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Game day appetizers to feed Super Bowl crowds
Branch House Tavern plans to serve a buffalo chicken dip as part of its appetizers during Super Bowl Sunday. The dish consists of cheese, chicken and a housemade buffalo sauce. - photo by Courtesy of Branch House Tavern

The Atlanta Falcons delivered an impressive performance Sunday night to punch their ticket to the Super Bowl for the first time since 1999. Now home cooks can deliver their own punch with a championship-worthy food spread for the big game Feb. 5.

And the best way to add variety to the dinner table is with several dips to dunk your favorite football snacks.

A buffalo chicken dip — and its reddish color — may be especially festive to support the Falcons, and Branch House Tavern in Flowery Branch has it. The barbecue joint with more than 50 flat screen TVs featuring sporting events of all kinds will serve the buffalo chicken dip on Super Bowl Sunday. Branch House Tavern owner AJ Alboumeh said the dip consists of cheese, chicken and the house-made buffalo sauce.

“It tastes good and adds color,” he said.

But the Flowery Branch watering hole is not the only eatery ready and willing to serve up dips for the big game.

Neat Eats owner Nicole Kempker suggested her bacon bleu cheese dip.

“It’s always a crowd pleaser and works great, because it cannot only be made ahead of time, but can also be served cold, hot or at room temperature,” she said.

Kempker said the bacon in the creamy dip adds a smoky flavor to it.

“It pairs really well with the other traditional game day fare like hot wings and chicken fingers,” she said.

The dip will be available the week of the Super Bowl at Neat Eats, a drive-thru shop off Thompson Bridge Road in Gainesville, that offers half-baked meals.

George Arnett, owner of Riggy’s Sports Grill in Gainesville, also encourages home chefs to get crazy with their dips.

“Have fun with your food and get creative,” he said.

Arnett pointed out a lot of dips can be based off ranch or bleu cheese dressings. Simply mixing them with sour cream and cheeses can create a new taste.

Arnett, who has created many of the dishes on Riggy’s menu, gets inspired from watching food videos online. He said to blend your taste preferences and adjust them to your liking.

“Just go in the kitchen, roll up your sleeves and see what works and what doesn’t,” he said.

Katie Workman said not all dips have to be creative and new. A simple cheese-and-beer dip paired with a hot pretzel is popular at a stadium or in a home.

The author of two cookbooks said Super Bowl hosts can find soft pretzels in the frozen aisle of the supermarket and heat them up in the oven. While they bake, hosts may stir a quick cheese-and-beer dip for dunking.

If you have a big crowd and want to make a larger batch of pretzels, double the dip recipe and keep it warm in a slow cooker. It can also be gently reheated over low heat in a saucepan if it starts to thicken up too much.

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