KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The countdown has reached 10 days to go.
Next week’s NFL Draft is expected to draw thousands, and Kansas City will be ready to feed them. The three-day draft will feature a number of restaurants chosen as official food vendors.
Twenty metro restaurants have been chosen as food vendors to feed the masses, and appropriately, seven of them will offer barbecue.
At Q39, executive chef Philip Thompson has been preparing for the NFL Draft since February. His team will be ready, smoking 150 briskets and 2,000 pounds of pulled pork.
“We’ll be cooking for thousands of people every day,” Thompson said. “We’ve been hiring extra staff. We’ll be making sure our preparations are in place. Come Thursday next week, we’re ready for go-time.”
In the city’s West Bottoms, the smokers at Chef J’s BBQ are also stoked. Chef J said he’s prepared to feed an enormous crowd that will gather at Union Station, where the Super Bowl celebration roared just two months ago. The NFL Draft’s elaborate stage, which sits in front of Union Station, is still being completed.
“When they’re expecting 100 to 150 thousand guests every single day, you just go out there and be prepared to move efficiently and keep quality first, but to be able to execute fast,” Chef J said on Monday.
That kind of pep talk can apply to the culinary arts or football, and it might impress Chiefs Head Coach Andy Reid, who is a noted barbecue connoisseur in his own right.
“I’m excited for Kansas City. They say all these people are excited. You’d better get the barbecue fired up and ready to go,” Reid told reporters on Monday.
One requirement to serve as an NFL Draft food vendor — businesses must be at least 51 percent owned by females, minorities, LGBT people or military veterans. That’s meant to celebrate diversity in the Kansas City metro.
The 2023 NFL Draft takes the stage on Thursday April 27th, and is scheduled to run through Saturday.