From the stadium to your living room: taking tailgating home with carryout boxes

Jack McLaughlin

Tailgating and gameday go hand-in-hand whether you are rooting on the Buckeyes, Browns or Bengals. It’s practically an Ohio institution.  

With the Bucks cruising and currently ranked third in the nation, there’s even more reason to go big on football Saturdays. But with COVID-19 forcing us all to clamp down on large gatherings, many of the established tailgate parties are a no-go this year. And while this can put a damper on things, you still have a number of great, and safe, options available.

So what to do if you want to host a smaller tailgate party, but don’t want to deal with the hassle of preparing food? That’s where the tailgate box from Cravings & Innovation (a culinary branch of the Greater Columbus Convention Center) comes in.

“COVID happened to all of us, and so many of us in the hospitality industry are kind of experiencing  a void,” said Molly Dale, a General Manager at Levy Restaurants, the hospitality partner of the Greater Columbus Convention Center. “How can we maintain our passion for and connection with our customers, and potentially widen that base?”

Their new takeout tailgate boxes (which actually began as a takeout option for the Kentucky Derby) offer much of the energy and excitement of tailgate cuisine, but without all the work.


The boxes contains your choice of mouthwatering entrees (with options such as braised buffalo chicken, smoked bourbon brisket, and stadium chili), starters and sides dishes (like jalapeño cheddar cornbread and pretzel bites), in addition to fresh salads (such as the charred corn or Waldorf chicken) and dessert. It also includes disposable plates and silverware, koozies, a fun miniature football game, and even a medal to award the game’s winner.

“Our boxes come with all the necessary disposables, beautiful packaging, and even a football game. We wanted to extend the experience and make it about more than just food,” said Dale.

Currently, order pickups take place at a drive-up location at the Greater Columbus Convention Center, but Dale noted these options may be expanding as service grows.
Boxes serve between 4-10 people, depending on the options selected. Pickups take place on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to noon, and all orders for a given weekend must be placed by the previous Wednesday. You can order your own box to host a tailgate here. Additionally, a portion of the proceeds from each one will benefit the Ohio restaurant employee relief fund. So now you can have fun and do good at the same time.


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