In our opinion, there's nothing like football season to heighten the senses: the roar of hyped crowds, the tweets of hectic whistles, the bright waves of your favorite team's colors, the thunderous rhythm of a raucous drumline. Forget the pumpkin patch; Fall is for football, baby.

Of course, we can't forget the smells that the season brings: burgers sizzling over charcoal, wings tossed in tangy sauce, cold suds poured into pints. But this year it's going take more than familiar smells to grab people walking past your door. The key to a successful season is to elevate your menu by sprinkling in a few unique items and hot trends while keeping the crowd-favorites (We won't ever tell you to give up on wings!).

Swice It Up

We're not sure who came up with "swicy," but we love everything about this blend of sweet and spicy that's being utilized this year in everything from bar snacks to entrées. Create an incredibly addicting munchie mix that'll keep the beers flowing by roasting nuts, crunchy sesame sticks, popcorn, and seeds in caramel and cayenne. Or make a delectable glaze of honey and Sriracha to drizzle on seafood skewers. And here we thought nothing could top sweet-and-salty.

Elevate Old Favorites

Let's be real, game day wouldn't be the same without heaping mountains of nachos. You can keep this people-pleaser on the menu but be sure to set your biz apart from the rest by upping the ante with tender slices of brisket piled on top.

Poutine made its way into American hearts from its Canadian homeland some time ago, and this mind-blowing comfort combo of crispy fries, cheese curds, and gravy seems to be no-brainer football fare. Or you can make it your own by subbing crisp, fluffy tater tots in place of fries. And wings? As long as they're meaty and you've got solid sauce options, why mess with a good thing?

Praise the Plant

We've said it before, but plant-based fare continues to be essential to incorporate into menus, and that won't change anytime soon. The good news for your business is that it doesn't take a lot to create plant-based dishes that will make your guests salivate. In fact, maxing out on vegetables is not only a healthier option many guests are looking for, but it'll cost you even less to prepare.

This season is the best time to capitalize on the power of the mushroom. For one, its health properties are enough of a draw to get even the most hearty of meat eaters on board. Two, different mushroom varieties offer such a wide range of textures — almost all of which easily mimic meat. And third, mushrooms are becoming more and more ubiquitous around the country, which means lower costs for you! So, shred some lion's mane, toss with BBQ, and top with a zesty slaw for sliders that will have folks licking their fingers clean. Even dredge halved maitake in flax egg and seasoned flour, then fry for a crispy fried chicken alternative that can be served for dipping or in sandwich form. That sounds like a touchdown to us.

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