While the teams battle it out on the field, the fans fight for the perfect table before and after the game. Whether your game-day destination is a foodie city like Athens, Ga., or you're following the Mocs to Cullowhee, N.C., make sure you score the right seat with our extensive restaurant guide.
232 West Hancock Ave. ' 706-549-3450
Chef Peter Dayle's Zagat-rated cuisine is both down home and international, featuring premium local ingredients (think olive oil from the first Georgia harvest in 150 years) prepared with a Mediterranean flair. Après game appetites are tempted with flavors ranging from chickpeas and okra with yogurt and harissa to braised pork shoulder with bacon and peach-green tomato salsa.
174-184 West Clayton Street ' 706-549-0810
Sharing the same name and building as a 1960's music club, this Zagat-rated restaurant has become an Athens institution. Owner Melissa Clegg opened the doors to the quiet bistro in the mid '90s, marking her dedication to fresh and local produce with a veggie mural that covers one side of the restaurant.
2455 West Broad Street ' 706-850-7112
A short drive from Sanford Stadium, Sr. Sol is a great way to get your fajita fix and escape the game-day bedlam of downtown restaurants. Savvy Bulldogs opt for the jalapeño cheese dip and chipotle chicken. Those looking for a serious kick off to the evening opt for the Miami, a 22-ounce frozen lime margarita with a small Corona bottle turned upside down in it.
500 West Magnolia ' 334-501-2314
Situated less than a block from Jordan Hare Stadium, the revenue at Momma Goldberg's jumps 930 percent on game days when compared to other Saturdays. Long lines form early for the steamed sandwiches, but the 36-year-old deli maximizes every square inch, setting up a large tent and tables in the parking lot. The most popular is Momma's Love, a heavenly combination of warm roast beef, ham, turkey and Muenster cheese.
410 South Gay Street ' 334-826-8181
Located just one block from campus, Amsterdam Café is swarming with War Eagle fans on game days, usually with a line forming before the doors open. But its famous crab cake and avocado sandwich - voted top 100 sandwiches in Alabama - makes it worth the wait. With locally sourced ingredients and slightly higher price points, expect to see an older, albeit spirited crowd.
1909 Cumber land Ave. ' 865-637-4663
You don't have to be in college to enjoy The Strip. That is, of course, if you're headed to Sunspot. The menu ranges from buffalo fried tofu to burgers, hence the slogan "where tie-dyes and neckties unite." Whether it's 2 a.m. or noon, each meal offers a unique blend of Caribbean, Southwestern and Latin American flavors, preceded by tomatillo salsa and chips.
133 East Moody Ave. ' 865-577-2108
Housed in an unassuming strip mall in South Knoxville, Frussie's is about four miles from Neyland Stadium but well worth the drive. First, everything is made in-house, from the toasted bread to the house-roasted pastrami, turkey and corned beef. And when it's conjoined with melted Swiss, cheddar or provolone the result is nothing short of divine.
12 Market Square ' 865-637-4067
The Vols scored big when Tomato Head opened its doors in 1990. Its farm-to-table ethos and liberal amounts of tofu were a little quirky at the time, but everyone agreed the made-from-scratch pizzas and sandwiches were fantastic. The downtown eatery continues to surprise patrons with unique pizza combos like lamb sausage, black olives, capers and sundried tomatoes.
1000 Paul W Bryant Dr . ' 205-750-0901
For a cheeseburger soaked in nostalgia, a visit to Rama Jama's is in order. The tiny diner is wallpapered with Crimson Tide memorabilia. Tucked under the eaves of the South End Zone of Bryant-Denney stadium, the restaurant has become as synonymous with Alabama football as the houndstooth hat. Specialties include the Touchdown Burger Platter and chocolate chip pancakes (RJ's serves breakfast all day).
5535 15th Ave. East ' 205-758-8135
John "Big Daddy" Bishop opened the doors to Dreamland the same year Bear Bryant started his Crimson Tide career, and 50 years later its ribs and special sauce are still a T-town tradition. Located about five miles from the stadium, Alabama fans of all ages flock to the red cinderblock restaurant, built by "Big Daddy" himself. The menu includes pork, sausage and chicken, but it's almost sacrilege to not order ribs.
1796 21st Avenue South ' 615-383-9333
If there was ever a doubt that a place devoted to pancakes was irresistible, just check the line at The Pancake Pantry on a weekend. It's always long but patience is a virtue, and so are the legendary sweet potato pancakes, made with locally ground flour using a top-secret family recipe. Burn off breakfast by walking to the stadium, less than a mile away.
731 McFerin ' 615-712-9517
There's nothing like a manly burger on game days and the recently opened Pharmacy delivers like no other. Take the Farm Burger - a prescription for decadence with a Tennessee ground beef patty, Tripp country ham, Emerald Glen Farm bacon and a Willow Farm egg. As if that weren't enough, this East Nashville hot spot also boasts a biergarten and old-fashioned soda fountain serving legendary milkshakes.
2413 Ellist on Place ' 615-327-9892
Located directly across from Vanderbilt, Rotier's has been feeding hungry students since 1945, making it almost as iconic as the Commodore himself. Try the cheeseburger, which is served on French bread and continually tops best-burger polls, or the popular meat-and-three. The vegetables vary daily but fried chicken and roast beef never leave the menu. When in doubt, order the onion rings.
207 South Main Street ' 864-232-7007
Located in downtown Greenville, Soby's is about a 15-minute drive from campus but oh-so-worth it. The popular bistro oozes ambiance, housed in a cotton exchange building from the 1800s. Much like the building, the menu is refurbished Southern cuisine with dishes like boiled peanut hummus, fried chicken with black pepper honey and barbecue shrimp and grits.
25 West Washington Street ' 864-232-3706
People come from miles around to sample Barley's staggering beer selection. With 72 taps and even more in bottles and cans, the downtown taproom offers more than 200 craft selections from breweries across the country. But it's not just the barley and hops that attracts the masses; it's also the dough, as in sourdough pizza with enticing combinations like Thai, Caribbean and the Barley's supreme.
170 River Place ' 864-679-5299
The owners promise that a trip to The Lazy Goat is time well wasted, encouraging people to "graze and nibble" over their tapas-style menu. Taking you on a culinary tour through the Mediterranean and Middle East, some popular departures include the Moroccan lamb stew with cucumber tzatziki and pita wedges or the fried goat cheese, which are dusted with flour, pistachio dust and drizzled with vanilla infused honey.
612 West Main Street ' 828-586-8989
No matter who wins the game, your taste buds will score big with this mountain town gem, located on Sylva's historic Main Street. Named the favorite restaurant in the region by Southern Living magazine, Lulu's menu is a foodie's paradise with adventurous flavors such as wasabi shrimp, tofu mojo and tropical pork.
83 Asheville Hwy. ' 828-631-0554
Open 16 years, all walks of life flock to this Sylva sports bar for everything from a business lunch to late night karaoke. But the wings are the star of the show, served with a selection of 16 house-made sauces. Located about five minutes from campus, game days are particularly lively with 26 beers on tap, some 20 televisions and live music on the patio.
4 Canon Street ' 843-302-8825
You haven't had a trip to the grocery like this. Chef Kevin Johnson elegantly composes ingredients from local farmers and artisans such as fried oysters, crispy pimento cheese balls and tilefish. Everything is served on a collection of crocks, flattened coke bottles and casserole dishes, lending a casual, oldfashioned flair. Located just off King Street in Upper Charleston, this neighborhood restaurant is deliciously convenient.
232 Meeting Street ' 843-805-5900
An acronym for "Food Is Good," FIG's menu is straightforward, New American cuisine featuring Low-country jewels such as Capers Inlet clams and mustard-crusted scamp grouper with chanterelle-tomato ragout. Most nights the locals outnumber the tourists - a true testament for this foodie town. Plus, it's less than three miles from The Citadel's campus.
41-A Bogard Street ' 843-973-3323
People come from all over to sample Chef Ken Vedrinski's menu, attracting the attention of Rachael Ray, Gourmet magazine and New York magazine. Happily, you only have to travel about a mile from campus. And while you can nosh on such exotic dishes as gorgonzola creamaficia and handmade gnudi and tagliolini pastas, Trattoria Lucca offers modestly priced entrees with an ample wine list.
1000 North Pine Street ' 864-582-3800
Wade's devotees range in age from college freshmen to 80 year olds, but they all come for the same reason - Southern cooking done right. Located less than half a mile from the stadium, this family friendly meat-and-three is known for its fried chicken, macaroni and cheese and peanut butter pie, the latter responsible for its designation as Southern Living's "Top 10 Southern Restaurants." Let your server know if you're a first-timer and receive a special gift.
255 John B White Sr Boulevard ' 864-585-9387
If you only have one meal in Spartanburg, it needs to be at the Beacon. On a good Saturday they'll serve 5,000 people, but orders are taken quickly, usually with J.C. Strobel demanding you to "CALL IT OUT!" The Chili Cheese A-Plenty is popular, served with a mountain of French fries and onion rings, but the sweet tea is a must. The Beacon prides itself as the largest single seller of sweet tea in the nation.
100 East Main Street ' 864-582-2662
Located just three blocks from campus, some fans watch the game on the deli's big screen, but since the dining room reaches capacity at about 60, even more order to-go for tailgate fare. Popular sandwiches include the Apollo and STP dippers, each served with the super secret Formula "45" sauce. All told, Groucho's offers about 200 sandwich combinations.