Nashville Tops List of Best NHL Arenas for Food and Drink

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Our sister publication, Nashville Post, notes something interesting today: The Food Republic blog, which annually ranks the best food cities for NHL hockey fans, has put Nashville at the top of the list.

Why did Bridgestone Arena get named No. 1? It seems to have as much to do with its neighborhood — the bars, restaurants and honky-tonks of Lower Broadway — as the food served up inside the venue.

Food Republic's Nina Mandel writes: "The arena, unlike many sports arenas, is in a prime neighborhood, right near Nashville's Music City waterfront."

I'm not sure how much our almost-universally-ignored Cumberland River has to do with it, but Mandel is right about Nashville's wisdom in locating the arena downtown in a pre-existing entertainment district.

Hot on Nashville's heels (or hockey skates) is New York. The Rangers play in Madison Square Garden, one of the most famous venues of all time, located in one of the world's greatest food cities. But unfortunately, Mandel says, "The area surrounding the stadium is a plethora of gross chains and fast food." She recommends dining from food trucks parked nearby or trekking a few blocks to Koreatown.

But New York is poised to get a big boost in NHL arena-area food, Mandel writes:

The arena itself is about to undergo a huge transition featuring several big names in NYC's food scene.

In December, restaurateur Drew Nieporent will serve specialty hamburger and cheeseburgers at the Daily Burger. Andrew Carmellini and Luke Ostrom (of The Dutch) will team up for new Italian link sausage and cheese bratwurst sandwiches at the Sausage Boss. Right before the holidays, Jean-Georges Vongerichten gets in the game with organic chicken, chicken dogs and chicken salad at his namesake Simply Chicken stand. Around the stadium will also be select items from New Yorkers' favorite restaurants, like barbecue joint Hill Country and Carnegie Deli. For a sweet dessert, Magnolia Bakery hawks its famous cupcakes.

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