What Do Fathers Really Want to Eat on Father’s Day?

We asked our readers, including several celebrity chefs, what they’re looking forward to eating on Father’s Day
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What Do Fathers Really Want to Eat on Father’s Day?

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Father’s Day is this Sunday, June 21, so we’re on a mission to learn what foods Dad is looking forward to on the big day.

To find out, we polled several hundred dads, plus a few celebrity chefs, to find out their preferred celebratory meals — breakfast, lunch, dinner, or maybe brunch? At home or at a fancy restaurant? The results will help you create a great Father’s Day menu — or maybe inspire you to make reservations at his favorite place. The majority of dads polled chose dinner at home for their Father’s Day celebration, with a focus on a barbecue and grilled foods. If your dad is all about manning the grill, consider these grilling-themed gifts to add to his inventory of prized cooking tools.



When Should You Start the Festivities?

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As soon as he wakes up, of course. But we’re talking about which meal Dad wants to be the highlight of Father’s Day. Dinner won out as the most popular choice (48 percent), followed by breakfast (22 percent), and brunch and lunch, both at 15 percent. 

Where To?

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Most dads (58 percent) chose, heartwarmingly, the option of a home-cooked meal for their Father’s Day celebration. We’re guessing that also coincides nicely with the desire to grill outdoors this weekend, which makes sense. Any event where you get to cook with fire is pretty thrilling, and families all over the country are looking forward to barbecuing all summer long.

Roughly a third (34 percent) of dads said that they would prefer to eat at a restaurant, where it’s the chef’s job to cook with fire.

The remainder (8 percent) opted to enjoy Father’s Day festivities at a relative’s house, which we’re guessing means that they’ve got multi-generational family gatherings in the works. 

For Dads Who Love Barbecue and Grilling

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When we asked a sample of fathers to identify what was on their dream Father’s Day menu, the majority of votes went to barbecue and grilling (40 percent), followed by fine dining (22 percent), and their favorite ethnic cuisine (12 percent).

Presumably, you know full well if your dad is a grilling fiend, and whether that means an elaborate evening of surf and turf or some good old fashioned hamburgers and hotdogs.

If Dad is craving steak, remember to let the meat rest for five minutes before cutting, and if he’s a man who needs ribs, David Guas of Grill Nation has the perfect championship glazed ribs recipe. In any case, we’ve got your grill menu right here. We’ve also got a whole guide to grilling and barbecue, just in case you’re interested. 

For Fine-Dining Fans


Nearly a quarter (22 percent) of dads said that they wanted a fine-dining experience on Father’s Day. If you haven’t made reservations yet for your sophisticated dad, do it now

For Ethnic Cuisine Aficionados

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Whether your dad has visions of pastitsio (Greek lasagna) or Persian meatballs, we’ve got a number of recommendations for dads who love ethnic foods. Perhaps your dad is a man who loves both grilling and ethnic cuisines? It’s a good thing we’ve compiled this list of ways that people barbecue around the world

For Dads Who Love a Good Casserole


If your dad is happiest with a simple one-pot meal, we’ve got quite a few to choose from. If nothing pleases him more than a great lasagna, we recommend this tried-and-true classic for the occasion, or these Mexican lasagna recipes — which are not healthy at all, so forgive us. 

For the Dad Who Lives for Breakfast

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If Dad lives for the smell of bacon in the morning and his heart melts at the sight of a stack of fluffy pancakes, you need to know about our most essential pancake recipe. If Dad is a chicken and waffles man, here’s a recipe for some that includes maple-candied bacon

For the One You Know Best

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A little over 10 percent of dads who answered our poll told us that they would be happy to eat anything as long as it was made by their families, which means anything that comes out of your kitchen will be a big hit, no matter what it is. For inspiration, check out chef Emeril Lagasse’s favorite Father’s Day recipes, and our roundup of how these other celebrity chefs, including José Andrés and Geoffrey Zakarian, will be celebrating this Sunday. 

Father’s Day Cocktails


Now that you’ve got an entire menu planned, don’t forget Dad’s favorite cocktails!  We’ve got options from every decade, plus drinks that are tailored for brunch and cocktails inspired by bacon. Finally, don’t overdo it, but we’ve also got a list of cocktails ranked by their alcohol content.