By: Michele Bellisari Special to the Boca and Delray newspapers
Tis’ the season where football fans from around the country start thinking about their tailgate plans for games they will be heading to. Every year from August through January #SoooBoca spends time each week at a game or watching games on television.
We are a mix of Gators, Buckeyes, Owls, Dolphins and Canes in this house and our weekends are filled up with a variety of rivalries, good eats, drinks and snacks.
There are a few theories as to when the first tailgate actually happened but I am pretty sure it is safe to say that it was around 100 years ago!
As a family we have been fortunate to experience many an amazing tailgate experience especially attending Ohio State games in Columbus at Ohio Stadium and enjoying a variety of end of season championship games at the Rose Bowl, Citrus Bowl, Orange Bowl, Outback Bowl and our own Boca Raton Bowl just to name a few.
My first true tailgate party was at a Florida vs. Georgia game at the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville in the early 80’s. Back then it was coined the “World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party” and it pretty much was! I have never forgotten the excitement of tailgating outside the stadium with fellow University of Florida friends waiting for that game to begin.
Putting on a successful game day event needs a little pre planning so I reached out to my sister-in law, Annette Johnson, owner of Bellisari’s Gourmet Convenience, for her tailgate party wisdom to ensure if you are having your own game day event it runs smoothly.
As Annette says, “It is all about the pre-plan like freezing water bottles for your cooler, food prepping the day before, testing your grill and being prepared”.
She also suggests to pack a medium plastic bin with everything you need to enjoy your food and drinks…spatulas, bottle/can openers, tongs, toothpicks/wooden skewers, basting brush, trash bags, paper towels, wet wipes, ponchos, plastic zip bags, condiments, spices and seasonings, a bag with extra phone battery chargers, speakers for that favorite playlist and of course your team decorations.
Sooo what are the fan faves as far as tailgate dishes go? I did a quick poll of my gal pals and the front runners included chicken wings, seven layer dips, pulled pork sliders, a good grilled hotdog (and a friend suggested pairing it with the pulled pork…genius!), nachos and anything being grilled or cooked in a crock pot. I am adding mac and cheese and, of course, PubSubs as essential tailgate dishes you don’t want to forget.
With that being said we cannot always attend a live event so we throw our own game day watch parties at home! Multiple televisions are on, a corn hole game in the back yard is happening and of course a variety of appetizers from cheese trays to veggie platters to heavily Old Bay seasoned steamed shrimp is part of the #homegating “foodie” plan. We also love a good pot of spicy chili to round out the day.
Lastly…sometimes you simply want to watch your favorite team play sitting at a local sports bar or your favorite watering hole. No worries! There are a variety of restaurants that embrace and make game days a ton of fun. Here are just a few for you to check out in Boca to watch your favorite teams play!
Flanigan’s Seafood Bar and Grill – 45 Federal Highway
Duffy’s Sports Grill – 21212 St. Andrews Blvd.
Miller’s Ale House – 1200 Yamato Road.
Yard House – 201 Plaza Real Suite 1201
Packys Sports Grill – 11379 W Palmetto Park Rd # F
Whistle Stop – 395 NE Spanish River Blvd.
Hijinks Sports Grill – 133 SE Mizner Blvd.
We would love to know your favorite spot in Boca to watch your sports teams play so make sure to DM us on Instagram @soooboca Here is to another great football season and may all my teams win!
Michele Bellisari is the founder of #SoooBoca® Lifestyle & Media based in Boca Raton and a Realtor with RE/MAX Services. She and her daughters blog, vlog, post and share all things Boca Raton, South Florida & Beyond from events, people, food, travel, home decor, fashion, beauty and real estate! You can find more at www.soooboca.com and on all the socials @soooboca.