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Hospitality tent offers varied menus for NAIA VIPs, teams

Hospitality tent offers varied menus for NAIA VIPs, teams

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"Will the hospitality tent be there?"

That's a question teams and officials of the NAIA Division II Women's Basketball Tournament often ask before the competition unfolds.

The reason? It offers a host of foods for VIPs at the end of the basketball court.

The good news: It's back.

Enzo Carannante, assistant general manager at the Tyson, said the hospitality tent will serve food all six days of the tournament -- 10 meals in all -- for tournament partners, sponsors and the teams.

"The VIP tent is located right on the arena floor at the east end," Carannante said. "We have TVs set up so that you don't miss any of the action happening on the court.

"We have a great culinary team that creates the menu with a variety of options. Lunch options are served as a sandwich-type, while dinners will be more of a sit-down type of meal."

Carannante said the menus change each tournament. Tyson officials receive feedback after the tournament and use it to plan the menus for next year. They do keep some staple items, but they will add new twists and spins on them.

"Pete's Pot Roast is a meal served at every tournament," Carannante said, "It's one of the first questions we're always asked: 'What night is Pete's Pot Roast?' And, typically, we find it to be the best-attended night. The taco bar is usually a big hit as well. This year, the championship night will take place on St. Patty's Day, so we'll be serving corned beef and cabbage to celebrate."

Carannante said the hospitality tent expects to go through 20-25 pallets of food for this year's tournament. To help make sure they have enough food, they use past history and what the expected attendance is for the tournament. 

"Our culinary team takes every scenario into consideration when creating the menu," Carannante said. "We'll have vegetarian options available, as well as a seafood option on Friday."

Tyson officials, he said, do a great job in calculating amounts needed so that there is little leftover food. Any extras go toward community organizations to ensure that nothing gets wasted.

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