’s about it.  (In the defense of the stadium- we did find quite a few places offering a plain cheese pizza- I just can’t have that due to my September no bread challenge.)   We  asked where the veggie burgers were…no one knew.   We settled on nachos without the beef chili.

Raymond James Stadium $7 nachos

Seriously, thank goodness it was 1/2 price.  I would’ve been very upset paying $7.00 for that – it was nothing but about 8 nachos, a small spoonful of salsa and sour cream and a larger spoonful of processed cheese dip with jalapeno slices.  If it had a barcode we would’ve sent it through the Fooducate test.  I gave it my own grade – a “D” – the only thing that saved it from an “F” was that fact that we were hungry.

Raymond James Stadium

We even found where they were offering the veggie chopped salad and veggie burgers.  TOUCHDOWN! Well, this touchdown was called back for an illegal start as those healthy offerings weren’t being offered anywhere in the stadium due to the half off promotion.  #MAJOR DISAPPOINTMENT.  So, we were stuck snacking.

The only thing we both enjoyed was the Frozen Lemonade ($2.50 with the discount).

However, once we got over the lack of healthy food, the stadium is pretty amazing.  Raymond James has hosted 2 Super Bowls.

The main icon of the stadium is the pirate ship area behind one of the end zones.  Every time the Bucs score they fire a big cannon from the ship.  They shot that thing 16 times during the game- I think I finally stopped jumping out of my seat after about the 13th cannon fire.  Also during the game they threw T-shirts and beads from the ship.

Raymond James Stadium          Raymond James Stadium

Raymond James Stadium storms

The game was great too. (Oh yeah- the game- that’s why we were there!)  Football always brings out the craziness in fans and Tampa Bay was no exception. I wish I would’ve taken pictures of some of the crazy outfits.  But what an enthusiastic crowd and a great game. Everything else was perfect- except the very large flash of lightning and very loud clap of thunder right at halftime that sent everyone running for cover!!  They cleared out the stadium for safety but then forgot to tell everyone it was safe to return and they went ahead and resumed the game without the spectators.

The rain was minimal and the fun was maximum.  (We even got to see Ronde Barber make an interception).  We would go again most definitely-  HOWEVER- we will stop at the Whole Foods just up the street, grab our healthy grub and tailgate with the other cool people- no matter how much they laugh at us.  At least we won’t starve.  We would never again wait to eat in the stadium and take the chance that they may pull all the healthy vegetarian items for whatever reason.  (We hit up Bob Evans on our way home and had veggie omelets.)

I am hoping that stadiums across the country are recognizing that fans want more than just burgers and hot dogs and are starting to offer some more healthy options nowadays.

Here are some other pictures from our day- hope you enjoy and CHOW!

Tampa Bay BucsTampa Bay BucsTampa Bay BucsTampa Bay BucsTampa Bay BucsTampa Bay BucsTampa Bay BucsTampa Bay BucsTampa Bay BucsTampa Bay Bucssunset at Raymond James Stadium

Helen Corbin

Wednesday 12th of September 2012

Love it but you are so right about stadiums needing to offer stuff for us vegetarians/vegans. You would have thought that when they build a great place like the MetLife Stadium they would have considered that. All we need is a little old veggie burger :-) Of course, if they served it where they serve the regular burgers, they would probably warm it on the same meat-soaked grill where they do the meat burgers.

GO J-E-T-S :-)