Think stadium dining is little more than peanuts and Cracker Jacks? You’ve been spending too much time at Shea. Next door at the National Tennis Center, fans feast on roasted salmon fillets, barbecued pork, and chicken vindaloo—even from the cheap seats. There are two independent restaurants, eighteen outposts from local joints, three bars, and yes, even a few hot-dog stands.
The Patio has light-fare items like salads and paninis, but the real draw here is the location. It’s well shaded by Louis Armstrong Stadium, and directly in front of the Center’s biggest jumbo screen. So even if you could only manage grounds passes, or worse, you did get tickets, but Maria Sharapova actually looks the size of a Barbie doll from your seats, you can still feel like you’re courtside.
Mojito Restaurant & Bar
It’s best not to think too hard about what world-class tennis and a restaurant “reminiscent of 1950s Havana” have to do with each other. Just drown any questions you have in a round of the bar’s namesake cocktail, munch on some plantains and pork bocaditos, and go with it. Mojito has indoor and outdoor seating, Pan-Latino fare, and a tequila-tasting menu.
Heineken Red Star Café
If you’ve ever tried to convince a bartender to put on tennis instead of football during happy hour, the Red Star is for you. It’s about as rowdy a place as country-clubbers can handle, with a full bar, frozen drinks, and two beers (guess which ones) on tap. And it’s probably the only place in Queens you’ll hear Roddick’s first-serve percentage lamented as passionately as Pedro’s ERA.
The Food Village
This is the heart of US Open dining—a food court, yes, but one that’s unabashedly proud of being at an international event. The village serves curry and kosher, and just about everything in between. Here’s a sampling of what you’ll find there.
• Fulton Seafood Exchange
• Fresca Mexicana
• Café Spice Indian food
• Pasta, Pizza and Salad Kitchen
• Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Shop