Pizza, Wings & Cheesesteak: Game Day Grub in the D

By: Toni Cunningham | September 12, 2014
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The fall season means different things to different people. For many, it brings the highlight of the entire year—football season. If you eagerly await Sundays like a kid at Christmas, you’re definitely one of them.

I’m sure that many of you have your own football rituals, whether it’s gathering at your cousin’s house and preparing the same dip recipe for weeks on end or meeting your buddies at a wing joint for an afternoon of football and brews.

Whether you’re looking for a way to break up your usual football-watching routine of years past or are simply looking for some fresh ideas to incorporate into game days, allow me to suggest this: start with the food. There are tons (and I mean tons) of restaurants in the Metro Detroit area that serve up perfect game day grub. Put on your worn in lucky jersey and head to one of the following for the next game:


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Mr. Spots, 808 State St., Ann Arbor, has long been known as serving Ann Arbor’s best wings, which are cooked to order and rolled in your choice of hot sauce. Buffalo Style Spot Wings can be doused in barbecue sauce, original hot sauce or suicide sauce, the latter of which will leave you gasping for a gallon of milk.

Boneless wings are also available with all of the same sauces, and all wings can be ordered in half dozen, one dozen or two dozen increments. Wings come with a side of bleu cheese, ranch dressing or celery. You can dine in, carry out or have your wings delivered to make sure you never miss a second of the action on the field.

24 Seconds, 3071 W. 12 Mile Rd., Berkley, has 24 big screen HD TVs and 24 beers on tap, in addition to some amazing wings. The Buffalo Wings here are tossed in your choice of barbecue, spicy buffalo or extra hot buffalo sauce and are served with bleu cheese or ranch dressing. You can order 10 pieces for yourself or share 20 pieces with a friend.

If you’re there for a Monday night game, take advantage of the $2 domestic drafts and well drinks that serve as the daily special. On Sundays, happy hour prices are valid all day long, getting you $1 off all well drinks, draft beers and appetizers. What more could you ask for?


Pizza House, 618 Church St., Ann Arbor, is open every day until 4 a.m. for both dine in and delivery. Ah, the perks of college towns—pizza available at all hours of the night! The pies here come in every variety under the sun, including traditional round, thin or super thin crust, Sicilian deep dish, Chicago deep dish and Chicago stuffed.

Crust options include garlic butter, Parmesan and whole wheat, and you can order a pie with white sauce or pesto instead of marinara sauce. If you find yourself craving cheese and pepperoni on game day, Pizza House is your answer.

Palermo’s Pizzeria, 44938 Ford Rd., Canton, is my personal favorite go-to pizza joint. Since it’s an Italian restaurant, this isn’t your traditional sports bar atmosphere for watching a game, but your stomach will thank you. Plus, they have TVs so the game will still be on. Or, pick it up and enjoy from the comfort of your own couch.

You can build your own or choose from a selection of Palermo Specialty Pizzas including the Pizza Burger (with cheese, seasoned ground beef, onion and green pepper), Meat Lover (with cheese, pepperoni, Italian sausage, ham, ground beef and bacon), Grilled Chicken Alfredo (with cheese, chicken, tomato, red onion and alfredo sauce) or Hawaiian (with cheese, ham, pineapple and onion).


Ironwood Grill, 840 W. Ann Arbor Trail, Plymouth, has plenty of tasty items on its menu, beginning with the starters. If, like me, you can appreciate a great spinach artichoke dip, you’ll want to dine and watch the game here. It’s made with freshly sautéed spinach and artichokes and topped with ooey, gooey Parmesan cheese. Dunk some tortilla chips in there, and/or a spoon when no one’s looking.

Sam Adams Octoberfest, Great Lakes Brewing Co. Oktoberfest and Magic Hat Wilhelm Scream are all currently on draft.

Mojave Cantina, 48 W. 14 Mile Rd., Clawson, was named “the Best of the Best” by The Daily Tribune, which praised the restaurant for its excellent customer service. The Bacon and Tomato Guacamole is made with fresh avocados, bacon bits, chipotle pepper, grape tomatoes and lime juice.

If you have an aversion to bacon, Mojave Guacamole is also on the menu, which consists of avocados mashed with tomatoes, onions, lime juice and cilantro. If there’s one thing that goes hand in hand with watching football, it’s chips and guac, right?

The kitchen is open until 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. The bar is open until 12 a.m. during the week and until 2 a.m. on weekends, so you’ll have plenty of time to get your drink on while you cheer on your favorite team.

Jalapeno poppers

Town Pump Tavern, 100 W. Montcalm St., Detroit, is located in downtown Detroit close to Ford Field, so you’re right where the action is. The Ultimate Stuffed Jalapenos are packed with chicken, caramelized onions, bacon, cheddar cheese, cream cheese and red chili paste. They’re then rolled in panko crumbs and fried and served with Sriracha ranch or bleu cheese dressing. These babies are a meal alone!

Green Lantern Pizza, 15505 15 Mile Rd., Clinton Twp., has more than just pizza on its menu. The Jalapeno Poppers are stuffed with cream cheese and chives and wrapped in bacon. There are six poppers in an order, and the appetizer is served with fresh made Pepper Jack cheese sauce.

If you’re a true Detroiter, you know that there are several Green Lantern locations peppered throughout the Metro Detroit area. However, keep in mind that the Clinton Township one is the only one with these delectable bites on the menu!

Cheesesteak sandwiches

Troy Deli, 3293 Rochester Rd., Troy, is a great place to pick up a sandwich before you head home to watch the game—especially if that sandwich is a cheesesteak. There are six different varieties on the menu, including Joe’s Original Cheesesteak (thinly sliced steak, grilled onions, mozzarella cheese, lettuce, tomato and dressing) and Spicy Cheesesteak (sliced steak, grilled onions and jalapenos, Pepper Jack cheese, lettuce, tomato and dressing).

There’s also a Chicken Cheesesteak and Pizza Cheesesteak if you feel like deviating from the norm.

Joey’s Famous Philly Cheesesteaks, with locations in Garden City and Southgate, makes all of its cheesesteaks with rib-eye or chicken depending on the sandwich. There are over a dozen options to choose from! Try The Heart Stopper (steak with American cheese, Provolone cheese and Cheez Whiz), The 76er (with broccoli rabe, Provolone cheese, fried onion and fried hot peppers) or The Sicilian (garlic roasted steak topped with melted Provolone cheese, Parmesan cheese and an Italian herb blend).

All cheesesteaks can be “loaded up” with fried onions free of charge, and the menu declares that “any steak can be RUINED with Italian dressing” for an additional charge, so I’d steer clear of that if I were you.

There you have it, football fans. This is by no means a complete compendium, but the above information covers quite a bit of ground and provides a few options for at least several football games to come. Who’s ready for kickoff?