I’m not going to pretend I know a lot about football. My dad loves the Seahawks, my grandma loves the Cowboys and my girlfriend loves the Packers. I have no allegiance and I’m happy about that. But I do still have a special spot in my heart for Super Bowl Sunday. There’s nothing quite like watching a grown adult have a meltdown over a bad play, made all the more enjoyable by some accompanying meal to go along with it. For me, Super Bowl Sunday is about dinner and a show, the combination of greasy junk food and commercials. I know I’m not in the majority, but that’s just fine with me. But what food is the right one to pull in for the big day? Well, here are my recommendations for all the necessities.
I was torn on this. A lot of places do good queso, and arguably it’s subjective to what you love most about it. For example, O’Niell’s Pub (4310 Central Ave. SE) has a queso that is very thick and creamy, with a little bite. Slate Street Cafe (515 Slate Ave. NW,) on the other hand, has a much more liquid queso that also has more fire to it. Arguably one of the best quesos though is at Cocina Azul (4243 Montgomery Blvd. NE.) It’s hot, it’s heavy and it’s impossible to only eat a little of it, because you just can’t stop once you start. Additionally, they have a catering arm, which means they can easily handle capacity orders if you want to go hard on the queso for your get-together.
No, I won’t list any of those national chains because they’re equal parts boring and too easy. Let’s talk local, local, local. For smaller orders, FireBird Nashville Hot Chicken (3105 Eubank Blvd. NE) is great. You can pick your heat levels, they’ve got great sides and in general have good overall selection. But, as I’ve preached many times before, the undisputed king of chicken in the city is still Frank’s Famous Chicken and Waffles (400 Washington St. SE.) With a huge selection of sauces and impossibly good chicken, you’d be hard pressed not to be so content with his food that you’d look elsewhere. Definitely order ahead, as I have a feeling both locations are going to be absolutely slammed with orders ahead of time.
Cheese and Charcuterie
Everyone needs a good charcuterie board at their party. Now, you could just go and make your own. There’s nothing quite like slicing your own meats and cheeses and arranging it in an aesthetically pleasing and cohesive way. But let’s be serious, there’s so much else to do that day, you don’t have time to get to it. May I recommend Salt and Board (115 Harvard Dr. SE Ste. 9) A large board from them will run $24 but features the chef's choice of three meats and three cheeses, along with a house bacon jam, fig jam, olives, house-made pickles, mustard, apricot mostarda, crostini and Marcona almonds. It is almost too fancy to eat because of how good it looks. But you’ll be the talk of the town with that platter if you show up to a party and everyone was expecting mild cheddar and a beef stick you found in the discount aisle of the grocery store.
I hesitate to speak to this point, because locally, our craft beer selection is, dare I say, a little out of control? From Marble to Tractor to La Cumbre to Steelbender and beyond, you’re absolutely spoiled for choice. My recommendation? Dig through our Best Of Burque Restaurants issue from 2019 and check out the beer category to make sure you grab the drink that best suits the mood for the party. Skip the Bud Light and go for something with real flavor and enjoyment in it. When you’re surrounded by so much, why opt for the lesser option?
At the end of the day, the real goal of it all is to have fun. Yes, the game is great, and maybe this year we’ll have some great halftime show memes, if past years count for anything. But let’s remember what this holiday is really about:Two groups of professional athletes just doing what they love, trying to win a ring. So get out there, and get nomming on the stuff you love, surrounded by friends in a tradition Americans have held sacred for going on 53 years now.