Super Bowl 2023 Menus Inspired By Your Favorite Teams

Football and food are a match made in heaven. Maybe it's a desire to fortify fans against the natural effects of alcohol consumption. Perhaps it's a result of the strong tailgating tradition that surrounds the sport. But, more likely than not, the two connected because football games are just so darn long. Not every sport takes hours to play: While game time officially clocks in at just an hour, they usually take three (via Rookie Road). The upshot is that you're likely to work up an appetite while watching, even if you're just sitting on your couch. 

But that's just for football's regular season. When it comes to the Super Bowl, everything gets taken up a notch. A whopping 43% of people between the ages of 35 and 43 say that they watch the game (via Statista), and many of those are watching with friends. Over 103 million people plan to make it a group thing by hosting a party or attending someone else's (per NRF).

Which leads to the obvious question: what's on a Super Bowl menu? The usual stuff is solid. How can you go wrong with chicken wings, pizza, and nachos? But if you really want to get into the spirit, you can branch out a little and dip into the competing cities' culinary history. Both Philly and Kansas City are home to some crowd-pleasing food traditions — which aren't too tough to serve up to a crowd. 

Solid carb foundations

Philadelphia boasts some serious street cred when it comes to pre- and mid-game carb loading. German settlers brought pretzels to the area centuries ago, and the fresh, hot variety have proved especially popular (per Visit Philly). Soft pretzels are abound in Southeastern Pennsylvania, and they are eaten at all times of day: breakfast, snack, or as a meal substitute. They're a perfect way to take the edge off any hunger pains while you start working on anything that involves more steps, and if you bake them bite-sized, it's all that much easier. 

Another local favorite is "tomato pie," a dish very similar to pizza, but without cheese — which means the right ratio of crust to topping, and the right balance of salty and sweet in the sauce are paramount, via The Philadelphia Inquirer. If you don't have a tomato pie place in your neighborhood, it's not hard to make yourself by adding your favorite tomato sauce to focaccia or pizza dough (via Visit Philly). 

If you're wondering where all that missing cheese went, just take one look at Kansas City's Cheesy Corn, aka Corn Casserole (per Kansas City Mag). Think of this fan favorite as everyday corn meets queso, only the two go on to have overachieving children. It's chock-full of cheese, Mexican spices and, yes, bacon. Sure, it's a little harder to make than nachos or queso, but you won't regret the extra effort when the action gets started.

Battle of the beefs

Philadelphia and Kansas City both bring a strong beef game to the table, with some key differences that reflect their cities' history and culture. The famous Philly cheesesteak began with Italian immigrants who were looking for a new sandwich to serve to customers (via Charley's). It uses thinly sliced steak paired with onions for flavor. The cheese was a later addition, but obviously became a key element: locals use either traditional provolone or Cheese Whiz (a novelty introduced in the 1960s). Because cheesesteaks cook so quickly and require only a few ingredients, they're easy fixing for a crowd.

When it comes to cattle supply, Kansas City is right in the thick of the things, and the city's favorite steaks reflect that fact. KC has got its own eponymous cut of beef: the Kansas City Strip Steak (per Grill Seeker), and it's so tender you could probably cut it with a butter knife. A quality cut of this steak is pretty pricy, though, so you'll probably want to keep this one off the general menu and save it for a possible victory dinner. What's more affordable is another beloved tradition of the area: burnt ends. These are the crispy, seasoned, burnt ends of beef briskets served as free appetizers in some KC establishments — and they've found quite a following (via Visit KC).

Pork and salted cured meats on the roster

While no one in their right mind would deliberately burn brisket on purpose just for burnt ends, BBQ brisket is a natural party food, and perfect for a crowd. To bring a dash of Kansas City authenticity to the flavor, you can try crisping up and charring some of the edges. But feel free to branch out from brisket, since pretty much all forms of BBQ are a bit hit in KC, and constitute one of its biggest food attractions (via Visit KC).

Not feeling the beef? Both Philadelphia and Kansas City have sandwiches with alternatives. While cheesesteaks usually hog all the attention, the (Philly) roast pork sandwich is a formidable opponent, and includes slices of pork, roasted with Italian seasonings, added to a hoagie roll along with broccoli rabe (or other sautéed greens) and provolone (per Visit Philly). A Philly "hoagie" sandwich piles deli meats, sliced cheese, Italian vinaigrette dressing, and sliced tomato and shredded lettuce onto a roll — another very manageable Super Bowl meal (per Fine Dining Lovers). For the 2018 Super Bowl, one Philadelphia pizzeria tried out a hoagie pizza (cheesesteak pizzas already being standard fare, via The Philadelphia Inquirer).

If you're feeling chicken

Last but not least, there are white meat options. While Kansas City prides itself on its BBQ, it can hold its own in the fried chicken arena, too (per Visit KC). If you can't get yours at local landmark Stroud's (per Stroud's North), you can make it yourself or pick it up at a more accessible location, even if it's not as "authentic." And if grilled food is more your speed, you can try your hand at chicken spiedies, a white meat version of the skewered-meat sandwiches (much loved in upstate New York, as well), which can be made and assembled indoors or on a grill outside.

All told, there is a wealth of tasty and easy options for your Super Bowl festivities. And if things go as planned, your team will prevail and you can use any leftovers for a victory party — and sneak in a little nap in place of meal prep. While Super Bowl parties are great, these Sunday night extravaganzas can sure take a toll.