Before running to the grocery store and cooking up a big batch of appetizers for the big game Sunday, take some tips from local experts on how to throw the perfect Super Bowl LIII party.

The New England Patriots are back in it (natch!), this time -- like the first time they won way back in 2002 -- against the Rams, though they're from L.A. now and not St. Louis.

So what will you have for your guests to chew on -- besides their fingernails -- during the game?

Steve Beauvais, one of the owners for Two Chefs Are Better Than One Catering in Lowell, suggests putting out bowls of spicy mixed nuts around the house for people to nosh on, and use some disposable dishware so you won't have to leave the game to wash dishes.

Beauvais said Two Chefs usually serves a few stationary hors d'oeuvres and "upscale munchies" for Super Bowl parties. He said they always have a raw bar featuring items like oysters and crab legs along with shrimp cocktail, scallops wrapped in bacon and a variety of hot dips, all served with baskets of homemade pita and tortilla chips.

For a buffet, Beauvais said Two Chefs offers "really bad-for-you stuff" -- hey, it's the Super Bowl -- like chicken wings, spare ribs, pulled pork and mac and cheese, though they will try to healthy it up with some salad, too.

Mike Lenzi, owner of Lenzi's Catering of Dracut, said he always sells standard finger foods, like chili, more than buffet dishes along with some specialty themed food.


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"We might bring out the old memories of other Super Bowls, like jambalaya," he said referring back to the special dish they made for Super Bowl XLIV in 2009.

Erin McMahon, owner of Catering with Erin McMahon in Lowell, is also all about a themed display for your Super Bowl party.

She said for the Super Bowl parties she's catering, she plans to use linen tablecloths that feature a football-field design.

She'lll offer several make-it-yourself food bars, like burgers with all the fixings, pizzas and nachos.

Il Forno in Fitchburg will also have pizza and meatballs for its special Super Bowl catering menu, but it's now limiting itself to its usual Italian theme.

"We're trying to please everybody's taste and make it affordable," owner Mike Mohamed said.

Il Forno has eight party packages for the big game, four of which you can select for five or 10 people. Buffalo cauliflower, honey-barbecue pork ribs, buffalo chicken mac & cheese and homemade chili & cheese are just a few of the menu options.

Slattery's Restaurant & Bar in Fitchburg also offers a large catering menu with many appetizers, entrees and more to pick from.

On top of the regular options, Slattery's offers a custom menu with dishes people most like to see, like wings, zucchini bites and custom sandwiches made with their homemade French bread.

Dave Celuzza, chef and owner of the restaurant and bar, said it's easy to pick up the food hot and reheat it in the oven on cookie sheets come game time.

"Nibble on the cheese-and-cracker-type of foods at the beginning, then something more to eat at halftime and then, hopefully, popping some champagne at the end," Celuzza said.

Catering by Erin McMahon

(978) 995-8635

cateringbyerin@yahoo.com

Two Chefs Are Better Than One

1001 Pawtucket Blvd.

Lowell, MA 01854

twochefsfood.com

CONTACT

Phone: +1 978 970 0212

Fax: +1 978 805 0511

Email: eventplanning@twochefsfood.com

Il Forno

* Website: il-forno.com

* Phone: (978) 345-2511

* Address: 27 Airport Rd, Fitchburg, MA 01420

slatterysrestaurant

106 lunenburg St., Fitchburg.com

978-342-8880

978-458-2323

lenzicatering.com