Weekend Cheat Sheet: Game On!
Celebrate the start of a new football season by eating, drinking, fantasizing about and even playing football! Whether you’re a New Orleans Saints fan, an LSU Tiger or pro-prep, there’s plenty of ways to appreciate your favorite team without going far from home.
Lunch at: With 23 flat screen TVs, you won’t miss a play at Bayou Burger & Sports Co. The newly opened second location on Magazine Street has plenty of indoor and outdoor seating where you can feast on queso “fun”dido made with Cajun sausage, bacon cheese tots or Southern fried chicken tenders. Bayou Burger & Sports Co. also offers a build-your-own burger option, but may we suggest The Gleason? It’s made with a thick patty of 100 percent USDA choice beef, white cheddar, a fried egg, avocado and truffle aioli … every Gleason burger ordered contributes $1 to Team Gleason, a nonprofit dedicated to aiding individuals diagnosed with ALS. 3226 Magazine St., (504) 224-6024, bayouburger.com
Shop for game goods at: For nearly 80 years, Perlis Clothing has served the community with quality apparel for the whole family. Support local business and your team with purple and gold polo shirts, black and gold rugby dresses or even Gulf coast university ties, belts, socks and scarves. Hit the Magazine Street shop, the Jax Brewery shop or order online. perlis.com
Hold your fantasy football draft party at: Reserve a spot and invite the league to Dave & Buster’s on Poydras Street downtown, just steps from the dome. Play by the rules; keep it clean; and you’re sure to have the best draft pick party — one that league managers will be attempting to emulate for years to come. Along with domestic and imported brews, wines and cocktails, Dave & Buster’s offers all the usual bar bites — from buffalo wings and pizza to burgers, nachos and tater tots. Feeding all your fantasy football needs, Dave & Buster’s even offers draft party packages where, for a per-person price, you can get a room, draft kit and WiFi, plus eats and non-alcoholic drinks galore. 1200 Poydras St., (504) 226-3300, daveandbusters.com
Revive at: For a casual, non-pretentious jumpstart to your day, cruise on over to The Bean Gallery on North Carrollton Avenue. It’s a place where everyday Joes can score a great cup of joe brewed predominantly from Orleans Coffee Exchange roasts, though the coffee shop also features Le Grand Coq Rouge, a bold, chocolaty blend from French Truck. Fresh pastries, bagels and other goodies are sourced from Maurice’s French Pastries in Metairie and La Louisiane. 637 N. Carrollton Ave., (504) 324-8176, thebeangallery.net
Toss the pigskin around at: Step outside; get your blood pumping; and toss the ball around at New Orleans City Park. With 1,300 acres of wide open spaces, you won’t have difficulty finding a spot to play a friendly game of touch football with the whole family. Afterwards, you can lounge under the shade of century-old oak trees for a leisurely picnic packed from home, or grab some icy cold (canned) brews and reminisce about the glory days when you were in high school. 1 Palm Dr., (504) 482-4888, neworleanscitypark.com
Dine at: Open for almost 85 years, Ye Old College Inn has long been a beloved New Orleans restaurant, even before Saints quarterback Drew Brees named it as his favorite eatery in town. Featuring a genuinely farm-to-table menu (the garden is across the street), Ye Old College Inn offers dishes like the famous onion ring stack; turkey and andouille gumbo; braised beef brisket; shrimp and grits; and (Brees’ favorite) a chicken fried steak po-boy. Try to save room for dessert! Ye Old College Inn’s award-winning fried bread pudding po-boy shouldn’t be missed, but patrons also tout the irresistible sticky toffee pudding. 3000 S. Carrollton Ave., (504) 866-3683, collegeinn1933.com
Brunch at: Bulk up before the big game and enjoy brunch at Angeline. Located in the French Quarter just a skip from Jackson Square, this elegant neighborhood restaurant is owned and operated by Alabama-born Chef Alex Harrel who honed his knife skills under chefs like Susan Spicer and Gerard Maras. Go big with dishes like blueberry buttermilk doughnuts; buttermilk cornmeal pancakes with bacon preserves and Louisiana cane syrup; Wagyu beef short rib hash; or a large plate of buttermilk biscuits. You can also get the game-day party started with a classic Ramos Gin Fizz or try one of their own concoctions like False Blood — Angeline’s version of a Bloody Mary with Del Maguey Mezcal, Ransom Gin or house vodka, fresh tomatoes and plenty of spice. 1032 Chartres St., (504) 308-3106, angelinenola.com
Get your pre-game party on at: Whether or not you have a ticket to the big game, you can still show your spirit for the Saints beforehand at Champions Square. Located directly across from the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, Champions Square is a 90,000-square-foot amphitheater that hosts corporate events, festivals, concerts and the area’s best pre-game party. Don your best black and gold, and head downtown to join a football party that’s free and open to the public! Champions Square offers regular live entertainment before every game, plus food and drink vendors so you can huddle with fellow fans and discuss the upcoming game over a frosty brew. Lasalle St., (504) 587-3663, champions-square.com
Relax at: With large, flat-screen TVs both inside and outside on the shady patio, Ale on Oak is an excellent spot to watch Sunday’s game … that is, if you don’t have tickets! Open now for three years, this Carrollton neighborhood pub offers a wide selection of bottled beer and brews on tap from around the country — from Fancy Lawnmower pilsner to Milk Stout Nitro. Along with a terrific selection of beer, you can also snack while you watch the game on elevated bar grub like crawfish rangoon with sweet chili sauce; Two Run Farm beef debris fries; and brisket tacos with tangy slaw and fresh jalapeños. 8124 Oak St., (504) 324-6558, aleonoak.com