PHOENIX – As Arizona prepares for Super Bowl 57, Philadelphia cuisine is set to take over the Valley this week as restaurants prepare to meet the demands of hungry tourists from across the country.
After the Philadelphia Eagles claimed a spot in the big game with their win against the San Francisco 49ers on Jan. 29, Eagles fan groups began booking trips to Phoenix for the showdown against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Now that Super Bowl week has arrived, tourists with Philly ties are on the hunt for restaurants with plenty of TVs and plenty of Philly’s favorite foods for Sunday’s game.
For starters, Joe’s Italian Ice in Tempe offers customers authentic Philadelphia soft serve ice cream and water ice, and according to the official website, it imports all ingredients from Pennsylvania to make for a true Philadelphia dessert.
Joe’s manager Miranda Barrios said the restaurant is prepared for an influx of Philly fans and hopes to keep customers coming back for more with Joe’s original taste, Eagles decorations and even some added entertainment on Super Bowl Sunday.
“Once you try it the first time, you get hooked,” Barrios said. “We’re actually going to be streaming the game in the middle [of the menu screens]. That’s something that never really happens here.”
Another Eagles-friendly restaurant for fans to watch Sunday’s game is Rockbar in Scottsdale. The location is known as the home for the Eagles West fan club during the regular season. According to the club’s site, its mission is to “have fun, hangout with good friends and BEAT DALLAS!” This weekend, that motto will change to, “Beat Kansas City.”
On Feb. 10, Rockbar will host The Barkann Foundation fundraiser, which features special appearances from former Eagles players Mark McMillian, Eric Allen, Byron Evans and Brent Celek. Fans can buy VIP reception tickets to the event on the foundation’s website.
Eagles West isn’t the only club of its kind in the Valley. Eagles Zone AZ offers Philly fans another social option at Philly’s Sports Grill in Tempe.
Jason Johnson, the director of operations at Philly’s, coordinated an Arizona takeover party at their location with NBC Sports Philadelphia.
“We have some sports and some alumni coming in doing some special appearances … NBC Sports is doing a podcast party here on February 11th from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.,” Johnson said.
Johnson expects Philly’s to be packed with patrons Saturday, with Philly Sports Trips hosting their own private party starting at noon, right before the NBC Sports Philadelphia podcast party.
He enjoys the atmosphere at Philly’s with dedicated fans filling the restaurant each week to watch this year’s Super Bowl run while eating cheesesteaks, wings and sliders.
“The history and the loyal fan base that we have here is second to none,” Johnson said.
Lastly, for fans hungry for the classic Philly cheesesteak, Forefathers in Tempe and Scottsdale features a “build your own” cheesesteak. Customers can choose their meat, cheese and toppings to make personalized sandwiches.
Forefathers owner Trent Crump prepared for increased business during Super Bowl week by ordering more ingredients than usual to prevent selling out of certain items.
“We’re going to have a busy week in the Valley all over with all the restaurants,” said Crump, who predicts all food in the area will be in high demand.
Between the southwestern, Philly and Kansas City cuisine, Crump believes football fans will want to try a little bit of everything.
However, since both Super Bowl teams come from cities with popular food staples, he expects the dinner choices to be more limited than a typical Super Bowl.
“Here’s two teams that really have a food behind them that is a trademark,” Crump said. “There’s not a whole lot of teams that you come up with that there’s a specific food that goes with that group.”