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The Capitals Cruise Into the Playoffs With a Ted’s Tarts-Dispensing Robot

The roving concessions stand just made its NHL debut at Capital One Arena

Tortoise rolled around packaged goodies from Ted’s Bulletin and Sidekick Bakery at Capital One Arena.
Tierney Plumb is the editor of Eater DC, covering all things food and drink around the nation's capital.

The tech-savvy hospitality group behind Ted’s Bulletin turned to a roving robot to sell its iconic D.C. desserts to Washington Capitals fans during the hockey team’s 2022 postseason debut at home.

Concessionaire Aramark Sports and Capital One Arena linked up with Silicon Valley startup Tortoise to deploy a mobile sweets shop as the Capitals hosted the Florida Panthers for Game 3 and 4 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs on Saturday, May 7, and Monday, May 9.

Tortoise bills itself as “the world’s first robotic, remote-controlled store-on-wheels” and can travel up to four miles per hour. Dubbed “Treat Me,” the app-enabled robot roamed around the lower concourse of Capital One Arena with packages of familiar baked goods ($18-$22) from entrepreneur Steve Salis’ all-day area eateries Ted’s Bulletin and Sidekick Bakery.

Tortoise delivered boxes of Ted’s Tarts in four flavors (strawberry, blueberry cheesecake, cinnamon brown sugar, and s’mores).
Capital One Arena

The boxed cargo included Ted’s Tarts from Ted’s Bulletin, its portable and popular riffs on Pop-Tarts served at all six locations.

Sweets from Sidekick Bakery.
Capital One Arena

The silver whip also rolled around a trio of cherry blossom-flavored sweets from its newer Sidekick Bakery sibling in Ballston, including its “Duo” sugar cookie with a tart twist, Rice Krispies treat, and brownie. Tortoise, which carried around 100 boxed sets of each, can deliver treats close to seats via an app.

“Sometimes guests don’t want to wander and go grab food, or miss a part of the game,” Salis tells Eater. “It’s all about convenience and the spirit of discovery.”

Guests can tap their credit card, Apple, or Google Pay on the bot’s lid to unlock a box filled with packaged baked goods, all while audio messages tell the customer what to do.

Capital One Arena’s boozy new milkshakes spiked with bourbon and vodka sit in Section 105 ($16.49).
Capital One Arena

The tarts-toting bot even made a big appearance on the ice last night. Following the Panthers’ overtime win, the first round of the series is tied up 2-2.

Capital One Arena just added a handful of new food and drink options across the 20,000-seat venue to kick off the Capitals’ road to the Stanley Cup finals. The Capitals will be back in D.C. on Friday, May 13, for Game 6.

It’s TBA whether the sweets-slinging robot will become a permanent fixture at Capital One Arena.

“The team is working on other opportunities to offer Ted’s Tarts at future games,” Salis tells Eater, adding “we hope to continue surprising and delighting guests within the arena and beyond.”

Salis’ fast-growing neighborhood eatery Ted’s Bulletin will add additional outposts in Ashburn and NoMa next year. Salis Holdings is also behind Bib Gourmand-designated Honeymoon Chicken in Petworth and barbecue joint Federalist Pig in Adams Morgan, both with chef Rob Sonderman. A bigger location is en route to Hyattsville, and a FebMobile truck is the placeholder for now. Salis, a co-founder of &pizza, also owns All Day by Kramers in Dupont and year-old takeout and delivery hub Ensemble in Bethesda.

Local Chinese-Korean chain Chiko just unleashed a “Tornado Potato” at its stall in Section 120, featuring fried, spiraled spuds with garlic mayo and toasted sesame ($11.99).
Capital One Arena
In-house debuts include spicy fried chicken wedged between frosted cinnamon buns and an Old Bay-doused Maryland crab roll in Section 408.