KANSAS CITY, Missouri — Football and barbeque rule Kansas City, especially with the hype of the AFC Championship game Sunday between the New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs.
Food and football are treated like religion here.
Who better to lead our NEWS CENTER Maine crew on a tour of the city's best restaurants than Maine transplants who now live in the 'Show Me State?'
On Saturday, not only were Patriots fans from across the country pouring into town, but Mainers who now live in K.C. are getting ready for the game.
“I’m so happy that Arrowhead is hosting it," said Dannielle Mellott, who grew up in Arkansas as a Chiefs fan, but moved to Rhode Island and became a Patriots fan.
She flew in to meet her mom and dad for a reunion in Kansas City and go to the game.
They checked out the churches, statues and monuments, covered in Chiefs jerseys in a show of support for the team.
“When it’s football season, Chiefs fans rise to the occasion," said Kimberly Alonzo.
Alonzo is a lifelong K.C. native. Her husband, Enrique, grew up in South Portland, Maine, and moved to Missouri five years ago for work.
“I want to see the Patriots win, but if Kansas City wins, this city will go crazy. got to see what they did when the Royals won the World Series. It’s going to triple with Kansas city if they win," said Alonzo.
While Alonzo is the outsider, he said he won't give up on the Pats, even for the love of his life, who is willing to support the Patriots, a little.
“From day one he let me know who he was here to represent, and it wasn’t the Chiefs. Patriots, Red Sox all the way," said Kimberly.
The Alonzos met the NEWS CENTER Maine team at Q39, an award-winning barbeque joint.
General Manager Alyson Ellis told us the restaurant had 800 reservations booked for Saturday alone, and that was pretty typical, even in the midst of the NFL playoffs.
“If you can smell it, you know the bar-be-que’s good. Before you get in the building, if you can smell that smoke outside, good bar-be-que," said Kimberly.
Across state lines in Kansas at Joe’s Bar-be-que, Rumford native Tom Viger is also torn about which team to root for. He said he is a Patriots fan, until they come to his new hometown.
“If I could split the jerseys down the side, I’d have one on one side, one on the other. You spin it around, whoever has the ball," said Viger.
Viger's children are split, too. His daughter, Emma is pulling for the Patriots, since her younger brother's Pop Warner team was named after New England. Her brother, Connor, said he hopes to see a new team take the AFC throne.
“I probably gotta go with the Chiefs, I like how Mahomes is doing this year," he said.
Despite divided football loyalties, they unite over a well-spiced, and sauced, brisket or rack of ribs.