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Foot Locker Flagship Fetes NBA Rivalry With Fast Food—But There’s a Catch

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Foot Locker has a fresh new foray: food.

Visitors to Foot Locker’s Los Angeles flagship in October and November can treat themselves to a curated selection of culinary delights at the “Rivals Café” as the footwear retailer celebrates the return of the NBA basketball season with a nod to the long-running rivalry between the L.A. Lakers and Chicago Bulls.

Featuring items such as the “L.A. Dirty Dog,” a bacon-wrapped hot dog served with a charred jalapeño, and its legendary Chicago analog, packed with chopped onions, relish, dill pickle spears, tomato slices and peppers, Rivals Café promises to be a culinary adventure that emphasizes the retailer’s connection to basketball culture.

There is a catch, however.

Customers at the café are required to purchase pieces from Jordan’s “Rivals” line, a collection also inspired by NBA rivalries. The brand’s legendary namesake is largely responsible for igniting the rivalry between the two great American cities that inspired the temporary pop-up.

During Michael Jordan’s ascent into the upper echelon of basketball luminaries, Los Angeles and Chicago clashed often in the NBA playoffs, with most of the early matches going to Magic Johnson and his “Showtime” Lakers in the late ’80s—dropping the later games to Jordan and the Bulls during their dominant, dynasty-building mid-’90s run.

The collection of apparel and footwear in both men’s and children’s sizes offers shirts, jackets, sweatshirts, sweatpants and shorts. Although fans will need to visit the Hollywood and Highland flagship location to taste what the pop-up has to offer, the collection is offered at all Foot Locker locations and on the retailer’s website.

Rivals Café was created with the help of food and drink blog Foodbeast, dubbed the “TMZ of food news,” and maintains 50 million followers across social media. The cafe’s inaugural stint ran from Oct. 24-Oct. 27, and the pop-up eatery will reopen on Halloween until its final day on Nov.3.

Foot Locker is just the latest retailer to mix food and fashion. Tommy Bahama now operates more than a dozen eateries, Ralph Lauren owns four coffee bars and restaurants across the U.S. and Europe, and Urban Outfitters purchased three-store Philadelphia pizza joint Vetri four years ago, in tandem with millennials’ rising spend on dining-out experiences.

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