You've got the gargantuan plasma-screen HDTV in the living room. You've got the surround sound set up so you can hear every bone-crushing hit. You've procured more cheap beer than a freshman mixer at the Greek chapter of your choice. You, my friend, are ready for the Super Bowl. Except, what about the massive amounts of food and good
This year, go beyond stocking your card table with bags of chips and dip and microwavable appetizers. From boundless beef to better beer, we've got all the super-size goods you'll need for your Super Bowl party.
Wings Around the World
A good 100 buffalo wings or so should definitely be on the menu at your party. The city's rife with wing options, but only one stands tall as the go-to wing joint for a huge order. Wings Around The World offers dozens of different flavors; its tagline says "flavors to infinity," but it'd be a hard enough just to get through the flavors it has on hand, like Sweet and Spicy Plum, Maple Twist, Parmesan Garlic, Zesty Orange and Cosmic Curry. For $450, you can get 1,000 wings to take care of all your spicy, fried meat needs on Super Bowl Sunday. Make sure to call ahead at least a day in advance.
Al's No. 1 Italian Beef (Little Italy)
Just about every beef joint in town is happy to throw together a catering package, but it's Al's on Taylor Street that we'd trust to cater a beef blowout. The meat costs $12 per pound, so pulling off a solid spread for not a ton of dough is well within reach. Loaves of bread are a pittance at $3.05 per loaf; gravy comes by the pint, quart or gallon, as do the sweet or hot peppers. Mix and match the ratio you like, and don't forget the sausage: someone's going to want a combo. You can even let Al's do the heavy lifting for you; for about $100, you'll get beef, sausage, giardiniera and all the fixings delivered to your door.
Bari on the near West Side is an excellent choice for a daily sub lunch: Italian meats, cheeses and fresh veggies, all on fresh bread from D'Amato's Bakery located right next door. And the price is always right, with a 9-inch or foot-long sub costing just $5-$6. Take that and toast it, Quizno's. But, if you'd like to step up your sandwich game for a day, you can triple the length for a more-than-fair price. While average sub joints typically charge $10 per foot of a party sub, Bari's brings out three-feet of solid Italian sub, starting at just $17.50. (Specialty ingredients cost more.)
J.B. Alberto's Pizza
Leave all those 12- and 14-inch pizzas to the amateurs. Even most extra-large pizzas top out at 18 inches or so. You want something the size of a card table for your gathering, don't you? A pie so large that you have turn it on a slant just to get it through the doorway, right? Give J.B. Alberto's a try. Its giant 24-inch pizza starts at $21, but you'd be wise to upgrade to the special, with sausage, mushrooms, onions and peppers for $31 and some change. Or, live a little and opt for a nice, pungent 'za, like one topped with anchovies, roast beef and fresh garlic.
Goose Island Brewery
Let your guests slum it with the keg of Beast or Busch, but treat yourself to a large amount of quality beer. You could stop by Rock Bottom Brewery in River North, where you can pick up a growler of any house-brewed beer for $8.99 per half-gallon. But if you'd prefer to stay local, head to Goose Island, where $3.50 will score you a 64-ounce jug that you can fill up with the beer of your choice. Depending on your selection, it'll run you up to $20. Be warned: With some of its brews sporting an alcohol content of up to nine percent, one growler may knock you out before halftime.
Other bulk-size bowl goods:
Prairie Rock Brewing Company
The Vanilla Cream Ale here continues to be completely awesome: A gallon growler costs $13.95 and refills for $9.95.
Want a cartoonish-ly long, six-foot sub? You can drop $99 for one at any number of Mr. Submarine outposts across the city, or go for its party package of 22 king-size sammies for about $100.