How to tailgate like a local in Asheville, N.C.

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Cheese board made with Dare Vegan Cheese. | Photo by @vexkitchen

Ahhh, Super Bowl Sunday. The best day of the year for some, and the most heartbreaking for others. But no matter the team you’re rooting for – or if, like me (Editor Ali), you sometimes forget there’s a game on, there’s one thing that everyone can agree to celebrate – the food. And if you’re hosting or attending a watch party, chances are you’ll be making or bringing a dish. 

This Sunday, we’re issuing you a game day challenge: go local with your dish to pass. We’ve created a list of products made right here in the 828 that will look good on your plate. 

But first, a few quick facts to impress your squad – 

  • This year’s game will take place at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, FL. Kickoff for the San Francisco 49ers vs. Kansas City Chiefs is at 6:30 p.m. At halftime: Shakira + Jennifer Lopez.   
  • This is the first Super Bowl for the Chiefs since 1970. It’s the longest drought between two Super Bowls for any team.
  • Chiefs head coach Andy Reid will reach his second career Super Bowl – 15 years after his first appearance with the Philadelphia Eagles. The only gap longer is Dick Vermeil’s, who went 19 years between Super Bowls
  • 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan is the son of former Denver Broncos head coach Mike Shanahan, who won the Super Bowl in 1997 + 1998. They are the first father-son duo to lead two different teams to the Super Bowl.
  • The 49ers have five Super Bowl wins, which is tied for second all-time. A win against the Chiefs would give them six, which would tie them for most all-time along with the New England Patriots + the Pittsburgh Steelers
  • The cost of a 30-second ad for Super Bowl LIV is as high as $5.6 million.  

And, since it’s really all about the food, here’s what you need to know before you chow down –

Your game day menu

Now that you’re hungry, here are our picks for using local food to help spice up your Super Bowl Party. 

Turn up the heat

Asheville Strange Brew Hot Sauce, Pepper Palace, 6 College St. Unit 6

Offered exclusively in Asheville, this hot sauce pays homage to our beer scene with fiery flavors of habanero and cayenne. Bonus: Try their other Asheville flavors, like Peach Love and Land of the Sky.

Firewalker Hot Sauce

The original citrus, garlic + habanero hot sauce is offered at grocery stores and specialty shops, as well as over 100 restaurants in AVL. Feeling daring? Try the heat-forward Running with the Reaper.

O’Yeah! Hot Sauce

Medium + XXtra hot available. Sweet, sour, spicy, salty, and savory hot sauce made with 24 ingredients (including eight spices). Find it at Ingles, West Village Market + French Broad Food Co-op.  

Snack attack

Munki Food Company

We can’t stop eating these specialty granola and assorted nuts snack bags. Find them at Ingles, Whole Foods, Earth Fare + more. Protip: We love the Shiva Palace Almonds, which include dry-roasted almonds + papaya with curry spices.

Poppy Popcorn 

This handcrafted artisanal popcorn company has made some big waves, garnering national attention in publications like USA Today and Garden and Gun. You can grab a bag (or seven, we won’t judge) at locations around town. Protip: Definitely spring for the Asheville Mix – a sweet-salty combo of caramel and white cheddar flavors.

Roots Hummus

We’re all about this craft hummus, which comes in flavors like Mango Sriracha (Editor Ali’s fave), Roasted Red Pepper, Lima Bean + more. It’s available at groceries around town and guaranteed to make you the most popular person at the party.

Make a cheese plate

5 Walnut Cheese, 5 W. Walnut St. 

Local + imported meats and cheeses tucked next door to 5 Walnut’s wine bar. Bonus: They have pimento cheese, cheddar biscuits, trout dip + more.

Darë Vegan Cheese

Vegan cheeses made with coconut milk, cashews + more. Grab their goodies all the time at West Village Market (771 Haywood Rd.), or catch them at Downtown City Market on Saturday from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. (at the Masonic Temple). They’re also at River Arts District Farmers Market on Wednesdays from 3-6 p.m. at plēb Winery (289 Lyman St.). 

Looking Glass Creamery, 59 Noble Rd., Fairview + 115 Harmon Dairy Ln., Columbus

Small family farm that makes cheese + caramel. Check out the farm + shop in Columbus (near Tryon) and the cheese shop in Fairview, or find them at grocery stores around town.

South Slope Cheese Co., 11 Southside Ave. 

Over 100 cheese varieties, along with wine + charcuterie to go. Protip: Pick up a homemade spread, like Cajun Seafood or Bacon + Chive.

Go hog wild

Chop Shop Butchery, 100 Charlotte St. 

Whole animal butcher shop offering local, natural + custom meats. Bonus: They also carry housemade pates and bacon jam, as well as a selection of cheeses.

Foothills Butcher Bar, 697 Haywood Rd. + 107 Black Mountain Ave., Black Mountain

The spot offers gameday meats like burgers + hot dogs, plus bacon, pickles + more. Protip: Eat breakfast or lunch there first, then do your shopping.

Hickory Nut Gap, 57 Sugar Hollow Rd., Fairview

Grass-fed beef and pasture-raised pork + chicken. Get it straight from the source at the farm store, or find it in local grocery stores + specialty shops.

Where’s the (non) meat?

No Evil Foods

Plant-based meats like Comrade Cluck “No Chicken,” Pit Boss “Pulled Pork,” and our personal fave – El Zapatista “Chorizo.” Find your nearest store here.

Smiling Hara Tempeh 

Soy-based tempeh + hempeh in flavors like Smoked Salt + Pepper Steak, Asian Miso Ginger, and (our fave) Raspberry Habanero. Use their store locator to grab yours.

Put it on a bun

Annie’s Bakery

A wholesale bread bakery that crafts artisan bread the old-world way. Breads are fermented for 48-72 hours and include ingredients like stone-milled wheat, blackstrap molasses + more. Available at area groceries.

Geraldine’s Bakery, 840 Merrimon Ave. 

Fresh baked goods like breads, bagels, doughnuts, croissants, cookies + more, all baked daily in-house.  

Sip, sip, hooray

If you live in Asheville, chances are you know your craft beer preferences at this point. But if you’re looking for some non-alcoholic options, check out our mocktail guide, which includes a round-up of locally-made alcohol-free sips, like Buchi Kombucha + Devil’s Foot soda.

Going out for game day

If you’re not hosting or hitting up a Super Bowl party, here are a few of your choices for destinations on the big day. Bonus: Some of these invite you to bring a dish to pass – so you can still use our guide

🏈 Super Sunday Chili Championship | 12-3 p.m. | The Social, 1078 Tunnel Rd. | Free | Bring a full-size crockpot of your best chili for a shot at a cash prize. Chili must be entered by noon. Stick around for their Super Bowl Bash starting at 6 p.m. Bonus: $13.99 gets you unlimited wings.

🏈 Puppy Bowl | 1-4 p.m. | Banks Ave., 32 Banks Ave. | Free | Meet 20 adorable puppers – and maybe even take one home. W/ food, music, cash bar + more.

🏈 Salvage Station, 468 Riverside Dr. | 3 p.m. | Free | $4 drafts, $3 well drinks, and ½ off appetizers all day. 

🏈 Gastro Pub at Hopey, 45 S. French Broad Ave. | 5 p.m. | Free; reserve a spot | With $3 select beers + $.69 wings.

🏈 Noble Cider, 356 New Leicester Hwy. | 5:30 p.m. | Free | Bring a snack or covered dish to share, or grab a bite from Appalachian Chic Food Truck, with all proceeds going to ABCCM (cash only). Bring a lawn chair for a front row seat.

🏈 Craft Centric Bottle Shop and Taproom, 100 Julian Shoals Rd. #40 | 6 p.m. | Free | Food from Lil’ Pete’s BBQ.

🏈 French Broad River Brewery, 101 Fairview Rd. | 6 p.m. | Catch the game on multiple 65” screens with a slice of Original Papa Nick’s pizza and games in the taproom. 

🏈 Highland Brewing Company, 12 Old Charlotte Hwy. | 6 p.m. | Beer specials, food trucks + prizes every quarter from 105.9 The Mountain.

🏈 Hillman Beer, 25 Sweeten Creek Rd. | 6 p.m. | Free | Pair your beer + food from Rise Above Deli with the Big Game. Doggos welcome.

🏈 Creekside Taphouse, 8 Beverly Rd. | 6:30 p.m. | Free | Food + drink specials and flat screens in Haw Creek.

🏈 The Grey Eagle, 185 Clingman Ave. | 6:30 p.m. | Free | Featuring a Kitten Bowl Adoption with Charlie’s Angels’ Animal Rescue, beer specials from our Brewery Of The Month, Foothills Brewing + team-influenced game day snack specials from The Taqueria.

🏈 Urban Orchard Cider Co. – South Slope, 24 Buxton Ave. | 7 p.m. | Free | Watch it all go down on a 135-inch projector. Snacks provided; bring a dish to pass if you feel inspired.