Brewers executive chef draws inspiration from fine dining experience

MILWAUKEE – Thursday was an exciting opening day at American Family Field.

Loren Rue, the executive chef who oversees the team’s food operations, said it was the one he had been waiting for two years.

Rue was hired ahead of the 2020-21 season. While in spring training preparing for his freshman year at his new job, the COVID pandemic brought baseball and most of the country to a halt.

“In 2020, there were no fans in the stands, so that made my job, and retaining someone like me, difficult,” Rue said.

With no concessions offered at the ballpark, Rue said he took advantage of the unexpected time off to spend more time with friends and family.

2021 turned out to be a better year as the team finally welcomed full capacity crowds to American Family Field.

But at the start of the season, on opening day, the crowds were limited.

“When you only allow 10,000 to 12,000 people in, it doesn’t really feel like an opening day,” Rue said.

So this year, the team’s chief executive finally has the chance to welcome a full stadium to start a new season. The Brewers have revamped their franchises in partnership with Black Shoe Hospitality.

The company operates popular Milwaukee-area restaurants like Maxie’s and Story Hill BKC.

“You can still get your kid, your regular roll, your hot dog, but we really wanted to elevate everything,” Rue said.

The team sells kids with toppings like brandied onions, cranberries or Swiss cheese.

Rue added that the meats were all born and raised in Wisconsin.

“I take full responsibility for making sure that when people come to the ballpark, they have a fantastic experience,” he said.

It’s an approach that Rue traces back to his experience working in the food industry.

Prior to working for the Brewers, he worked at Kohler’s American Club.

“My background is in fine dining,” Rue said. “We want to elevate a traditional item and make it special. I think if you’re at the ballpark, or even just having dinner, there’s always going to be an opportunity to wow people.

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