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The Best NFL Stadiums for Craft Beer

The Best NFL Stadiums for Craft Beer

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When we’re kicking back at a football game, many of us reach for one thing: beer. Whether we enjoy a classic, All-American Sam Adams or prefer to sip on local craft beers, a cold beer goes hand-in-hand with the tailgates, hot dogs, and body paint that make up the NFL season.

With the NFL season already rolling, we had to know: which stadium has the best craft beer selection?

The Best NFL Stadiums for Craft Beer (Slideshow)

Last year, we published our list of The Best NFL Stadiums for Craft Beer for 2013. This year, we added a new winner to the list: the New England Patriots’ Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., which came in at number seven out of the 10 best stadiums. Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis was knocked down to number eight and M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore to number nine.

Granted, it isn't so easy to find these elusive craft beers at the 31 NFL stadiums across the country. In case you were unaware of this, big beer sort of has a lockdown on NFL football, as well as on any other major-league sport. (At least we get some amusing Budweiser commercials during the Super Bowl out of it.) So unless you're tailgating with a great craft beer in hand (we're particularly indebted to for giving us the most in-depth guide to the craft breweries nearby each stadium), you most likely have to suck it up and hand over the big bucks for a mass-produced beer.

But if you're willing to take a bit of a hike during the game — obviously, we recommend doubling up on beer orders to make up for lost time — and search, certain NFL stadiums will have the local craft beer you're craving. In fact, stadiums now are heeding the craft beer cry and building in beer gardens and craft beer "houses" to provide dozen of local draughts. That makes game day just a bit more exciting for the beer lover.

Of course, it goes without saying that you'll be paying up to get a better beer. This year's research showed that an "average" beer at the stadium costs $7.53, up 25 cents from 2013. And this year, the winner of the most expensive beer at the game goes to the Oakland Raiders at $10.75 apiece. But in making our list, we left price aside and researched how many craft beers were on tap, how accessible they were to the public, and which stadiums have the most variety. After all, circling the stadium for a beer can make for an exhausting beer run.

Wisconsin is the newly crowned capitol of craft brewing, if the most recent beer awards are anything to go by. So it should be no surprise that Lambeau Field, home to the Green Bay Packers, makes our list. The Carolina Panthers have made their love for craft beer known by adding several new breweries to the lineup, particularly the NoDa Brewing Company, Big Boss Brewing, New Belgium Brewing Company (a new addition to the Carolina beer scene) and the Olde Mecklenburg Brewery. Even more impressive: a beer garden stationed at section 101, with an even bigger beer selection, shares Carolina Beer.

We know which stadiums are now on the bucket list for the craft beer lover-cum-sports fan in all of us.

#9 Baltimore Ravens — M&T Bank Stadium

Look for a wide range of Flying Dog beers. We give the Ravens’ home field props for making local breweries Flying Dog Brewery, based in Maryland, special to the stadium. After all, Flying Dog was a hit with the Orioles, too.

#8 Colts — Lucas Oil Stadium

The beer selection isn’t the best atLucas Oil Stadium; you’ll find more domestic beers (think Bud and Coors) on tap than craft beers. Some that you will find, though, are the Sunlight Cream Ale, Wee Mac Scottish Ale, and Osiris Pale Ale.

See more of The Best NFL Stadiums for Craft Beer.

Additional reporting by The Daily Meal’s assistant editor Haley Willard.

Which NFL Stadium Has the Biggest Beer and Wine Selection?

Regardless of your home team, beer and wine menus have grown significantly across the league.

Bud Light is the official beer sponsor of the NFL, and not that long ago, it seemed like mass-market beers were all you could find at games. But times have changed: Many stadiums have embraced craft beer and improved their wine selection. Heck, the NFL even has an official hard seltzer now. But which stadiums excel when it comes to offering the widest selection of beer and wine? Some recent analysis suggests the Seattle Seahawks may feature more drinks diversity than anyone else.

The Las Vegas-based hangover specialists Hangover Heaven attempted to dig up the complete beer and wine offerings of all 31 football stadiums in the NFL. Doing so wasn’t as easy as they had hoped: Ten stadiums "didn’t list their beverage menus anywhere that was readily accessible to the public"—leading the company to turn to the beer check-in site Untappd for data instead. Unfortunately, not only does Untappd rely on self-reported data, but the app doesn’t deal in wine—which significantly skews the data for those ten stadiums. Still, the final report does paint a picture of which NFL teams favor wide arrays of alcoholic drinks.

The largest selection, by far, came in Seattle, where the Seahawks’ CenturyLink Field was found to sell 139 different beers and wines, including 48 red wines, 21 whites, six roses, four sparklers, 30 mostly-local craft beers, and 30 macro beers. Second on the list was the New Orleans Saints who offered 81 different beers and wines at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The rest of the top five were the Atlanta Falcons (77 types), the Dallas Cowboys (68 types), and the Cincinnati Bengals (66 types).

FedExField (Washington Redskins)

Location: Landover, Maryland
Capacity: 82,000
Year Opened: 1997

Proof that bigger isn’t always better, FedExField (no, there isn’t supposed to be a space anywhere in there) has a higher seating capacity than most stadiums in the NFL, but it’s also arguably the last one you’d want to visit. First off, when your team is supposed to be located in a major city like the nation’s capital, having to drive 45 minutes out to the suburbs to take in a game frankly sucks. Not to mention that once you get there, parking will cost you nearly $60 and tickets are among the most expensive in the league.

FedExField was also tied for the worst home-field advantage in the entire NFL by ESPN in 2017, and it was voted the worst football stadium by a poll of about 2,000 people on Ranker.

Miami Dolphins

Best thing: The newly rebranded and upgraded Hard Rock Stadium features four new HD scoreboards and a canopy over the venue to protect most of the fans from the rain. It will also help keep in the crowd noise.

Worst thing: Too many Dolphins fans sell their tickets to fans of visiting teams, particularly late in the year during the stretch run. That makes it hard for Miami to establish a sizable home-field advantage. -- James Walker

From steamed hot dogs to fancy flavors: NFL’s stadium food revolution

Think of the NFL stadium hamburger of yesteryear. Whether five, 10 or even 20 years ago, it was a nondescript strip of meat slapped between a typical church potluck-type bun, offered up with your squeeze-containers of ketchup, mustard, relish and—maybe𠅌hopped onions a few yards away on a concourse counter tucked between the restrooms and your stairwell.

Across much of the league, that hamburger still exists, but not in the same form: Now it’s a grass-fed beef burger on a sourdough bun served with lettuce, onions, tomatoes and pickles and adorned with condiments in front of you.

“People are much more food focused,” says Sal Ferrulo, executive vice president for Centerplate, a company that tackles food service in five NFL stadiums, including the newest, Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara. “We’ve had to make the event a better experience for the fan. It is about the game, the food, being comfortable. It is the era of the open kitchen. People buy with their eyes, they want to see the food and smell it.”

As a consequence, NFL stadium food has evolved significantly in the last five years. As the larger American food culture began to welcome in a wider range of ingredients, whether ushered in by their Food Network favorites, specialty markets or health-savvy advisors, stadiums have been compelled to keep pace in order to lure fans to eat at their venues.

And as new stadiums open, they’re even constructed in a different way, accommodating for the rush of new eatery styles with expanded concourse spaces, better selections of craft beer—not exactly a consideration in decades past𠅊nd a fresh way to experience food. Even old stadiums started to change the way they approached food during remodels. Restaurant space had to mimic that of modern food culture, with a shift toward open kitchens, new ingredients and diversity of flavors. 

“People are going to venues prior [to a game] and after to capture in the stadium the local flavors they expect to find around [the city],” says Joe Nader, executive chef at Detroit’s Ford Field, a Levy Restaurants venue. “Now they can enjoy the local flavors and things they would expect to find around Detroit inside the stadium.”

Stadium food is trending local, flavor-focused and beyond the basics. Sure, the core items of hot dogs, popcorn, nachos, soda and draft beer will always remain. But now they are joined by regional specialties.

In Santa Clara, the steamed bao sampler highlights the fusion of Bay Area food on a menu with 180 different regionally inspired choices. Indianapolis features a slow-roasted homestyle pot roast sandwich and New Orleans a Steen’s cane syrup-braised pork belly Poydras Street Po-Boy, just to name a few.

The NFL Stadium Food Power Rankings

Tailgate isn't everything. Sometimes you're actually inside, watching the game, and you get hungry. Most of the time, that means soggy nachos and rubbery bratwurst. But as we found in our highly unscientific research into gameday grub across the league, sometimes there's also an excellent pulled-pork sandwich around midfield &mdash and, more often, a nice local brew. Now we haven't been to all these stadiums, but we have scanned fan preferences and some cold hard facts. The result is an extremely biased and highly debatable guide &mdash based on five standard categories measured on a sliding scale of awful to excellent &mdash that should help you calculate the cost of a ticket, re-evaluate your bragging rights, or at least stop worrying about where your team stands in the real power rankings. Because if there's one thing we can say definitively about food and football, it's that the caliber of your team most definitely does not match the caliber of its cuisine.

1. Seattle Seahawks (Qwest Field)

Number of concessions: 47

Number of restaurants: 1 (The FSN Lounge)

Local options: Excellent (Seattle Dogs, Taco Ma's, Glo Bowl Thai)

Beer selection: Very Good (Miller and Coors, plus Amberweizen, Hefeweizen, IPA, Curve Ball, and Red Hook ESB)

Pro: More international options than you probably even need.

Con: More options than you probably even need.

2. Dallas Cowboys (Cowboys Stadium)

Number of concessions: > 150

Celebrity chef: Jamie Samford

Local options: Very Good (Texas catfish po' boy, The Kobe Burger)

Beer selection: Good (Miller, MGD, Coors, Bud, Shiner)

Pro: The Cowboys cheese steak.

Con: $7.50 for a hot dog?

3. Washington Redskins (FedEx Field)

Number of concessions: 50

Number of restaurants: 1

Local options: Good (Famous Dave's BBQ)

Beer selection: Excellent (24 on draft, 26 in bottles, and then the175-seat glass-enclosed brew house)
Pro: Hooters.

4. Pittsburgh Steelers (Heinz Field)

Number of concessions: 32

Number of restaurants: 0

Local options: Very Good (Benkovitz Seafood, Quaker Steak and Lube)

Beer selection: Excellent (Iron City, Blue Moon, Yuengling, Bass, Guinness, Harp, Penn Pilsner)

Pro: Two words: Primanti Brothers.

Con: Six words: 61 percent critical health violations.

5. Houston Texans (Reliant Stadium)

Number of concessions: 38

Number of restaurants: 0

Local options: Good (Cactus Cantina, Red River dogs, Luther's BBQ)

Beer selection: Very Good (St. Arnold, Dos Equis, Corona, Fat Tire, Pyramid and Blue Moon).

Pro: "The barbecue capital of the NFL."

Con: The walk home.

6. New Orleans Saints (Louisiana Superdome)

Number of concessions: >150

Number of restaurants: 1

Celebrity chef: Lenny Martinsens

Local options: Very Good (gumbo, jambalaya, cajun sausage, alligator sausage)

Beer selection: Good (Bud, Heineken, Corona, Abita, Michelob, Newcastle)

Pro: Did we mention the alligator sausage?

Con: Have you tried the gumbo?

7. Miami Dolphins (Sun Life Stadium)

Number of concessions: 40

Number of restaurants: 2

Celebrity chef: Orlando R. Morales

Local options: Good ("Asian" stir fry, Caribbean "cuisine")
Beer selection: Average (Miller, Coors, Landshark)

Pro: The paella.

Con: Again with the health violations.

8. Arizona Cardinals (University of Phoenix Stadium)

Number of concessions: 47

Local options: Very Good (Grande Roja, PizzaZ Mr. B's BBq, Touchdown Tortilla)

Beer selection: Average (Bud, Bud Light, Miller Lite)

Pro: Mr. B's brisket.

Con: After the brisket.

9. Chicago Bears (Soldier Field)

Number of concessions: >400

Number of restaurants: 0

Celebrity chef: Mark Angeles

Local options: Very good (you know, sausage)

Beer selection: Very good (Miller, Goose Island Honker's Ale)

Pro: Steamed pork buns.

Con: Steamed pizza.

10. Green Bay Packers (Lambeau Field)

Number of concessions: >200

Number of restaurants: 1 (Curly's Pub)

Local options: Very Good (Meat Packing Company, Titletown Grill)

Beer selection: Good (every kind of Leinenkugel Beer on tap)

Pro: Fratello's lasagna &mdash oozing, in a good way.

Con: The service at Curly's Pub &mdash standing, not in a good way.

11. San Francisco 49ers (Candlestick Park)

Number of concessions: 44

Number of restaurants: 4

Local options: Good (Papa Murphy's Pizza, Boudin's chouder, lots of seafood)

Beer selection: Good (plenty of microbrews on tap)

Pro: Edible fish tacos.

Con: Not-that-edible hot dogs.

12. Baltimore Ravens (M&T Bank Stadium)

Number of concessions: 45

Number of restaurants: 0

Celebrity chef: Chad Vandegrift

Local options: Good (a big BBQ stand)

Beer selection: Good (Miller, Budweiser, Michelob and Coors, Heineken, Amstel and Yuengling, Sam Adams and Corona)

Pro: Crab cakes. Lots of crab cakes.

Con: Eight dollars for a hot dog. Really.

13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Raymond James Stadium)

Number of concessions: >500

Number of restaurants: 0

Local options: Good (but all pirate-themed: Treasure Cafe, The Galey, Crows Nest)

Beer selection: Good (Miller, Coors, Red Bridge Gluten-Free beer)

Pro: Smoked short ribs.
Con: It's Tampa.

14. New York Giants/Jets (New Meadowlands Stadium)

Number of concessions: 42 fixed, 92 portable

Celebrity chef: Eric Borgia

Local options: Good (Boardwalk Fryer, Brooklyn Custom Burgers)

Beer selection: Good (Brooklyn Lager, Hoegarden, Guiness)

Pro: "Go eat a goddamn snack."

Con: "Eating a bunch of fucking cheeseburgers before you stretch? That's being a jackass."

15. Carolina Panthers (Bank of America Stadium)

Number of concessions: 429

Local options: Good (Bojangles, the BBQ Shack)

Beer selection: Very good (SC Doubloon Double Pale Ale, Maelstrom IPA, Olde Meck Copper)

Pro: Serious pulled pork.

Con: Seriously not much beyond Carolina BBQ.

16. Detroit Lions (Ford Field)

Number of concessions: >50

Number of restaurants: 7

Celebrity chef: Joseph Nader

Local options: Good (Poletown Sausage, Big Boy, Charlie Sanders's BBQ)

Beer selection: Average (Bud, Miller, Coors)

Pro: The chicken.

17. Oakland Raiders (Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum)

Number of concessions:: >50

Number of restaurants: 1

Local options: Average (garlic fries. )

Beer selection: Good (Anheuser/Busch brews, Sam Adams, Sierra Nevada, Guinness, Dos Equis)

Pro: Teriyaki everywhere.

Con: Almost too friendly to vegetarians.

18. Denver Broncos (Invesco Field at Mile High)

Number of concessions: >100

Celebrity chef: Christopher DeJohn

Local options: Average (Jalapeno Heaven, Blitzburger Grille, Buenos Dias Burritos)

Beer selection: Good (come on: it's Colorado)

Pro: Prime-rib sandwiches.
Con: Primetime prices.

19. Philadelphia Eagles (Lincoln Financial Field)

Number of concessions: >200

Local options: Average (Chickie's and Pete's)

Beer selection: Substandard (Bud, Miller, Coors)

Pro: Cheese steak.

Con: Cheese steak from Massachusetts.

20. Kansas City Chiefs (Arrowhead Stadium)

Number of concessions: >50

Celebrity chef: Kevin Williams

Local options: Good (BBQ, Primo Italian Classics, the Flame Grill)

Beer selection: Average (Boulevard, Bud Light, Miller Lite)

Con: The Chicken Basket? No.

21. Cleveland Browns (Cleveland Browns Stadium)

Number of concessions: 576 points of sale

Number of restaurants: 1 (Gridiron Square)

Local options: Average (Dawg Pound Deli, Browns Bistro, Donato's Pizza)

Beer selection: Average (Budweiser, Bud Light, Miller Light, Coors Light)

Pro: The Dawg Pound Deli

Con: The nachos in a dog-food dish &mdash degrading.

22. Jacksonville Jaguars (EverBank Field)

Number of concessions: >40

Number of restaurants: 5

Local options: Average (El Gato Grande, Andrew Jackson's BBQ)

Beer selection: Good (Duke's Cold Nose Brown Ale, Killer Whale Cream Ale)

Pro: Andrew Jackson's BBQ!

Con: Andrew Jackson?

23. Tennessee Titans (LP Field)

Number of concessions: 60

Local options: Good

Beer selection: Substandard (no local beers)

Pro: Serious buffet.

Con: Seriously boring beer selection.

24. Indianapolis Colts (Lucas Oil Stadium)

Number of concessions: >160

Local options: Average

Beer selection: Average (Budweiser, Miller, Coors, Corona, Heineken, Amstel Light)

Pro: Good nachos, actually.

Con: The rest? Not so much.

25. New England Patriots (Gillette Stadium)

Number of concessions: >500

Local options: Average

Beer selection: Good (the Sam Adams roster)

Pro: Tailgating is fantastic.

Con: The $9 "value" meal at the McDonald's.

26. San Diego Chargers (Qualcomm Stadium)

Number of concessions: 125

Number of restaurants: 2

Local options: Substandard

Beer selection: Coors Light, Heineken, Dos Equis, Blue Moon

Pro: Fish tacos?

27. Atlanta Falcons (Georgia Dome)

Number of concessions: n/a

Number of restaurants: 1

Local options: Average (Taco Mac

Beer selection: Good (Bud, Miller, Michelob, Coors, Heineken, Corona, Newcastle, Guinness)

Pro: Spitting out the Michelob?

Con: Too expensive for not much.

28. Buffalo Bills (Ralph Wilson Stadium)

Number of concessions: 42

Number of restaurants: 1

Local options: Average

Beer selection: Average (Budweiser, Bud Light, Coors Light, Heineken, Guinness)

Pro: Beef on weck sandwiches.

29. St. Louis Rams (Edward Jones Dome)

Number of concessions: >40

Local options: Average

Beer selection: Substandard

Pro: Toasted (read: deep-fried) ravioli.

Con: $9.50 for a beer?

30. Minnesota Vikings (Mall of America Field at Hubert H. Humphrey Dome)

Number of concessions: >40

Number of restaurants: 0

Local options: Substandard

Beer selection: Substandard (Miller, coupla local brews)

Pro: BBQ pork sandwiches at Famous Dave's.

Con: Not much else.

31. Cincinnati Bengals (Paul Brown Stadium)

Number of concessions: 56

Number of restaurants: 0

Local options: Awful

Beer selection: Good (Bud, Bud Light, Miller Lite, Guinness, Warsteiner)

If you’re a football fan you need to hop in your RV and visit these NFL stadiums.

Any serious NFL fan is likely to have a list of stadiums on their bucket list. Which stops are on yours? Exploring the country’s great NFL stadiums is easy and fun to do when you have an RV as your main mode of transportation and accommodation. Here are a few of my favorite NFL stadiums that’ll hopefully inspire your next RV adventure.

1. AT&T Stadium: Arlington, Texas

Set up camp at Dallas / Arlington KOA Holiday and head to AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys. Stepping through the entrance, fans are greeted with a panoramic view of the field, which is built 50 feet below street level. You can’t miss the stadium’s massive HD video board suspended above center field—it’s one of the largest video boards in the world. Chow down at some of the stadium’s best concession stands, like The Organic Coup, which serves 100 percent organic fried chicken with beer pairings. You’ll also find fan favorites like brisket from The Carvery, and ice cream sandwiches from CREAM’S on the Promenade Level.

2. Lambeau Field: Green Bay, Wisconsin

You can’t drive through Wisconsin without stopping in Green Bay. Lambeau Field is one of the NFL’s most historic stadiums, home to the Green Bay Packers since 1957. It’s the site of the first NFL Championship game in Green Bay, and where legendary coach Vince Lombardi coached through the 1960s. The food at this stadium is some of the best in nation. If you’re ravenous, order the “Lam-Bowl”—three pounds of sausage, cheese curds, bacon and tater tots topped with beer cheese and cherry peppers, all piled into a collectable bowl.

3. Bank of America Stadium: Charlotte, North Carolina

The Carolina Panthers played their first game at Bank of America Stadium in 1996, and it’s been a staple of the sports world ever since. Located in downtown Charlotte, this stadium is known for its sleek exterior featuring a black granite façade and a pair of eight-foot-tall panthers guarding the entrance. Hit the brakes at Charlotte / Fort Mill KOA and head straight to the stadium to take your pick from Southern-style concessions and craft beer.

4. CenturyLink Field: Seattle, Washington

The Seattle Seahawks roost at CenturyLink Field, a horseshoe-shaped megadome with a 13-story tower known as the “Hawk’s Nest” where the most die-hard fans are known to gather. The stadium seating offers some of the best views in the game, from the action on the field to views of the Seattle skyline. Make your own nest at Seattle / Tacoma KOA, and head straight to the stadium for the Brougham Beer Hall in Section 128. Follow up at club level concessions like Seastar Restaurant—known for everything from sushi to clam chowder—or an ultimate bacon burger from Beardslee Public House.

5. Mercedes-Benz Stadium: Atlanta, Georgia

The new home of the Atlanta Falcons is setting a standard for NFL stadiums across the country. The big draw is the 360-degree video board circling the center opening of the retractable roof, which allows for natural lighting whether open or closed. Enjoy drinks and apps at Park Bar (also an official U.S. soccer bar, now that Atlanta United has begun kicking around town), or stop by STATS, a huge sports bar and local fan favorite. They’re one of the only bars in the U.S. to feature a beer tap system at select tables, allowing guests to pour their own beer as they please.

6. MetLife Stadium: East Rutherford, New Jersey

This stadium is home to both the New York Giants and the New York Jets, and it’s widely known as one of the best stadiums in the NFL. The signature feature is known as the “Great Wall,” a rectangular structure built to display murals of the current team’s players as well as historic highlights. MetLife was also the site of the 2014 Super Bowl, which was the first time the game was played in an outdoor stadium in wintry weather. Whatever time of year, get to Redd’s Restaurant & Bar, where you can leave your car and take a shuttle to the stadium.

7. Gillette Stadium: Foxborough, Massachusetts

If you’re parked at the Boston / Cape Cod KOA Holiday, Gillette Stadium is a fantasy day trip. The home of the New England Patriots has served as the ultimate HQ for the Pats since opening in 2002. Since then, they’ve made the playoffs 14 times, and they’ve won five Super Bowl Championships with coach Bill Belichick. Across the street from the stadium is Patriot’s Place, a massive complex with restaurants like The Scorpion Bar and Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar And Grill.

These seven stadiums have more than enough to get you going, but don’t stop there. Honorable mentions include Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, a 68,400-seater known for its local concessions. And don’t forget U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, home to more than a dozen local craft breweries in the house. However, to get the real inside scoop on these stadiums, you’re going to have to go see them for yourself. Happy traveling!

Adam Young, the founder and CEO of Event Tickets Center, uses his personal and professional experience with events and venues to help inspire and inform readers so they can get out and experience something new.

New Food Items for 2018

  • Quinoa Burger (vegetarian)
  • “A” burger
  • Tequila Chicken Burger
  • Garbanzo Burger (vegetarian)

Mercedes-Benz Stadium is unveiling a new craft beer exclusively brewed for MBS in partnership with a local brewery. The beer will be featured on draft in concession stands throughout the stadium. This high-quality craft offering will sell at the domestic draft price, $5 for a 12 oz. draft and $7 for a 20oz. furthering our commitment to finding innovative ways to respond to our fans. More details on name and brand identity will be available in the coming weeks.





Fan-Favorite Football Foods Across America

For many, football means food. We scoured the country for the best locally inspired football fare — and where to eat it while the game's on. From classic wings in Buffalo to more creative local takes on classic game-day snacks, here is the dish to try for all 32 NFL teams.

Related To:

Photo By: Jackie Alpers ©2016, Television FoodNetwork, G.P.All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Andrew Thomas Lee

Photo By: Citizen Pictures

Photo By: BurkleHagen Photography

Photo By: Callise Blandi Styling: David Sciulli

Arizona Cardinals: Cheese Crisp

Arizona's cuisine is heavily influenced by Mexico, so the cheese crisp, a hybrid of an open-faced quesadilla and a well-topped Mexican pizza, is mighty popular. Fans love pairing the dish with a crisp local brew, like SanTan's Devils Ale. Grab one to go from Mi Nidito in Tucson, where the game's usually on in the waiting area. The Beaver Bar and Ammaccapane's, both in Phoenix, offer good ones, along with plenty of TVs.

Atlanta Falcons: Fried Chicken Sandwich

Falcons fans have plenty of great local food to enjoy at gametime. At STATS, within walking distance of the team's Mercedez-Benz Stadium, fans can dig into creative takes on Southern classics, while watching the game on flatscreen TVs and sipping beer from tableside taps. Favorite Atlantan dishes include boiled peanuts and Southern-tinged fare like the Dirty Bird sandwich, with vinegar slaw and spicy mayonnaise. It's best paired with the house-brewed IPA, Bushwood.

Baltimore Ravens: Crab Nachos

In the waterfront town of Baltimore, crabs are almost as beloved as famous past resident Edgar Allan Poe (for whom the Ravens are named). Fans feast on plenty of local fare come game day &mdash M&T Bank Stadium sells crab cakes, pit beef and Old Bay-seasoned sandwiches. At Looney's Pub in Canton, crab appears throughout the menu, filling potato skins, in a spicy dip with French bread, topping a pretzel and over fries. The best rendition may be atop gooey nachos. Pair it with Flying Dog IPA.

Buffalo Bills: Buffalo Wings

The favorite finger food of sports fans, Buffalo wings get their name from the city of their inception, and are thus pretty astoundingly popular here, and have been since their invention in the 1960s. Buffalo wings are served at New Era Field, though fans without tickets head to Anchor Bar, where the wings were invented. Pair your choice with an IPA from Community Beer Works.

Carolina Panthers: Barbecue Sliders

North Carolina is all about barbecue, and Panthers fans are all about barbecue-centric tailgates. Inside Bank of America Stadium, it's available as barbecue-topped nachos, pulled pork sandwiches and brisket. Over at Heist Brewery, barbecue inspires wings &mdash as Carolina barbecue or classic barbecue flavors &mdash and brisket-bolstered burgers.

Chicago Bears: Hot Dogs

Ketchup fans, turn away. Chicago hot dogs are in a class by themselves, and they're tomato-free. Dragged through the garden, these boiled dogs get flavor from zippy yellow mustard, a pickle, spicy sport peppers and sweet green relish under a thatch of fries. There is no tomato and absolutely no ketchup. Find the best ones outside town at Gene & Jude's, and wash them down with a Goose Island IPA.

Cincinnati Bengals: Chili and Tots

Cincinnati has its own namesake chili, which locals serve over spaghetti (it's that good). Order a bowl for game day or, better yet, at Lachey's in Over-the-Rhine, order a bacon-topped Tot Bowl with a side of chili for dipping. The bar offers flatscreen TVs, a running ticker with updates and plenty of beers on tap. Fans who head to Paul Brown Stadium can dive into burgers, chili and waffle sandwiches.

Cleveland Browns: Polish Boy

Clevelanders love their Polish sausages, which are especially good at game-day tailgates with local beer. At the Browns' FirstEnergy Stadium, football fans can dive into kraut-topped kielbasa, Italian sausages and a cheddar-spicy-pepper sausage at Sausage & Peppers. For those who prefer not to grill themselves, grab some from Banter, where the Polish Boy, poutines and draft brews have gained a hyper-devoted following.

Dallas Cowboys: Chicken-Fried Steak Sandwich

At the Cowboys' AT&T Stadium, football fans can dive into Texas-sized fare, including mac and cheese and a chicken-waffle sandwich. In the land of chicken-fried steaks, fans outside the stadium can tuck into the battered, beer-friendly favorite at Angry Dog, where Duke&rsquos Chicken Fried Steak Sandwich can be devoured by nine televisions with one of 20 beers on tap, or 100 by the bottle.

Denver Broncos: Green Chile Fries

Denverites love their green chile. Get some of the best in town with prime game-day viewing at Blake Street Tavern, where green chile is served over fries, burgers or by the bowl. At Sports Authority Field at Mile High, home to the Denver Broncos, fans can dive into green chile dogs and pizza.

Detroit Lions: Coney Island Dog

This is not New York arrogance: Coney Island dogs &mdash or chili dogs, as they're known anywhere outside Motor City &mdash are a Detroit favorite, found at bars and restaurahts throughout the city. They're topped with chili sauce, mustard and onions, then tucked into a steamed bun. The Detroiter Bar, which offers game-day shuttles, serves two for $5.

Green Bay Packers: Cheese Curds

Unsurprisingly, Cheeseheads love their cheese. From the beer macaroni and cheese at Lambeau Field to the cheddar-topped chili bowls of tailgating fans, there's no shortage of dairy. Kroll's West, right by the stadium, serves queso, mozzarella sticks, poppers and, of course, deep-fried cheese curds. They're best paired with Miller or the house ale.

Houston Texans: Beef Brisket

The Houston Texans may be a newer team to the NFL, but locals and fans know that meat-loving Texans are firmly established in the barbecue game. With plenty of barbecue, in platter and sandwich form at NRG Stadium, games are a meatfest. Gatlin's is a favorite for smoky brisket sandwiches and pork-topped baked potatoes, with TVs tuned into the game.

Indianapolis Colts: Pork Tenderloin Sandwich

So well-known for deep-fried pork tenderloin sandwiches is Indiana that there's an actual Tenderloin Trail and a Hoosier Pork Tenderloin Sandwich. Equally devoted to their team as they are their game-day fare, Colts fans pack the sandwiches for tailgates, or stick closer to Lucas Oil Stadium. Among the down-home food served at Christie's are pork tenderloin sandwiches, hand-breaded and fried and served rolls. Pair it one with a brew from Sun King &mdash the first full-scale production brewery to open in Indianapolis in more than 50 years.

Jacksonville Jaguars: Fried Shrimp

Shrimp are a beloved-enough food that the local minor league baseball team is the Jumbo Shrimp. Locals pride themselves on sweet Mayport shrimp. At EverBank Field, home of the Jacksonville Jaguars, you can find it in a few preparations. Nearby at Sneakers, Jaguars fans dig into Mayport shrimp and fries, with eight TVs tuned into the game.

Kansas City Chiefs: Burnt Ends Nachos

Kansas City loves its barbecue and its Chiefs. Tailgates are rife with the smell of smoked meats, and Arrowhead Stadium serves carnitas tortas, barbecue wings and braised short rib mac and cheese. One beloved local dish is burnt ends, delicious as a platter but even better at sports bar The Granfalloon, when they're scattered over cheesy nachos with jalapenos. Grab a table and watch the game on seemingly countless TVs.

Los Angeles Chargers: Fish Tacos

With roots in San Diego, the Chargers keep it sunny and exclusively Southern Californian. At StubHub Center, many concessions have a Mexican spice, including carne asada nachos. Cheer the team on with top-tier fish tacos at FishBar in Manhattan Beach. The seafood-centric restaurant plays all the NFL games on 20 large TVs. Beers include the house pale ale, San Diego's Coronado Brewing and Stone Brewing, though many fans opt for quality cocktails like the hibiscus margarita.

Los Angeles Rams: French Dip

The French Dip was born in Los Angeles, and Angelenos proudly ignore the stereotypes about macrobiotic food and all-salad diets to plunge meaty sandwiches into jus. When it comes to cheering on the Rams, many food-loving fans head to Beer Belly in Koreatown for spicy wings and a duck-filled take on the dip. Pair it with a seasonal local brew from Inglewood's Three Weavers or Eagle Rock Brewery.

Miami Dolphins: Fish Sandwich

Miami fans are spoiled with food options, including tropical fruit, Cuban dishes and plenty of fresh, local fish. Scully's Tavern is locally beloved for its bar bites and local flavor. Cheer on the Dolphins with dolphin-inspired dishes made with mahi-mahi, including fish tacos, the potato chip-crusted dolphin sandwich and a blackened version that piles on the spice.

Minnesota Vikings: Juicy Lucy

The Juicy Lucy was invented at Matt's Bar in Minneapolis, and is the ideal way to stave off icy chills at U.S. Bank Stadium. The Nook, a lively bar with shuttles to the games, serves its own take, the Juicy Nookie, which is packed with molten pepperjack. If that's not enough, many fans get the roast beef-topped take, Guy's Big Bite, created and named for Guy's visit to the joint on an episode of Triple D.

New England Patriots: Fish and Chips

A well-hit home run from Fenway, Beerworks is a destination for all local games. The menu includes pub favorites &mdash burgers, nachos and wings &mdash along with regional specials, including locally caught haddock served as fish and chips with aioli and slaw, or tucked into a sandwich. Pair it with Fenway Pale Ale or the Original Boston Red. On cold days, start with a bowl of New England clam chowder, a fan favorite in fact many game-goers beat the chill at Gillette Stadium with cups of creamy clam chowder, perhaps best paired with a Sam Adams.

New Orleans Saints: Po' Boys

There are plenty of options for Saints fans: New Orleans is nothing if not a food city. Crawfish, boudin balls, muffulettas: enticements abound. In fact, the Mercedes-Benz Superdome serves plenty of them for game-goers. In the French Quarter, head to tiny dive bar Buffa's for po'boys, Buffa-lo wings and red beans with rice, while the game plays. Those who prefer to pick up po' boys to pair with Abitas at home should grab their favorite flavor from the beloved Parkway Bakery & Tavern.

Photo courtesy of Eric Leath

New York Giants: Reuben Burger

Two of New Yorkers' favorite foods come together in one gloriously meaty game-day dish: the Reuben Burger at The Ainsworth. With five locations around the city &mdash each offering TVs from seemingly every angle &mdash the chandelier-lit upscale sports bar aims to suit all tastes. Combining the best of the classic NYC deli Reuben and a juicy burger, it's an appropriately giant order. Those with game tickets can dig into NY-approved pastrami hoagies, pizza, burgers and more at MetLife Stadium.

New York Jets: Jersey Subs

Jets fans love to joke about their disappointments, which are best alleviated by extra-large submarine sandwiches. Also known as a hoagie, grinder or hero, the concept is all the same: a heap of cheese and meat (turkey, cappacuolo, etc.), served on a hero. What gives it the Jersey touch is the dressing of the sub, the addition of onions, lettuce and tomatoes, and a blend of olive oil, red wine vinegar and spices. Whether made at home for a MetLife tailgate or bought from Jersey Mike Subs, they're a local tradition.

Oakland Raiders: Stuffed Potato Skins

Raiders fans love a good tailgate, and can be seen grilling steaks, roasting pigs and making tacos outside Coliseum. Inside, attendees can dig into burritos, barbecue and sandwiches. Nearby, Ricky's, Ricky's shows the games on 90 screens, with a menu that includes potato skins, sliders, tri-tip sandwiches and stuffed potato skins that are fittingly akin to a food-centric treasure raid.

Philadelphia Eagles: Cheesesteak Egg Roll

Cheesesteaks are a Philadelphia tradition, with local shops competing to serve the best version. Several versions are sold at the Eagles' Lincoln Financial Field, in addition to spicy chicken sandwiches and Pizzeria Vetri pizza. Come game day, head to Founding Fathers for roast pork sandwiches, nachos, flatbreads and an ingenious take on the cheesesteak: cheesesteak egg rolls. Watch the game on 13 TVs and grab craft beer like Victory's Hop Devil IPA.

Pittsburgh Steelers: Pierogi Sandwich

Pittsburgh is a city where cultures meld &mdash Italian and Polish cultures are especially prominent. Just across the river from Heinz Field, in Market Square, The Yard serves a hearty menu of grilled cheese sandwiches, including Pierogies N'At, a cheddar-gouda blend stuffed with fried pierogies and kielbasa, with caramelized onions and sauerkraut. Pair it with a local IPA from Eleventh Hour Brewing and catch the game on flat-screen TVs around the space. Those who head to the game can grab sandwiches from Primanti Brothers.

San Francisco 49ers: Tacos

San Franciscans love a good taco or burrito, especially when it comes with a backdrop of 49ers games. Underdogs in the Inner Sunset, shows Niners games on 10 TVs. From the owner of Nick's Crispy Tacos, the space serves an unbeatable menu of Mexican food, including Mission-style burritos and the Nick's taco, a crispy tortilla wrapped in a soft tortilla, filled iwth carnitas, chicken, carne asada, chorizo or vegetables. At Levi's Stadium, fans can find vegan burgers, steamed buns, gumbo and tortas to pair with local bears like Anchor Steam and Lagunitas.

Seattle Seahawks: Seattle Burger

Seattle fans are blessed with fantastic access to seafood, produce and craft beer. At Quality Athletics in Pioneer Square, fans gather to watch the game on 16 TVs, or grab drinks to take to the outside fire pits. Try the Seattle Burger, which pairs six ounces of local beef with a cheddar brat from Pike Place's Bavarian Meats, with smoked jalapeño cream cheese and the usual fixings on a Columbia City Roll. It's right by CenturyLink Field, where ticket-holding fans can dig into concessions like Beecher's mac and cheese, along with dim sum, fish and chips and barbecue.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Lechon Asado

Tampa tends to compete with Miami for fresh seafood and Cuban sandwiches, but rest assured, both cities are fierce contenders. At Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, the highlight is the Havana dish Lechon Asada, shredded roast pork served with sides of black beans and yellow rice. Buccaneers tailgaters can usually be found grilling up seafood, which makes the Lechon Asada even more enticing once inside. Outside, head for Columbia Restaurant.

Tennessee Titans: Hot Chicken Taquitos

Nashville natives love their hot chicken, so leave it to fan-favorite bar Pastime to come up with a snackable take on the fiery fare. The space includes a rooftop bar, a spacious deck, classic cocktails, multiple televisions and share-worthy hot chicken taquitos with spicy ranch dip. Cool down an order with something from local brewery Jackalope.

Washington Redskins: Half-Smoke

Washington has a mighty culinary scene, representing the nearby Chesapeake and abundant local farmland, but the most-popular local food in the nation's capitol is the half-smoke, an aptly named smoky sausage that's ideal with beer when the Redskins are playing. Grab one at Fed-Ex Field in Landover, Maryland, or head to HalfSmoke, where the name shows off the speciality. Pair yours with a DC Brau.

Late to the Game, Football Stadiums Aim for Better Food

Eating at a professional football game can be as brutal as a hit from the Atlanta Falcons safety Keanu Neal.

That became clear to Andrew Zimmern, the chef, television personality and devoted sports fan, on a chilly February evening a few years ago at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey.

He was watching the Seattle Seahawks pummel the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII when a guy selling hot chocolate walked by. Mr. Zimmern ordered a couple of cups and passed a $20 bill down the row, figuring the vendor could keep the change. The vendor waved, but not because he liked the tip. He needed another $20 for the other hot chocolate, which Mr. Zimmern recalls as a lukewarm cup of thin brown liquid.

“I was so insulted,” he said. “It’s the same way I feel when I go to a game and I order a hot dog and it’s a $12 piece of crap.”


When the opportunity came to create a menu for the $1.13 billion Minnesota Vikings stadium, which opened last year, he vowed to make football food better.

As another Super Bowl nears, the Vikings, with a few other teams in the National Football League, are leading a charge to upgrade food in the tradition-bound world of football-stadium concessions, one of the last big captive markets to address fans’ broadening culinary sensibilities.

That bad cup of hot chocolate inspired a frozen version made with local cream and dark chocolate, which Mr. Zimmern sells for $8 at one of the two concessions he operates at the U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. Along with his cumin-marinated rotisserie lamb sandwich and two other sandwiches he created with his stadium food partner, Gavin Kaysen of Spoon and Stable in Minneapolis, it made a list of the best food at the new stadium compiled by Rick Nelson, the restaurant critic for The Star Tribune.

“The Vikings have done a nice job of making people want to go inside and eat,” Mr. Nelson said, even though “they’re hiding the fact that they are still peddling a lot of schlock.”

Food has been steadily improving in places like airports, movie theaters and concert arenas, where people gather for reasons other than to eat. In professional sports, baseball has led the way, driven in part by 22 major league stadiums that have been built since 1990.

Although staples like hot dogs, pizza and popcorn still make up about two-thirds of food sales in sports stadiums, baseball menus have matured to include gochujang-glazed eggplant buns, fresh Dungeness crab sandwiches, ceviche, espresso and craft beer.

Football has lagged behind baseball largely because the sports are different, people in the concession business say. Baseball is played at a slower pace, with built-in breaks that allow fans to wander around a stadium sampling food. The crowds are smaller, and stadiums are open for about 80 games a season, which makes it easier to polish and sustain creative concessions.

Football is a different beast. Crowds can top 80,000 fans, most of whom want to be in their seats for every play and visit concession stands only before the game and at halftime. With just eight regular home games a season, it’s hard to create a system that produces consistently great food.

“The doors open and 65,000 people come in, and you don’t open your doors again for a week,” Mr. Zimmern said.

Then there is tailgating, although it’s hard to say whether bad stadium food led to tailgating or tailgating led to less emphasis on food inside the stadium.

NRG Stadium in Houston, where this year’s Super Bowl will be played on Sunday, has one of the strongest tailgating games in the league, said Robb Walsh, the Texas food journalist who researched it for his 2010 book, “The Tex-Mex Grill and Backyard Barbacoa Cookbook.”

“We’re talking about stellar barbecuing, with these giant land yachts that unfurl giant TV screens,” Mr. Walsh said. “It is more fun than going inside to eat.”

N.F.L. franchises are starting to respond to complaints about both the cost and the quality of stadium food, team representatives said.

“When we ask fans what’s the No. 1 pain point, it’s food,” said Rich McKay, the president and chief executive of the Atlanta Falcons, who will play the New England Patriots this weekend. So next season, when the Falcons open their $1.5 billion Mercedes-Benz Stadium downtown, they plan to sell the least expensive food in the N.F.L.

Lowering prices was a mandate from Arthur Blank, a founder of the Home Depot, who owns the team. He wanted a family of four to be able to eat at the stadium for about $28.

That means hot dogs, soda or a bottle of water will each cost $2. A 12-ounce beer will be $5. The rest of the core menu of what the team calls fan favorites will be priced significantly lower than at other stadiums, where the average price of a hot dog is $5.19 and a beer $7.38, according to the market research agency Team Marketing Report.

To make the economics work, the Falcons struck a deal with Levy Restaurants, one of several national companies that provide food at N.F.L. stadiums. The agreement gives the team more control over setting prices but could cost it in profits. (Although concession sales are a small slice of the income for N.F.L. teams, profit margins can reach 77 percent.)

The food is likely to taste better than it did at the Georgia Dome, the old stadium, which will be torn down this year. The menu is expanding to include fresh handmade pretzels and the Mitchell dog, which rests in a sweet bun that tastes like a glazed doughnut. It is topped with bacon jam and Gruyère cheese.

Vendors from Atlanta’s beloved 89-year-old drive-in the Varsity will roam the stands yelling, “What’ll ya have?” just as they do at the restaurant. Booths will offer favorites from other local restaurants, including Antico Pizza, Delia’s Chicken Sausage Stand, Farm Burger and Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q. Falcons managers say they will bar the restaurants from charging more for food at the stadium than they do at their restaurants.

The Falcons are also installing a raised-bed garden for cooks and bartenders working at the stadium. It’s the league’s second. A 4,000-square-foot rooftop farm was planted at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., which opened in 2014 as the home for the San Francisco 49ers.

Kevin Gillespie, a star of the Atlanta restaurant scene who rose to fame as a “Top Chef” contestant, couldn’t wait to join the food revolution at the stadium. “My family has had tickets to the Falcons my entire life, and I have always just accepted that the food at a football game is terrible,” Mr. Gillespie said.

But now younger fans who grew up eating better food are pressuring teams to change. “They’re saying, ‘Why can’t we have football alongside good food and drink?’” he said.

His stadium restaurant, called Game Changer, will sell a homage to the In-N-Out Burger and his popular Closed on Sunday fried chicken sandwich, which he makes at Revival, his restaurant in Decatur, Ga. (He named it that because the owners of Chick-fil-A, whose chicken sandwich inspired his, never open their restaurants on Sundays.)

Mr. Gillespie plans to serve a rotating “devour the competition” dish inspired by the opponent. If he were to create one for this year’s Super Bowl, he said, it would be a New England lobster roll.

Unlike restaurant fare, stadium food depends as much on logistics as on culinary acumen. Even little details like the placement of the napkin holders or the soda machine can make a big difference in waiting times for fans eager to get back to their seats.

To understand how to better design the concession stands at the new Falcons stadium, Mr. McKay worked the soda line at a game this season. “Halftime was like, ‘Whoa, put a helmet on,’” he said. “I was the bottleneck.”

Managers realized that they could save 17 seconds per transaction if they moved soda machines from behind the counter and let customers serve themselves. They also decided to pull more beer from taps it’s faster than opening a bottle and pouring into a cup. And everything is priced in dollar increments so servers don’t have to make change.

Those adjustments make a huge difference at games, where the crews working the stands are often volunteers from nonprofit groups that keep a small percentage of the profits.

Watch the video: Our 100 IBU Red IPA experiment went wrong! Part 2. The Craft Beer Channel (July 2022).


  1. Lauraine

    I'm sure this has already been discussed, please use the forum search.

  2. Farson

    Yes, almost one and the same.

  3. Amadeo

    Well, thank you. Really blinked. Let's fix it now

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