MINNEAPOLIS - After this shindig, burgers and brats will never be enough.
The 2018 Players Tailgate is a taste-bending pre-game party that brings together amazing, off-the-beaten-path food offerings, celebrity chefs from across the country and NFL players like Vikings safety Harrison Smith who don't mind the mingle. The $750 ticket charge gets you drinks from an open premium bar, and food that ranges from prime rib to exotic pizza, crab legs to award winning BBQ.
"If you're gonna go to the big show, that's what the Super Bowl is, it's the big show," exclaimed Guy Fieri, this year's chef headliner along with caterer to the stars Aaron May. "And you gotta have the warmup, you gotta get ready for this. You can't just jump into it cold."
Fieri's booth was serving up Whole Hog Brisket, while down the way May's crew was sharing their Kobe Cheesesteak with Gruyere and Truffle. A chef out of San Diego named Brian Malarkey chose to go with his Go Chu Jang Fried Chicken and Kimchi Steak Bun. Again, not hot dog and beans fare. The quality... and the great vibe... was not lost on the crowd.
"This event is JACKED!" shouted Philadelphia Eagles fan Denny Aston when asked if he was having a good time. "Super Bowl on steroids. If you're not here you're not anywhere."
Fieri has built an empire on good food, but he is the first to admit it's not the number one ingredient in a top-notch tailgate. "Awesome friends," he gushed without hesitation. "Gotta surround yourself with a bunch of great people. That's the beginning of it. Then the beverages have got to be really cold, not as cold as it is outside," Fieri laughed. "and you gotta have great food and an eclectic mix."
It seems Fieri... and the folks behind the Players Tailgate... have the recipe down pat.