Next month, the BCS National Championship Game rolls into town where Oregon and Auburn will square off for the national college football title on Jan. 10 at University of Phoenix Stadium. Skip the hot dogs, onion rings and Uncle Joe’s tailgating eats and stop at one of these Valley restaurants for a delectable, hearty meal that is sure to keep your energy up, quarter after quarter (after quarter after quarter).
Tuscan Oven A hop, skip and a jump from University of Phoenix Stadium, Westgate’s Tuscan Oven (formerly Bice Bistro) offers casual Italian fare, perfect for carbing up for the game. (Perhaps a great place to stop if you’re making a date of it.) Menu items include pizzas, paninis and deep-fried Corn Flake-crusted chicken breast. And if the kids are coming along to cheer on their favorite team, they are able to build their own pasta plates. 6751 N. Sunset Blvd., Glendale, 623.887.4760, http://biceglendale.com/.
BLT Steak You’re not going to get a quality piece of beef burning away on your tailgating grill. Instead, stop at Scottsdale’s BLT Steak at Camelback Inn for a masterful piece of meat. Plus, BLT Steak’s out-of-this-world popovers are sure to be a touchdown with your taste buds. Prior to kick-off, head to the restaurant’s bar for tempting $5 happy hour specials. Camelback Inn, 5402 E. Lincoln Dr., Scottsdale, 480.905.7979, http://www.bltscottsdale.com/.
Lo-Lo’s Chicken & Waffles If you’re an Auburn fan hailing from Alabama, you might be craving some Southern comfort. Lo-Lo’s Chicken & Waffles dishes out top-of-the-line soul food at two Valley locations (Phoenix and Scottsdale). Stop in for fried chicken with waffles–and don’t forget the hot sauce. For dessert, a slice of red velvet takes the cake. 10 W. Yuma St., Phoenix, 602.340.1304; 2765 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale, 480.945.1920, http://www.loloschickenandwaffles.com/.
Haus Murphy’s Glendale is home to a little German gem that has received a national spotlight: Haus Murphy’s was featured on Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.” For a hearty start to your football excursion, try the giant Bavarian pretzel, served with butter and spicy mustard, or one of Haus Murphy’s many schnitzel dishes. And if you can’t get a good beer at a German restaurant, where can you? 5739 W. Glendale Ave., Glendale, 623.939.2480, http://www.hausmurphys.com/.
Jalapeno Inferno If you’re an out of towner, you’ll definitely want to indulge in authentic Mexican fare. Scottsdale’s Jalapeno Inferno is a longtime Valley favorite that is sure to give you a great south-of-the-border meal. Favorites include the hatch chili quesadilla (beware: it’s spicy), amazing smothered chicken, street-style tacos and, of course, honey flan to satisfy the sweet tooth. 23587 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale, 480.585.6442, http://www.jalapenoinferno.com/.