Each year when August comes, New Yorkers can count on several annual rituals that mark the waning days of Summer. The movers and shakers who’re determined to wring every last bit of hard-earned relaxation from the season decamp even more fervently to the Hamptons and other points east (and north, for that matter), and this in turn leads to an events calendar in the city drastically pared down from the typical hurly-burly. As September nears, however, the human tide flows back to the metropolitan area, and perhaps the biggest happening signaling this shift is the US Open tennis tournament, the showpiece event of the USTA (United States Tennis Association).
In a way, the tourney is a metaphor for the change of seasons – when it begins in August the field is wide open, with qualifiers joining seeded and unseeded players in nurturing hopes of winning, but by the time September rolls around the athletes who remain have been narrowed to serious aspirants, and a more businesslike atmosphere prevails. Of course, the elite level of competition on display isn’t the only reason people flock to the National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows. Besides the sort of people-watching and socializing to be found at any major event – the US Open is the world’s highest-attended annual sporting competition, attracting more than 700,000 fans over the course of the matches – there is also the food village, which avails the visiting crowds a range of superlative dining options, of a level matching in excellence the quality of the tennis being played.
This year, for the first time, the USTA, in conjunction with Levy Restaurants (the official restaurant partner of the US Open), has launched a program to whet the appetites of New Yorkers for the upcoming tournament and the delectable foods to be had there by having a gourmet food truck make stops around the city, where it will feature items that will be on offer throughout the August 25-September 8 duration of the championships. The initiative is called Flavor Of The Open, and the dishes will be served up free to the public, as supplies last. Today – Monday, August 11 – it will be at Madison Square Park beginning at 12:00 noon; on Tuesday, August 12 it will be at Union Square Park at 12:00 noon; and on Wednesday, August 13 it will be at Bryant Park at 5:00 PM.
The US Open is renowned for its ever-expanding array of innovative food options, with prominent chefs providing the fare, and thus the items people will have an opportunity to savor over the three days will include David Burke’s Steak Filet Slider from Champions Bar & Grill; a Meatball Slider from the all-new Pat LaFrieda Meat Co. Stand in the food village; Hill Country Brisket; Farm to Fork’s Chicken Sandwich; and the US Open Signature Lobster Roll. Foodies and tennis fans who stop by the truck and use the hashtag #FlavoroftheOpen on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram will have the chance to win prizes and receive giveaways, and also will receive a special Ticketmaster discount code to buy US Open tickets. Those fans wishing to pose for pictures with the US Open trophy will be able to do so, as it will be accompanying the food truck on its rounds.