As autumn winds begin to blow, football greats are once again storming the field. Â It’s a long haul to bowl season, though, and the weekend warriors among us will need some sustenance. Â So pull out the portable Weber, hit the road, and host a world-class tailgate with supplies from these local champions of eats and drinks.
Dive in with submarines from Bari Foods; 1120 W. Grand, Chicago (312) 666-0730
Bari’s deli case, filled with ruddy salamis, glistening prosciuttos and ivory logs of provolone, is the perfect spot for building your own meat tray. Â If you want finished products only, the submarines — as large as Popeye’s forearm and served on fat, yeasty loaves from D’Amato’s Bakery next door — will do. Â These hand-held beauties make for easy parking-lot noshing; favorites include the Italian, with pepper-flecked mortadella and other meats.
Keep the party flying high with Harold’s Chicken Shack No. 36; 1361 N. Milwaukee, Chicago (773) 252-2424
It ain’t a tailgate without fried food. Â But who wants to lug around a deep fryer or risk third-degree burns before kickoff? Â Load up on a couple of 24-piece buckets, catfish nuggets, fried okra and onion rings from Harold’s instead. Â Keep in mind, though, not all Harold’s are created equal. Â Try this location in Wicker Park, which churns out some of the crispier birds.
Stoke the grill with meat from Gepperth’s Meat Market; 964 N. Halsted, Chicago (773) 549-3883
Keep your barbecue stocked with meat from Chicago’s 101-year-old meat market. Â From the house-cured, deeply smoked bacon to the spicy Italian sausage, the quality here never disappoints. Â It’s also an encased-meat geek’s dream, with a selection of Sheboygan brats, smoked Polish sausage and even English-style bangers. Â Fans who can afford box seats can pick up the perfect Black Angus New York Strip.
Keep your tailgate strictly Ivy League at Fox & Obel; 401 E. Illinois, Chicago (312) 410-7301
If your crew rolls more Ivy League than Big Ten, this is the ultimate one-stop shop for swanky DIYers. Â Don’t miss the deli counter, filled with D’Artagnan Sauccison Sec (great spicy salami), mini portions of caviar and crab cakes as big as your fist. Â The gourmet market also has one of the best cheese counters in Chicago, with varieties like Kings Island’s Roaring Forties blue and Costwald Cheddar making the perfect platter.