By Matt McCue
Beef, it's what's for dinner -- at least if you're an NFL player fueling up. Polling teams' media relations staff members and city insiders reveals that their players, and visiting ones, like to eat prime-grade steaks and chops, and large portions of them, when eating out in the NFL's 32 cities.
Like their colleagues in the NBA, many NFL players tend to stick to the tried-and-true upscale chains, places where they know what they like and know they can expect food that, while it may not be inventive, will be reliably palatable.
Whether they're linebackers, wide receivers or quarterbacks, players know that these joints will have big portions of their favorite foods, and proteins of all kinds. Every NFL market seems to have a Ruth's Chris, Del Frisco's, Morton's, or all of the above. And not surprisingly, they are regular hangouts of the pros.
But local establishments and non-protein centered restaurants aren't completely out of the question, either. For instance, when visiting Miami, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady likes to hit up Prime One Twelve. In Kansas City, Chiefs running back Thomas Jones is a huge fan of the barbecue chicken wings at Fiorella's Jack Stack. Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler reportedly likes the retro steakhouse Wildfire in the Windy City when seeking out meat and potatoes, while Charlotte Panthers quarterback Cam Newton has been known to fuel up on the all-day breakfast at the Original Pancake House.
Find out where teams say other pros like to eat in 10 NFL cities.
The Windy City haunts of the Bears tend to serve the meat-and-potato fare of the heartland. Quarterback Jay Cutler likes the retro steakhouse Wildfire while offensive tackle J'Marcus Webb frequents the Chicago original, Harry Caray's. Other places to spot players include the landmark Gene and Georgetti's; Joe's Prime Seafood, Steak & Stone Crab; and, of course, Ditka's.
Nick & Sam's is beloved by NFL players because they always deliver dependable, quality steaks and chops, and the portions are huge. The menu boasts aged beef that starts at 16 ounces for the rib-eye and goes all the way up to three pounds for the porterhouse. Hall of Fame quarterback Troy Aikman is a fan, while Reggie Bush (pictured) scored a coveted table during Super Bowl weekend in February.
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Kansas City offers a free pass to indulge in baby back ribs and burnt ends and players get their fingers dirty over at Fiorella's Jack Stack, where the meat is "hickory-kissed." According to The Pitch, running back Thomas Jones is a huge fan of the chicken wings.
In this coastal town, two favorites of the team are special-occasion steakhouse Bern's, which encourages, but doesn’t require, jackets and ties, and just down the road from Raymond James Stadium, 717 South, which celebrates its proximity to the water with Asian spins on its seafood. The last was where Buccaneers head coach Raheem Morris took his team to dinner to celebrate the end of the lockout in August.
Nashville is home to authentic Southern spots, and Puckett's Grocery and Restaurant rings true to the local cuisine with items like smoked sausage, fried pickles, jalapeños, and chicken. Former Titans quarterback and undercover musician Kerry Collins felt so at home at Puckett's that he took the stage during a party this summer and played his guitar in public for the first time.
Click here for TheDailyMeal.com's complete slideshow featuring the eateries where NFL pros like to eat.