What’s your favorite part of football season? Maybe it’s cheering for your favorite team, or gathering with family and friends to watch the big game. But let’s be honest: For many football fans, the best part of a game-day gathering is the food. Lucky for us, Maple Grove is home to plenty of beloved spots to watch the game and grab a bite. Here are some of our favorite game day dishes from local eateries.
Maple Pepper Bacon and Tomato Flatbread
If there’s one foodie trend worth supporting, it’s bacon. We love the half-sweet, half-smoky taste of these meaty morsels—and bacon’s getting the love it deserves on Granite City’s maple pepper bacon flatbread ($7). Think of a flatbread as an upgraded pizza: sliced to share, with a crust that’s part chewy, part crispy. This delicious version is topped with thick-cut bacon, which is rubbed in cracked black pepper and baked in a drizzle of oh-so-sweet maple syrup. If bacon’s not your thing, try the Barbecue Chicken Flatbread, with diced chicken in tangy barbecue sauce, shredded cheese, onions and cilantro ($7). Big-time yum. 11909 Main St., Maple Grove; 763.416.0010.
Mile High Nachos
Grab a big plate of these mouthwatering nachos to share—or not. This Champps employee favorite includes crispy chips topped with your choice of tender chicken or spicy chili, and generously smothered in toppings from creamy (queso, sour cream and cheddar) to spicy (crunchy jalapenos, pico de gallo and a dollop of salsa), for $11.99. If you’re not in the mood for Tex-Mex, check out Champps’ special game day menu for the Firehouse Burger—topped with four different kinds of spicy and sweet peppers, and a dash of zingy Cajun seasoning. Game day burgers are $7 each, or try a pair of Mini Burgers for $4. Our faves? The classic American Kobe and the warm Italian Meatball. 13521 80th Cir. N., Maple Grove; 763.494.4515.
The local game day crowd at JC’s Bar & Grill is second to none, says manager Chris Bongovanni. “It’s just a big party!” And nothing says “football food” like a plate of sticky, delicious chicken wings. In addition to the classic Buffalo variety, JC’s offers a zesty favorite with their signature Portuguese churrasco wings. Churrasco sauce, made from red peppers, has a deep smoky flavor and will be sure to snap you out of a cold Minnesota winter. A plate of eight wings is $8.99—extra napkins not included. 13450 Grove Dr., Maple Grove; 763.420.2107.
Whether you stop by Whirlyball’s sports bar to watch the big game, or are participating in a whirlyball match yourself, you’ll need some nourishment. Try head chef Drew Herder’s personal favorite: Moroccan Cigars. Don’t let the name throw you—these wraps, a blend of beef and lamb, look just like cigars after they’re fried to a perfect dark-golden crisp. Herder and his crew make a savory mix of beef, onion and garlic and wrap it up in flaky phyllo dough for frying. And don’t forget the tangy yogurt mint dipping sauce for a perfect meeting of American football and Middle Eastern cuisine (six wraps for $8.50). 13644 80th Cir. N., Maple Grove; 763.657.1555.
Rise & Shine Burger
For a true neighborhood game day experience, the Lookout takes the cake. Get cozy in the wood-paneled bar and dining area, and tune in to one of the big-screen TVs. While you’re at it, try the Rise & Shine Burger—a fresh twist on a classic. This ½-pound burger is grilled to perfection and topped with thin sliced ham, creamy cheddar, lettuce, tomato and a golden fried egg ($10.49). Yum. And what’s an egg burger’s perfect mate? A Bloody Mary, of course, made with the Lookout’s signature Mary mix. For a little pre-game cheer, come to the Lookout early on Sundays, when Bloody Marys and other signature drinks are just $1.99 from 10 a.m. to noon. That’s what we call happy hour. 8672 Pineview Ln. N., Maple Grove; 763.424.4365.
Say goodbye to the dish of stale mini pretzels in front of you, and say hello to Granite City’s giant, homemade soft pretzel sticks ($6.95). Get a plate of five salty, chewy pretzels to share—and don’t forget the cheese sauce for dipping. This isn’t your hockey-rink-concession cheese, either, says manager Bob Lovelace. “Our sauce has a little spice, with some pico de gallo and jalapeños.” Granite City’s sports bar is a great spot for serious football fans, says Lovelace. “For all Vikings games, and on Monday and Thursday nights, we turn up the sound in the bar area.” We’ll join you—sit back in front of the big screens with some pretzels and your favorite handcrafted microbrew, fresh from the tap. 11909 Main St., Maple Grove; 763.416.0010.
For the best game day ribs around, look no further. Wild Bill’s bone-in, slow-roasted rack is a house specialty and a big crowd favorite, served with seasoned French fries and creamy coleslaw. Choose your favorite barbecue drizzle: the house specialty, Carolina honey, golden or—for a little kick—chipotle. Depending on the size of your hunger (or the size of your party), choose the ½-pound ($9.99) or one-pound platter ($13.99) And if you can’t decide between ribs and another favorite snack, no worries: Add fried shrimp, hand breaded and battered chicken tenders or wings, and satisfy all of your cravings at once. 12730 Elm Creek Blvd. N., Maple Grove; 763.420.2422.
Eggs Kiri Kiri
Huh? Deviled eggs as game day food? Eggs kiri kiri (“kiri kiri” means “admitted” in Swahili) might just change your mind. The creamy yolk mixture is infused with harissa, a popular ketchup-like topping that hails from northern Africa. Harissa is made from a blend of caramelized peppers—and the folks at Whirlyball haven’t missed a chance to use it in their signature eggs. The creamy deviled yolk is mixed with mayonnaise, spices and a dollop of harissa—which turns the mixture bright red. Even the boiled egg whites are infused with harissa, which lends its signature flavor and pink color. Don’t miss out on a plate of these delicious—and colorful—beauties ($6.50). Perfect finger food. 13644 80th Circle N., Maple Grove; 763.657.1555.
Homemade Thin-Crust Pizza
With several HD TVs and every NFL-related channel imaginable, Broadway Pizza’s sports bar is the perfect place to catch your favorite team. They’re best known for their crispy, thin-crust pizzas, but don’t let that stop you from sampling the rest of the menu. Build your own pie, or try one of our faves. The unique white is topped with herby chicken, Roma tomatoes, a blend of Romano and mozzarella cheeses and creamy Alfredo sauce ($14.49–$19.79, thin crusts). If you’re a red meat lover, don’t miss their classic,”Meat at Broadway”, with generous helpings of sausage, bacon, ham and pepperoni. And don’t sweat it if you can’t make it past the living room on game day—Broadway offers a full delivery menu. How’s that for easy? 7951 Elm Creek Blvd., Maple Grove; 763.416.4446.