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Vikings stadium food contract goes to Aramark

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Aramark will be doing the cooking at the new Vikings stadium when it opens in 2016.

The Philadelphia-based company cooks and sells the food at Chicago's Soldier Field, Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Reliant Stadium in Houston and 10 other NFL stadiums, as well as TCF Bank Stadium at the University of Minnesota.

It also provides the suite catering in the Metrodome.

Terms of the deal haven't been finalized. The Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority today agreed to negotiate exclusively with Aramark, which beat out five other bidders for the work, including Delaware North, Morrissey Hospitality, Centerplate, Legends and Levy Restaurants.

"Everyone we've talked to as we've visited other stadiums has told us you can't bring the concessionaire on early enough. The earlier in the design process, the better," stadium authority chairwoman Michele Kelm-Helgen said. "Aramark has an unbelievable track record."

Popcorn, hot dogs, nachos and beer typically make up about 80 percent of stadium food sales, "but there's a growing group of people that want to have other selections, and want to have something else, other than your standard stadium food," Kelm-Helgen said. That may mean a year-round restaurant built into the stadium, she added.

Vikings team vice president Lester Bagley said Aramark pitched a food service concept that will "bring local flavors, local restaurants into the mix."

Aramark may also be tasked to offer food outside the stadium, on the plaza out front, for non-Vikings events.