There will be a veritable smorgasbord of food on offer at Super Bowl LIII, and I already went and ate one of everything. For you.
I ate seven lunches on Tuesday all in an effort to give you a complete picture of what you should eat if you’re attending the game and what the Super Bowl will taste like if you’re watching from afar. It’s a mix of familiar Atlanta fare, stadium classics, and dishes designed to represent both Los Angeles and New England.
Along with the food I drank four cocktails tailor made for the game — so enjoy my gluttony. Let’s dive in and score all the food at Mercedes-Benz Stadium:
The C.O.S ($14)
This is the stadium’s take on the classic Chick-Fil-A sandwich by chef Kevin Gillespie (of Top Chef fame). Its playful name stands for “Closed on Sunday,” and honestly it’s a revelation. Falcons fans have gotten to enjoy this since Mercedes Benz Stadium opened, and it’s one of those sandwiches that sticks in your memory for a while.
Take everything you love about a Chick-Fil-A sandwich and make every element perfect. The chicken is juicier, the pickle is crispier, the bun is a higher quality — it’s served with a pickled mayonnaise that’s transcendent. It’s the only item that carries a premium price tag, and it’s worth it.
L.A. Chicharron Dog ($5)
Legit, if this was available near me for five bucks every day I’d eat it on the regular. It’s a truly spectacular hot dog that needs no help or outside assistance. The pinto beans, poblano peppers, cilantro and cotija cheese all work beautifully — and the crunchy chicharrones on top take this to another level. This is something you should totally try to recreate at home.
Neighborhood Punch ($12)
This is a standard drink at Falcons games, and I’m jealous. It’s a frozen watermelon Mai Tai with cinnamon whiskey in it. A little sweeter than I typically like my cocktails, but not bad by any stretch of the imagination. I might have had two of them.
Hot dog ($2)
This is an above average hot dog with a stellar price tag that pushes it into the stratosphere. I honestly can’t remember the last time I saw a $2 food item at a large-scale sporting event. Solid hot dog, excellent price.
Stadium Margarita ($12)
It’s a margarita. Nothing special, nothing bad. I’ve had better and worse margs, but this isn’t something I’d pay a stadium premium for.
Atlanta Twist ($12)
This is the Neighborhood Punch and the Stadium Margarita mixed together. It’s the exact kind of wild I can get behind, though didn’t quite top the regular Neighborhood Punch.
N.E. Beantown Frank ($5)
This is a dueling food item at the Super Bowl. Both Los Angeles and New England are getting their version of a hot dog, and honestly this one left a bit to be desired. The hot dog bills itself as being primarily a maple and bacon flavored dog with accents, but they didn’t come through nearly enough. It would up being a slightly-sweet hot dog with northern beans on it. If I had this in isolation it would have gotten a higher grade, but right after the chicharron dog left me wanting.
Chicken tenders and fries ($6)
This is your bog-standard plate of tenders and fries. Nothing special. The batter was nice and crisp, the fries were totally passable and the chicken was a touch dry. Definitely can be improved with some condiments, but otherwise just okay.
I didn’t get a photo of it because it didn’t really warrant one. This is a fine food item, pitched at picky kids like the chicken tenders. Considering everything else on offer you can do better, but generally speaking the burger was fine.
Chicken and Waffles ($12)
I was legitimately excited about trying this. I’ve had chicken and waffles before, but not chicken and waffles in Atlanta. First bite had this strong heat, a great smokiness, a wonderful interplay of sweet and savory — everything I expected. It also had something that was just ... wrong.
Then I looked at the chicken.
It tasted bad because it was so underdone. The chicken was barely lukewarm in the center, and was legitimately oozing pink juice. If I was Gordon Ramsey I would have stomped around and yelled “RAW!” Though I know this was probably a product of the kitchen staff trying to cook so much food to order for waiting throngs of media. The spice and the waffle keep this from receiving a zero on principal.
The New Englander ($12)
Vodka, Cranberry, Soda Water, Lime Wedge
I intensely disliked this drink created for the Patriots, even though I intensely love a vodka cranberry (or a Cape Codder if you’re into that kind of phraseology). It just tasted like a diluted mess. The soda water brought nothing to the table except detract from the experience and make me feel like it was there solely to dilute the drink and make the cost cheaper.
Tequila, Ruby Red Grapefruit, Soda Water, Blood Orange Wedge
Well hey, here’s the drink made for the Rams and it has the exact same problem. The soda water took something that should otherwise be great and turned it into a bit of a muddled mess. Once again it tasted diluted and dull, which should never happen with a tequila-based cocktail.
All-in-all the food being offered for Super Bowl LIII is incredible for a football game, especially considering the price. In past years you’d be hard pressed to have any semblance of a meal for $40 at the Super Bowl, and even then you’re probably getting a sad burger, some fries and a beer.
It’s truly a credit to Mercedes Benz Stadium for making the food so accessibly priced this year and offering a little something for everyone. These are my meal suggestions for two budgets, if you happen to be going to the game.
The budget dinner ($11)
- Two hot dogs.
- Soda with unlimited refills.
The experience ($31)
- L.A. Chicharron Dog
- C.O.S Chicken Sandwich
- Neighborhood Punch