What fans at The Viv will be eating during NBA All-Star Weekend

And where you can get official NBA Weekend merchandise, including jerseys and hats.

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Vivint Arena showcases signature All-Star merchandise and food they will be selling during the NBA All-Star weekend on Thursday, Feb. 9, 2023 — including hot dogs by J.Dawgs.

Fans in the stands at next week’s NBA All-Star Weekend in Salt Lake City will have choices to make about what they’ll eat at Vivint Arena.

They could buy the Korean barbecue from CupBop. Or the hot dogs from J.Dawgs. Or the açaí bowls from Honest Acai. Or the pretzel bites, beignets and dirty soda from Thirst. Or roasted almonds from Totally Nutz. Or Iceberg’s massive “over the rim” milkshakes.

Those food vendors showed off their dishes at The Viv on Thursday, in a media preview of the various concessions and catering options that will be available when the NBA’s elite takes over the Utah Jazz’s home arena. The All-Star Game is set for Sunday evening, but before that there’s the NBA Rising Stars game on Friday and the “NBA All-Star Saturday Night” on Sunday. (That’s not including events happening at the Huntsman Center and the Salt Palace during the three days.)

Choosing the partners for concessions came down to one question, said Travis Taylor, executive chef for Salted Honey Hospitality, the arena’s hospitality partner: “What tells the Utah story? What’s unique to Salt Lake City and Utah?”

That means Utah-based eateries — besides the ones at Thursday’s demo, the arena features R&R BBQ, Proper Burger, Cubby’s, Chile Verde, Bon Bon and Spilled Milk — and seeking out regional produce and ingredients.

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Chef Travis Denning, left, and Travis Taylor, executive chef for Salted Honey Hospitality, arrange some of the food that will be for sale for the upcoming NBA All-Star weekend, during a media event at Vivint Arena on Thursday, Feb. 9, 2023.

Taylor pointed to a seven-bone prime rib — a chunk of cow bigger than an air fryer — that will be one of the centerpiece menu offerings in the arena’s premium clubs and luxury suites. That prime rib, he said, came from a Wagyu rancher in southern Utah.

Taylor said the eateries, already familiar sights at The Viv, “were all extremely excited” about the All-Star Game. “They all wanted to be a part of it. They thought, ‘Well, let’s put our thinking caps on. Let’s go above and beyond what we normally do.”

For example, said Matt Brown, Salted Honey’s senior director of operations, J.Dawgs is augmenting its signature beef and Polish dogs with a jalapeño-and-cheddar-infused dog on a pretzel bun.

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Vivint Arena’s Salted Honey Hospitality team showcases some of the food they will serve alongside numerous concession options for the NBA All-Star weekend, on Thursday, Feb. 9, 2023. The centerpiece was a seven-bone Wagyu prime rib, obtained from a rancher in southern Utah.

“We challenged all our partners to come up with something that was fun and wow, that showcases their product — but also adds some level of ‘Hey, this is exclusive to just this event,’” Brown said.

That exclusivity extends to the merchandise being sold at the arena, said Parker Bushnell, director of retail for Rank & Rally, the company that handles merchandise sales at The Viv.

Of the hundreds of items of merchandise tied to the All-Star Game, Bushnell said, about half will be available only in person at The Viv and other Salt Lake City stores — including pop-up stores at fan events, and shops in area hotels.

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Parker Bushnell, Director of Retail, Rank and Rally talks about some of the signature All-Star merchandise that will be available for purchase at Vivint Arena during the All-Star weekend on Thursday, Feb. 9, 2023.

“How do you make the experience unique for people who are coming here?,” Bushnell asked. “Anybody can go online to shop. But you need to be able to create an experience, that everybody has a fear of missing out, or saying ‘I have to be there to get this thing.’”

Some hat designs — including a ski cap with a photo of the Salt Lake City skyline and the Wasatch Mountains behind — will be exclusively sold in the city, Bushnell said. So is another in the game’s trademark black-gray-and-gold color scheme, with snowflakes knit into the pattern. “Yes, it’s basic, but we went and picked through all this different clip art of snowflakes, and we picked exactly the ones we wanted,” Bushnell said.

“A lot of what you’re going to see online, or other places to shop, is a lot of ‘here’s a logo, we’re going to slap it on a T-shirt,’” Bushnell said. “For us, it’s ‘how do you elevate past that?’”