The Most-Mouthwatering Game-Day Eats Across the Country
Game-Day Bites from Coast to Coast
Score hearty fare to pair with your football at these hot spots that specialize in game-day-worthy grub. From classic bar burgers to regionally inspired wings, here are the best bites for the biggest game of the year.
Photography courtesy of DMK Burger Bar
Good Dog Bar & Restaurant — Philadelphia
This Center City bar has been around since Prohibition, and while the setting boasts 100 years of history, the menu is anything but old-fashioned. Stocked with upscale comfort food (and plenty of dog photos), this eatery serves inspired combinations like duck confit pot pie and baked macaroni and cheese (pictured). Guy Fieri sampled the pot pie on Triple D and loved the "prime-time" richness of the duck with shiitake mushrooms, peas and thyme in a Chinese five-spice sauce. The mac and cheese, a creamy stunner made with Gruyere, aged Gouda and aged cheddar, arrives bubbling hot and topped with cornflakes, with a side of blueberry cornbread.
Photography courtesy of Steve Legato
Go to: Good Dog Bar & Restaurant
DMK Burger Bar — Chicago
Just a few blocks from Wrigley Field you'll find this mecca of beef that's cranking out gourmet burgers and homemade sides by the dozens. A former fine-dining chef dreams up strange yet sensational combinations, like the bison burger with blueberry barbecue sauce that delivers what Guy called "monster flavor." Paired with fresh goat cheese and pickled onions, the finished burger has just the right amount of "crustification" and crunch from the griddle. Beyond beef, the bar also carries veggie, turkey and fish options, like the tender salmon burger (pictured) that's topped with Asian coleslaw and a Thai red curry sauce. Back those burgers up with rustic hand-cut fries, and check out a wide selection of housemade sodas and shakes.
Photography courtesy of DMK Burger Bar
Go to: DMK Burger Bar
Anchor Bar — Buffalo
Known as the "birthplace of the Buffalo wing" since 1964, this upstate New York institution was the setting for a hot-wing Throwdown between Bobby and "the wing king," Drew Cerza. A hometown hero, Cerza is seriously passionate about his wings, which are fried naked without a dredge and tossed in a bourbon-brown sugar barbecue sauce that's spiked with ancho chiles and honey for spicy sweetness. Served with traditional sides of blue cheese dressing and celery sticks, Cerza's juicy jumbo wings prove that Buffalo still knows best when it comes to its namesake dish. Anchor Bar offers its famous specialty in mild, medium, hot and "suicidal" heat levels, and the restaurant ships frozen wings all over the country.
Photography courtesy of Anchor Bar
Go to: Anchor Bar, Buffalo
Claddagh Pub — Baltimore
Head out across Baltimore's Inner Harbor and dock at this watering hole that combines Irish spirit with Chesapeake regional specialties. Bobby visited the pub on FoodNation and found all of the locals there, including the mayor, who recommended the showstopping rack of lamb. A New Zealand lamb rack is marinated in Quebec seasoning before it hits the grill, and a richly flavored veal demi-glace is poured over the top. Served with mashed potatoes and sauteed vegetables, the dish is a prime example of the "upscale Irish cuisine" served at Claddagh, but the pub has got bar classics covered too.
Photography courtesy of Claddagh Pub
Go to: Claddagh Pub
Royal Tavern — Philadelphia
Food Network Magazine listed this bar's Angus burger (pictured) among the top 50 best burgers around the country, and it's so beloved by the regulars that they've nicknamed it "The Royal." Weighing in at 8 ounces, this burger is topped with bacon, caramelized onions, smoked Gouda and pickled hot peppers, and it's served on a brioche bun with spicy chile mayo. Don't forget the tavern's other game-day offerings, like the duck confit potato skins with truffle butter and the fully stacked nachos — there are even vegan sloppy joes and a tempeh club sandwich for meat-averse football fans.
Photography courtesy of Royal Tavern
Go to: Royal Tavern
Highland Tavern — Denver
Located in an old brewery, this Denver dive bar keeps the suds flowing while turning out upscale bar food with high-end ingredients. Guy stopped by to tackle the homemade Tavern Tater Tots (pictured), which he called "the Everest of bar foods," seasoned with cayenne and tamari and then fried. After a round of the redefined tots, Guy took on the pork rinds that are made in-house from raw pig skin and tossed in chile-lime salt. For the final touchdown in the feast, order the Bombshell Brisket Sandwich featuring house-brined pastrami with jus, melted Swiss, slaw and a fried egg on toasted rye bread — Guy deemed it worthy of being his next tattoo inspiration.
Photography courtesy of Carrie Dow
Go to: Highland Tavern
Grover's Bar & Grill — East Amherst, New York
This 19th-century hunting lodge was recognized as having the "best burgers" three years in a row, and it's serving up beef every which way, including in a bowl. Guy said the famous cheeseburger soup tasted like "no-kidding liquid cheeseburger," and he couldn't get enough spoonfuls of the cheesy broth that's full of browned beef, lettuce and tomato. The best-selling Bruiser Burger (pictured) is a whopping 12-ounce "manhole cover on a bun," topped with sauteed onions and crumbly Roquefort cheese. You should probably bring a backup appetite to conquer the lineup of "pterodactyl-size wings," as well, which Guy called "super-crunchalistic" comfort food.
Go to: Grover's Bar & Grill
The Rivershack Tavern — Jefferson, Louisiana
The local delights served at this 100-year-old landmark tavern turn typical game-day fare on its head. Start with the meaty turtle soup special (pictured) that features Louisiana snapping turtle simmered for hours with tomatoes and a full bottle of sherry. After turtle time, order the rabbit special that Guy tried on Triple D; it's paired with "dynamite" spaetzle dumplings spiked with green onion and Creole mustard. The rabbit is braised in bacon fat until the meat falls off the bone, and it is smothered in white-wine gravy. The inventive menu reaches far beyond the average bar food with New Orleans specialties like alligator sausage and Buffalo oysters that are guaranteed to give your game-time grub some Cajun flair.
Photography courtesy of Gary Nola
Go to: The Rivershack Tavern
South Philadelphia Tap Room — Philadelphia
Guy visited this funky taproom with Marc Summers on Triple D to check out the chef's signature dish that's "head and shoulders above the rest." One of the most-popular items, the headcheese tacos are made from locally sourced pig meat (including the tongue, snout and jowls), which is boiled in spiced vinegar and formed into a jelly-like terrine. Sliced thinly, the headcheese is folded into fresh corn tortillas along with queso fresco and homemade hot sauce for an original taco that Guy called a "taste adventure." If you're not quite as daring with your game-day menu, try the fried peanut butter and jelly (pictured) that's crusted with frosted cornflakes, or order the ricotta apple doughnuts tossed in garam masala sugar and served with hard-cider caramel sauce.
Photography courtesy of South Philadelphia Tap Room
Go to: South Philadelphia Tap Room
Blue Palms Brewhouse — Los Angeles
If you like your game with a side of spice, hit up this LA eatery for the Liars Fuego Steak Melt (pictured) that was featured on Crave as the "ultimate spicy sandwich." It's stacked high with prime rib, a medley of serrano, jalapeno and brined Hungarian peppers, and chipotle aioli between slices of jalapeno cheddar bread for a "creeping heat" that intensifies as you eat. The bar also offers a build-your-own-burger option, but with the famous truffle burger on the menu, you won't bother to design your own. Served on a white-truffle-glazed bun, this decadent burger is cooked in duck fat and slathered with blue cheese, brined peppers and aioli.
Photography courtesy of Blue Palms Brewhouse
Go to: Blue Palms Brewhouse
Culhane's Irish Pub — Atlantic Beach, Florida
This real-deal Irish pub is run by four Irish sisters who are eager to serve up their favorite family recipes, like Guinness beef stew and corned beef and cabbage. Dishing out "comfort food with attitude," they give classic bar foods an Irish twist. On Triple D, Guy tried the stew (pictured) that's made with a special house seasoning blend, plenty of hearty vegetables and tender Guinness-marinated steak. The velvety texture and deep roasted flavor make the stew a satisfying "full-belly dish." On the burger side, order the lamb sliders, griddled in butter and smeared with homemade curry aioli. Guy called them "hands-down perfect."
Photography courtesy of Culhane's Irish Pub
Go to: Culhane's Irish Pub
Mallie's Sports Grill & Bar — Southgate, Michigan
If you're looking to supersize your game-day grub, head to this king of burger joints, which is turning out Guinness World Record-breaking burgers on a regular basis. Having broken the record for the biggest restaurant burger on three occasions, Mallie's set out to build an even bigger, beefier behemoth with Tom Pizzica's help on Outrageous Foods. It started with 270 pounds of ground beef, took 19 hours to cook and required a hydraulic lift to move it into the oven. With blankets of cheese, pounds of bacon and plenty of pickles, the burger weighed in at 319 pounds, easily beating the previous record. You can order one of these monsters for your own big-game bash, provided you give the restaurant 72 hours' notice.
Photography courtesy of Mallie's Sports Grill & Bar
Go to: Mallie's Sports Grill & Bar
Kitty Hoynes — Syracuse, New York
The owner of this upstate watering hole hails from Dublin, so you know he's serving up authentic Irish pub grub, as Guy discovered on Triple D. Take the panko-crusted Reuben fritters (pictured), in which brined corned beef is paired with cream cheese and sauerkraut before hitting the fryer. Once these "creamy cannonballs" are golden-brown, they're plated with a potent dipping sauce made with Guinness mustard and horseradish. Kitty Hoynes is also home to a mean baked Irish meatloaf made with ground lamb and black pudding that's diced and fried for extra crunch. Flavored with a hint of curry and sharp Irish cheddar, the giant loaf is served with a rich cabbage cream sauce that's so good that Guy claimed he could put it over anything.
Photography courtesy of Kitty Hoynes
Go to: Kitty Hoynes