'Taste of the NFL' Super Bowl tradition started in Minnesota

- The last time Minnesota hosted a Superbowl, the half-time show was all about Winter Magic and embracing the cold. That theme will again play out this year with chants of the “Bold North,” a super snow slide, ice skating and outdoor concerts.

But there’s another tradition from 1992 that didn’t just stay in Minnesota. It’s an event that has endured in every single Superbowl since. It’s called the Taste of the NFL and it raises money for food pantries in every NFL city across the country.

“We’ve created 200 million new meals through the donations,” said Wayne Kostroski, the founder of the Taste of the NFL.

Kostroski was tasked with the project of creating a charitable event back in 1992 and in his role as the president of the Minnesota Restaurant Association, food was a natural fit.  

“It’s got everything, it’s got the best food in the country," he said. "It’s the best restaurant you’ll ever eat at in one night without getting on a plane."

The concept is simple, to have one restaurant and one NFL player from each city and team in the NFL. Big name celebrities always attend and there’s a big name musical act that always headlines the event. The first year, the celebrity chefs included Bobby Flay and Rick Bayless. Over the years, the music has included Brooks and Dunn, Bare Naked Ladies and Michael McDonald.  

Every single person working at the event volunteers their time and it is the one Superbowl event that is strictly about giving back.  

“If you do good things, you’ll meet good people and it’s the biggest lesson if you have an idea and if it does good for others, take a shot at it,” said Kostroski.  

The Taste of the NFL is open to the public. You can buy tickets here. If you don’t want to attend the party, but still want to give, each NFL team participates in the Kick Hunger Challenge. You can donate in the name of your favorite team here.

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