ANAHEIM – Ducks fans walking into the Honda Center’s main entrance for Thursday’s home opener against the New York Rangers will be treated to 15,000 square feet of new restaurant, shopping and bar space.
The amenities are part of the new $20 million Grand Terrace, marking the Honda Center’s single largest improvement project since opening in 1993.
“I think the fans will see that it’s going to be a completely different experience when they walk in here,” said Tim Ryan, CEO of the Honda Center. “It’s going to be one of those things that matches the tastes of Orange County. It will change the way people feel the minute they walk into the facility.”
Outside the entrance, visitors will be greeted by high-definition graphics and team highlights flashing on a pair of 15-by-25-foot screens. An arched breezeway leads to the arena, flanked on the left with a 220-seat, full-service restaurant by celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck set to open in November.
To the right, a new Anaheim Ducks Team Store Powered by Reebok will sell T-shirts, ball caps and other souvenirs. Jade-green- and eggplant-colored throwback jerseys line the walls alongside the team’s contemporary black, orange and gold gear.
Hockey sticks line the store’s roof, pointing to a giant Stanley Cup – three times the size of the original – engraved with the names of the 2007 championship team. Three interactive display units provide highlights of the winning season, including the team’s locker room celebration after beating the Ottawa Senators to clinch the cup.
“I hope it can be a destination point where people will come to eat at the restaurant, shop at the team store and go on to watch the game,” said Kevin Starkey, chief operations officer for the Honda Center.
Just above the store and restaurant, the Grand Terrace becomes an exclusive haven that will be open during Ducks games only to season ticket holders.
Cherry veneer tables and chairs complement a series of bars with Ming Valley stone facades topped with Santa Cecilia granite counters. Patrons can choose from more than 40 types of beer on tap, then lounge at one of the two Italian-marble fire pits on a balcony facing Angel Stadium.
The bar opens two hours before the puck drops and remains open at least 30 minutes after the third period ends. A section of the space will be set aside for where TV hosts anchor post-game broadcasts.
Construction of the Grand Terrace was funded by Henry and Susan Samueli, who own the Ducks and Anaheim Arena Management, the operating company for the city-owned Honda Center.
“Clearly, the Honda Center wants to make sure they can capture as many pregame dollars as possible, even if it means siphoning business from nearby restaurants that did well prior to the games and other events held there,” said David Carter, a professor of sports business at USC Marshall School of Business.
Ron Leuang, general manager for Prime Cut Café in Orange, east of the Honda Center, said he was unsure whether the Grand Terrace’s new restaurant and bar would influence his business and others surrounding the arena. Prime Cut often gets a 40 percent boost of business on Ducks game days.
“It’s hard to say what our impact will be,” Leuang said. “But we’re hoping that loyal regulars will stay with us and keep supporting us.”