Leaving aside the controversy (travesty?) of the New Orleans Saints’ absence from Super Bowl LIII, Southerners might not have much to get excited about for this year’s big game. But we can still be proud of the locale. With its distinctive architecture, Mercedes-Benz Stadium—home to the Falcons and Atlanta United soccer club—became an instantly iconic fixture in the downtown Atlanta skyline from the day it opened in August 2017. And the food. The stadium complex boasts more than six hundred restaurants, concession stands, and bars that serve local favorites and traditional stadium foods, like hot dogs, for some of the best prices at any major venue in the U.S. With so many choices, we asked six Atlantans to recommend their food-and-bev favorites for any Patriots and Rams fans in attendance. The rest of us can start planning for our next trip to the Benz; the Atlanta United home opener is on Sunday, March 10, and George Strait will fill the bowl on March 30.
“If you’re coming to Atlanta you’ve got to eat some good, Southern barbecue, and the stadium has a couple options. For Texas-style, head to Fox Bros Bar-B-Q. There’s sure to be a line, but the brisket is worth the wait. If you like pulled pork, head to Jim ‘N Nick’s, and don’t leave without trying their mac-n-cheese.”
–Hines Ward is a former wide receiver for the University of Georgia Bulldogs and Pittsburgh Steelers, and a two-time Super Bowl champion. Ward grew up and now lives in Atlanta.
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“The best thing about eating at the Mercedes Benz stadium is not the variety, which is expansive—with vegan and gluten-free options in addition to the more standard nachos and BBQ—but the price. Arthur Blank made it a priority that fans could feed a whole family without having to pawn granny’s jewels. As a result, the food is priced to sell, the lowest in all professional sports, with pizza for $3, hot dogs for $2, and self-serve refills on all fountain drinks, so all of us can go big before we go home.”
–Allison Glock is an Atlanta-based senior staff writer for ESPN: The Magazine and ESPNW, and contributing editor for G&G.
“I like the wings from Two Urban Licks because they are seasoned with lots of spices and full of flavor.”
–Anita Hsu co-owns Atlanta’s Sweet Auburn Barbecue and is a partner in the forthcoming Lazy Betty. She and her brother, Howard, are season ticket holders for Atlanta United and attend Falcons games often.
—Howard Hsu co-owns Sweet Auburn BBQ and is a partner in the forthcoming Lazy Betty, with his sister, Anita.
“Even when I’m at a large stadium, I still like to eat and support local. A couple of great chefs—neighbors from my time on Atlanta’s Eastside—Delia Champion and Kevin Gillespie have spots in the stadium. Sporting events are splurge time, so it’s Delia’s Chicken Sausage Stand for a Hot Mess, her sausage with chili, cheese, jalapeños, and Comeback sauce. Or [at Gamechanger] Kevin’s C.O.S. (Closed on Sunday) chicken sandwich, an elevated version of that other chicken sandwich we Southerners always crave on Sunday. And if I make it to one of the Clubs, I’m for sure getting Sublime Doughnuts!”
—Jerry Slater is a former Atlanta restaurateur and mixologist, having run H. Harper Station and consulted on projects like One Flew South. Now, he owns the aptly named Expat an hour away in Athens.
“One of the best things about the Benz is the reasonably-priced and very good food. I love the Hot Mess at Delia’s Chicken Sausage—a brilliant combination. It’s real. It’s new. It’s a world above your average stadium food.”
–Ryan Gravel is an urban designer, entrepreneur, and author who created Atlanta’s BeltLine. A big Falcons fan, he’s lived in Atlanta most of his life.