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'Super Food' LVIII

Big game food satisfies big-time appetites

Posted 2/8/24

CLAY COUNTY – Millions of fans believe the best way to tackle football’s biggest game is with a big appetite.

While Super Bowl Sunday isn’t an official holiday, it ranks second for …

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'Super Food' LVIII

Big game food satisfies big-time appetites


Posted

CLAY COUNTY – Millions of fans believe the best way to tackle football’s biggest game is with a big appetite.

While Super Bowl Sunday isn’t an official holiday, it ranks second for gluttony. Thanksgiving, which also has football, is the only other day Americans loosen their belts an extra notch.

Whether fans will stay home to watch the game or join a party, one thing is certain: the menu is as important as the game.

Which snack food is the most popular has been debated for years, but just about every get-together will feature one, if not all, of the three – pizza, wings and chips and dip. So who better to talk about Super Bowl fare than Dalton’s Sports Grill, V Pizza and La Catrina Tacos and Tequila Bar, especially since all three won Best of Clay awards last year?

According to the National Restaurant Association, Mother’s, Valentine’s and Father’s days are the busiest for eating at a restaurant, but restauranteware.com reported right behind the night before Thanksgiving, Super Bowl Sunday is the second-busiest day of the year to order takeout.

“Most of our business will be takeout orders,” said V Pizza kitchen manager Paul Kelly. “We were very busy last year, although we only had one party here for the entire game. Others were eating here but weren’t interested in the game. Most of our business were people picking up to-go orders for the game.”

Kelly said one of the challenges will be having enough dough. He said his staff has made as many as six batches on a busy night, so he doesn’t know what to expect. Also, all of the ingredients are either fresh or imported from Italy.

Nationwide, 12.5 million pizzas will be ordered on Sunday. The favorite toppings are mushroom, sausage and pepperoni.

And for those who want more than pizza, Kelly said the Fleming Island restaurant will also offer trays of 60 wings baked in their brick ovens.

But when it comes to wings, Dalton’s started bracing for the rush of orders five days before kickoff. Owner Skylar Davis said his Lake Asbury restaurant started accepting pre-orders for the Big Game last Tuesday. He expects to sell so many wings the kitchen staff had to re-arrange the walk-in cooler because he will need more than three-quarters of a ton on top of his weekly order.

“I’ll be on the verge of running out,” he said. “I’ll double in one day what we normally do in a week. About 60% of those will be to go.”

The grill will also have boneless wings on the menu. And of the 23 sauces on the menu, Davis said his house-made Cajun Ranch and medium Buffalo are his best sellers.

Davis said there’s a reason his restaurant’s wings have been voted Best of Clay for five consecutive years.

“It’s a secret recipe,” he said. “There’s a certain temperature we cook at and a certain type of oil. Most important is the people cooking them. There are only a few who can cook our wings. Those three things are our secret ingredients.”

Most publications list wings as the most popular food for the Super Bowl. In fact, more than 1.42 billion wings – more than 100 million pounds, will be consumed, according to the National Chicken Council.

But no party is complete without chips and dip. La Catrina Tacos and Tequila Bar in Middleburg will make mountains of chips and buckets of sauces ahead of the game.

Manager Kenneth Morales said his restaurant will start with 100 gallons of fresh-made salsa, but they will make more as needed.

“You don’t want salsa to sit too long,” he said. “We keep ours fresh. We make it here with fresh jalapenos, cilantro and onions. It doesn’t last long.”

Morales said crispy homemade chips are the secret to a perfect chip and dip combination. According to Better Homes and Gardens, fans across the country will eat 8.2 million pounds of bagged tortilla chips. Moreover, Morales said he doesn’t let the corn chips sit too long.

“We normally cook chips two times a day,” he said. “It will be a lot more on Sunday. If you let them sit for too long, they get a funny taste, so we don’t keep chips.”

La Catrina will also sell gallons of queso and guacamole.

Two out of three fans will buy chips, salsa, queso and guacamole for the game.

Whether you plan to snack on pizza, wings or chips and dip during the big game, beer is, by far, the most popular way to wash it down. Revelers will drink 323.5 million gallons – enough to fill 2,000 Olympic-sized pools.