Kansas City and San Francisco aren’t merely NFL powerhouses, they also happen to be two of the most storied food towns in America—with vastly different cuisines. KC is the undisputed BBQ capital of the Midwest, while the City by the Bay is a Michelin-adored globe-spanning melting pot. Since the Super Bowl is as much about football as it is about feasting, we relished the opportunity to celebrate the culinary prowess of both cities with regional-specific menus for the big game.
Related Reading: How to Throw an Epic Big Game Party
The local eats and drinks featured below are sure to satisfy not only supporters of the Chiefs and 49ers, but also viewers who have no allegiance to either team but are simply foodie fanatics.
Kicking things off (by virtue of the ceremonial coin toss) is a menu inspired by the stick-to-your-ribs dining tradition of Kansas City.
Appetizer: Burnt Ends Mac and Cheese
Don’t let the photo fool you. There’s more than meets the eye to this elevated take on mac and cheese which is one of the signatures at Kansas City hotspot Gram & Dun. Hiding beneath the mound of pecorino and garlic cream bathed pasta is a fistful of burnt ends, the succulent meaty morsels from the fatty end of a brisket that happen to be a local favorite. The dish even has a football connection—those crispy bits on top are pork rinds, a.k.a. pig skins. Get the Burnt Ends Mac and Cheese recipe.
Jack Stack BBQ Burnt Ends Combo, $79 on Goldbelly
Get a taste of Kansas City, wherever you are.
Main: Kansas City-Style Ribs
This one was a no-brainer. Ribs and Kansas City go together like Patrick Mahomes and Tyreke Hill. What makes the KC version so special is the one-two punch of a dry rub and sticky sauce which is lathered onto the rack during the last 30 minutes of cooking (both are highlighted by the sweet touch of brown sugar). Things will get messy so you may want to avoid serving these near the couch. Get the Kansas City-Style Ribs recipe.
Related Reading: 9 Perfect Sides to Serve with BBQ Ribs
Sticking with the BBQ theme is another Kansas City staple, baked beans. Spoiler alert: The secret ingredient is actually cherry pie filling, a surprisingly effective addition to the dish. The sweet and sour notes pair harmoniously with smoky bacon and a tongue-tingling spice blend that includes cayenne pepper, cumin, and paprika. Get the Secret Ingredient Baked Beans recipe.
Dessert: Cherry Mash Truffles
Produced in nearby St. Joseph, Chase’s Cherry Mash has been popular in Kansas City for over a century. You can purchase the chocolate and peanut covered confection with a creamy and colorful fruit filling via Amazon, but for this extra special occasion, why not go the extra yard and make them yourself? Get the Cherry Mash Truffles recipe.
Beverage: Caribou Lou
The Chiefs have their fair share of celebrity fans: Brad Pitt, Paul Rudd, and Eric Stonestreet are among the famous faithful. But rapper Tech N9ne is perhaps the only Kansas City diehard to have his own signature cocktail. The Caribou Lou, a sneakily potent blend of 151 proof rum, coconut rum, and pineapple juice is such a sensation, its theme song has over 31 million views on YouTube. Get the Caribou Lou recipe.
Appetizer: Baked Goat Cheese Salad
It seems only fitting that a San Francisco spread includes a dish inspired by the queen of modern Bay Area cooking, Alice Waters, who originated the dish at her legendary restaurant Chez Panisse. Yes, it’s technically salad, but the panko crusted discs of goat cheese (we recommend Straight Up from NorCal creamery Cypress Grove) are sure to entice those who want to indulge while watching the game. Get the Baked Goat Cheese Salad recipe.
The San Francisco dining scene is so eclectic that choosing the right entree for this menu was a particular challenge. Mexican and Chinese options were under consideration but ultimately we decided to take the Italian route with cioppino, the homegrown seafood stew that has been a local staple for decades (the version at Sotto Mare in North Beach is tough to beat). The intoxicating mix of fish and shellfish swimming in a clam juice-spiked tomato broth is easily shareable and sure to be a crowd pleaser. Plus if you’re wearing a 49ers jersey, you don’t have to worry about stains. Get our Cioppino recipe.
Welcome to the sourdough bread portion of the dinner. It was inevitable the tangy loaf that has become synonymous with San Fran would be included on our 49ers menu. It was just a matter of how it would make an appearance. This cheesy spin on garlic bread is addictive on its own, but it also happens to be the ideal dipper for cioppino. Get the Parmesan and Garlic Butter Cheesy Pull Apart Bread recipe.
Related Reading: Must-Have Kitchen Gadgets for Anyone Who Loves Bread
Dessert: Sundae Bar
This one stems from our love of iconic San Francisco chocolatier Ghirardelli. The company’s decadent chocolate and caramel sauces are a must-drizzle for the ultimate football sundae. Keeping with the local theme, seek out pints from the ice cream wizards at Humphry Slocombe. Check out our compilation of the Best Ice Cream Sundae Ideas for more inspiration.
Beverage: Mai Tai
Though the Mai Tai is known as one of the quintessential tropical libations, its origins are actually rooted in Oakland, making its debut in 1944 at the original Trader Vic’s. The tiki staple can be found at a number of spots across the Bay Bridge in San Francisco, and with its golden hue, the rum-based cocktail is the perfect beverage to toast the 49ers. Get our Mai Tai recipe.
Header image by Chowhound