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Ask A Chicago Expert: Tips For Throwing The Perfect Super Bowl Party

When it comes to a Super Bowl party, the event is all about the game, halftime show, and the commercials — and maybe even the food. To make your Super Bowl party a memorable one, one that's focused on the game, Anthony Navarro, founder of Liven Up Events, offers up some tips related to everything from the timing to the decor and food.

Denver Broncos v Carolina Panthers
(Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Anthony Navarro
Liven It Up Events

Creative Studio (by appointment only)
561 W. Diversey Parkway, Suite 215
Chicago, IL 60614
773) 727-4929

With more than a decade of experience in the event planning industry, Anthony Navarro founded Liven It Up Events based in Chicago's Lincoln Park. He, along with his team of seven event planners, plans corporate events, weddings and social experiences at venues as well as in their clients' homes. As for planning the perfect Super Bowl party, Navarro says, "Remember, just because the Super Bowl may historically have a casual vibe, you can class it up with fun foods and cocktails, and surprises throughout the evening." Keep reading for Navarro's five tips for planning the perfect Super Bowl party.

Schedule The Party To Start Well Before Gametime

Since people will want to get there and have some time to socialize and settle in before the game starts, be sure to invite people over well before kickoff. "Scheduling the arrival time with ample time before the game starts is necessary, and having food ready as your guests arrive," says Navarro.

Focus Your Decor On A Lovely Tablescape

While the game will be the focus, Navarro suggests crafting a wonderful tablescape that enhances the looks of your food buffet. His recommendation? "I would start with a green linen or piece of astroturf. All of my serving pieces (platters, bowls, etc) would be white, where you would place all of your food items. I would make sure you have plenty of levels that can create some dimension on your table, with one large focal point in the center of the table."

To give it an even more beautiful touch, while also sticking to the theme, Navarro says, "Playing with wheat grass on the table, along with other grass elements, could be a fun way to tie in the field on your table. If you are serving an item that can be served on a skewer, taking wheat grass and sticking the skewered foods into the grass is a fun way of displaying your food."

Last but certainly not least, use accent colors based on the colors of the competing football teams!

Course Your Party Menu Out And Elevate Your Food Choices

When it comes to the Super Bowl party food, there's a certain expectation for snack foods, buffalo wings and some other tasty game-time treats. But that doesn't mean you can't make it a bit more sophisticated! Navarro suggests jazzing up your ingredients, starting with your hoagie sandwiches; in addition to the usual fixings, serve them up with pretzel rolls and perhaps some honey roasted shredded chicken.

He also recommends staggering when you put out all the foods. "Make sure you have snacks for when your guests first arrive. Most times, these would be items that do not need to be warm, they can be room temp. Again, if you want to elevate the types of foods you are working with, shop at a gourmet grocery store. Use items like vegetable chips, zucchini and squash, pita chips, whole wheat naan, and assorted dips that include hummus, tahini, kale and artichoke dip."

As for the second course, it could be your main course. "Here's where you can get into your gourmet sliders, duck nachos, pulled bbq pork sliders, roasted salmon with a wasabi mayo. Again, some stadium favorites with a higher-end twist."

Last but certainly not least, dessert is the easiest place to bring in a football theme. "You can have assorted cookies in the shape and design of footballs, frosted football cupcakes, or go the other route and have your cookies, cupcakes and cakes with green frosting and white stripes to represent the field."

Related: Best Super Bowl Sunday Specials In Chicago

Craft Some Creative Cocktails

Don't forget about the drinks! While it's probably a good idea to have a cooler full of beer, cocktails are another way to amp up the spirit of the game. Navarro suggests crafting these cocktails based on the team's colors, if possible. Be sure these cocktails are ready to go when the guests arrive, as it's the perfect way to start the night off right.

Make Sure The TV Works!

One last important note, Navarro wants to add, "You also have to remember to make sure that TV works in the room you are entertaining in! You will be surprised at how many people really do want to watch the game." Or, at the very least, the commercials.

Related: Best Football Bar In Chicago

Elizabeth SanFilippo is a freelance writer, who enjoys trying new foods from all over the world. But her favorite city for culinary treats will always be Chicago. When not blogging about food, she's working part-time at a culinary vacation company, The International Kitchen, based in the Windy City, as well as repping Younique cosmetics and skincare products. Some of her writing can be found at

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