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Culture

Tailgate Touchdown with Nicola Gilardi

Restaurant owner Nicola Gilardi talks about her tailgating experience, and how it brings people together.

By Colin Shea Denniston

Nov 2022

Nicola Gilardi tailgating
Photo courtesy Nicola GilardiThis group of Chief's fans spent their Sunday tailgating and making new memories.

Springfield restaurateur Nicola Gilardi didn’t grow up as a football fan. “The first time I went, I didn’t really know what ‘tailgate’ meant,” says Gilardi. “And then here I go to this event like ‘Oh. My. Gosh.’ This is unbelievable!’” These days, Gilardi is a regular fixture at Arrowhead Stadium tailgates, along with friends like Andy and Dana Kuntz, owners of Andy’s Frozen Custard. “They are the ones that actually got me involved in going up there,” says Gilardi. And though his busy workdays are spent inside his popular 417-land restaurants, Gilardi still finds joy around the food, hospitality and community of a tailgate. “The tailgate [is] like the experience of a lifetime—there is the food, there is the drink, there are the people. And one thing that I really love about the majority of the American sports is how the fans all get along,” Gilardi says. “You can be a Chief or you can be a Bronco or you can be a Dallas fan—during the tailgate it’s like a really big family with different color jerseys.”

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