Ravenous Raven rooters and famished 49er fans will come together Sunday to celebrate the food holiday that is second only to Thanksgiving in the United States.
Super Bowl Sunday has long elevated the best professional football team to fame, but for those who are casual participants it’s the food that really stands out.
“I don’t even know who is playing,” Rico Rios of Brownsville said. “The real winner is the food — barbecue and beer.”
Brownsville businesses look forward to the rise in interest from consumers during the annual sport tradition.
“It is a very hectic and extremely busy day, but we are used to it,” said Brownsville Wingstop owner Rudy Alarcon.
This year, 1.23 billion wing portions will be eaten by gluttonous game-watchers, according to the National Chicken Council’s 2013 Wing Report.
Though it seems high, that number is down from the 2012 report when Americans consumed 1.25 billion wing portions.
Several Brownsville restaurants that serve up the flavorful wings have anticipated this Sunday’s business orders to double — perhaps nearly triple. Planning ahead for the busy weekend has led many experienced restaurant owners to prepare for increased demand for the spicy chicken.
“We have spent the last week planning for Sunday’s turnout,” Wing Barn Owner Bobby Saenz said.
Wing Barn has three locations in Brownsville, he said.
The Pablo Kisel and Expressway 77 locations will screen the game at each site, as well as offer dine- in and carry-out specials, Saenz said.
The Super Bowl celebrations provide creative leeway for menus. One popular side is guacamole, a main-stay for chip and tortilla aficionados.
According to the Hass Avocado Board, 79 million pounds of avocados are expected to be consumed during Super Bowl weekend this year.
Nolita’s NY Pizza in Brownsville made special plans for its first Super Bowl Sunday.
“We hired three more drivers and we even have a back-up,” Nolita’s Manager Samuel Garcia said.
“People have cookouts and come and order pizza” Nolita’s employee Leroy Rubio said. “I’m glad that the Super Bowl boosts up the sales because usually our Sundays are mellow. Every time there is a game, our sales go up.”
It’s not just larger food platters that game-watchers enjoy. The bigger the event, the larger the television screen fans seek for viewing pleasure.
Veronica Malcaez, a general manager at Best Buy, said TV sales tend to increase as Super Bowl weekend approaches.
By mid-Saturday, more than 30 televisions had been sold at the store in just a few hours.
“That’s why I’m here,” Malcaez said. “It’s a sense of urgency for the customers and we want to sell.”
Supermarket H-E-B will offer extra sales in the meat department, said Linda Tovar, public affairs manager in the border region for H-E-B. She said the store chain will premiere a 60-second television commercial during the game.
“Everybody loves to grill this weekend,” Tovar said. “We’re most definitely looking forward to our sale increases this weekend.”
Brownville resident Melissa Gonzalez said she will spend the afternoon watching the big game with her family. For the special occasion she is preparing football cookies and chocolate-covered strawberry footballs.
Still, some Super Bowl fans are just looking forward to spending the time with family.
Lupe Bernabe of Brownsville said a Super Bowl wouldn’t be complete without Mexican carne asada.
“You’ve got to have the guacamole, the salsas, the brisket,” he said.
Bernabe and his family always watch the game, but this year will be extra-special because they are all 49ers fans.
“I’ve been a fan since I was a kid,” the 28-year-old said. “My older brother became a fan because they were a team of the ‘80s. It’s been a long tradition.”
Brownsville Herald reporter Melissa Montoya contributed to this story.