Super Bowl fever calls for feeding hungry Eagles fans

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Local businesses will be ready to meet the higher demand that is expected with the Eagles playing in the big game

Lorenzo’s Pizza and many other South Philly businesses are preparing for the busy weekend ahead.

By Bill Gelman

Normally, this time of year, all it takes is one mention of the words “winter storm is coming” to create mass chaos at the local supermarkets. This week, however, it doesn’t really matter what the projected forecast is for one simple reason — the Philadelphia Eagles playing the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII is enough to draw a crowd. Instead of shelling out thousands on a trip to Minneapolis, many fans will be staying in South Philly. Hosting or attending a Super Bowl party is much friendlier on the wallet. Plus, if the Eagles do pull off their first-ever Super Bowl win on Sunday, the pre-parade celebration will spill out onto South Broad Street.

Jennifer Colligas-Moyer, one of the owners of ShopRite, 300 W. Oregon Ave., is anticipating people will be “stocking up on all of their Super Bowl party needs,” with snacks, party platters, paper goods, cups and plastic cutlery being a handful of the in-demand items. The store is preparing by increasing its supply order.

“This is such a huge event for our city, and we want to make sure that we have everything the fans need to celebrate,” Colligas-Moyer said.

In terms of preparing for this week’s crowd versus a winter storm, she said “that’s definitely a tie.”

Pizza, steaks sandwiches and hoagies will be in high demand on Sunday, too. Keith Vellios, owner of Lorenzo’s Pizza, 9th and Christian streets, usually enjoys a day off on Sunday, but with the Eagles being in the big game, it’s all hands on deck. He is preparing for the larger-than-normal demand by having extra batches of dough ready. Typically, he said, one batch makes 30 to 40 pizzas. Preparing the dough is a process, that will likely begin sometime on Saturday, as it takes two to three hours before it’s ready to use. Vellios also noted that he will be doubling the number of wings in his food supply order.

“I think it will get pretty crazy, especially with the Eagles in the Super Bowl,” Vellios said.

Some customers have already pre-ordered strombolis. They come mostly cooked to the point where 10 minutes in the oven is all that will be needed.

“They are great for parties,” he said.

While many take-out businesses will be open during the game, Lorenzo’s will stick to its Sunday schedule of closing at 5 p.m., which means all orders will be picked up or delivered well before kickoff. From there, Vellios plans on heading home to watch the game with his kids.

The team at Mattei Family Pizza, 1260 Point Breeze Ave., has yet to experience what business is like on Super Bowl Sunday as a result of being a new business. The Eagles being in the game just adds to the excitement.

“Could not be more proud, especially since so many ‘experts’ pinged us as the underdog,” said owner Mariano Mattei.

Like Lorenzo’s, he is expecting wings and pizza to be big-ticket items, and will be stocking up on the supplies to meet the demand.

For those looking to have food in time for the 6:30 p.m. kickoff, he advises that earlier is better so the staff can pre-plan. Mattei Family Pizza is preparing for a big dine-in crowd, too, as they will be hosting a big game buffet in which fans enjoy the game and food, along with complimentary wine and beer. Tickets are $10 for children ages 4 to 13 and $39 for adults (visit matteifamilypizza.com).

In the spirit of Eagles fever, the restaurant is offering its limited lean, green, fighting machine football pizza with kale, onion, mozzarella and a Lebanese garlic sauce.

In terms of who Mattei is rooting for on Sunday, he has two words to share: “Go Eagles!”

The upbeat mood spreads to the ShopRite in Whitman Plaza.

“Our store is pumped! Go Birds,” Colligas-Moyer said.