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Super Bowl is a super day for eateries, fans
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Wild Wing Cafe kitchen manager Wayne Hart places an order of wings on the counter for pick-up Sunday in Gainesville. Super Bowl Sunday is one of the busiest days for the restaurant. - photo by SARA GUEVARA

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Listen to Rick Hall, owner of Wild Wing Cafe in Gainesville, as he talks about preparing for Super Bowl Sunday.

For area restaurants, Super Bowl Sunday means boisterous crowds splitting time between downing chicken wings and beer and cheering for their favorite team.

And then’s there the sound, sweet to the ear of businesses, of cash registers ringing.

"I’ve got a couple of people doing nothing but to-go wings today," said Rick Hall, owner of Wild Wing Cafe on Jesse Jewell Parkway in Gainesville, a few hours before the big game.

So, while many people jammed restaurants — especially sports bars — to watch the NFL championship game, many others held private parties or watched festivities from home.

Hall has noticed that trend for a while, as "I’ve been in the restaurant business a lot of years."

To-go orders are "kind of the focus before the game," he said.

"We’ve been booking orders for a few days, and we try to strategically plan about where everybody gets their wings hot and fresh," Hall said.

At the same time, in an effort to draw a crowd, the restaurant had planned to hold a drawing for a 42-inch flat-screen TV and mini-refrigerator.

"It’s the ‘Man Package.’ That’s what we’re calling it," Hall said.

Wes Thompson, general manager at Loco’s Deli & Pub on South Enota Drive in Gainesville, also spent Sunday with phone-ahead orders.

"Typically, we do the majority of our business the hour before kickoff and then about an hour into the game," he said.

"And then it typically slows and stables out after that. We have a pretty hefty in-store business."

The big restaurant item is chicken wings, with about 1,000 typically sold on Super Bowls, Thompson said.

The restaurant had no plans other than "spotlight the game, put it on all the TVs."

Thompson said the game charges up the restaurant environment.

"It’s very loud, people cheering and really getting into the game," he said. "Last year, it was two teams that nobody in Georgia really cared about, but everybody ... was totally into it.

"There was just a lot of camaraderie. People tend to come together for football."

That was the case at Buffalo’s Southwest Cafe in Oakwood. Customers packed the bar watching a wall of TVs, all tuned to the game featuring the Indianapolis Colts and New Orleans Saints.

Dan Barron and Angela Peavy were both pulling for the Saints.

"They need a win. It’s their time," Peavy said. "I’m tired of Indy winning all the time."

The Saints also drew the support of Alicia Parks and her family. She said she "didn’t care that much" who won but felt a championship trophy would boost the city that struggled so much after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

"They deserve it," she said, holding her take-out order of chicken wings.

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