Minnesota Food on TV

By Erica Wacker

Minnesota -- known for signature dishes like the “Juicy Lucy” and upping the ante with innovative food trucks and farm-to-table fare -- is leaving its mark on the food world, and on food-centric TV shows. The Travel Channel, Food Network and others have filmed episodes at dozens of restaurants around the state, showing the world what dining here is all about.

Here’s just a sampling of some of Minnesota’s eateries, as seen on TV.

"Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives"

Blue Door Pub burger
Photo courtesy of The Blue Door Pub

Chef and host Guy Fieri hits casual local favorites on this Food Network series, and has visited several Minnesota spots. In northeast Cloquet, Gordy’s Hi-Hat has been serving hand-pattied hamburgers, homemade onion rings and made-to-order milkshakes for more than 50 years. In nearby Duluth, Fieri sampled cranberry wild rice French toast at At Sara’s Table/Chester Creek Cafe, smoked fish at Northern Waters Smokehaus, and bison pot roast and banana cream pie at Duluth Grill.

He’s also featured many Minneapolis-St. Paul-area hot spots, including Pizzeria LolaDonatelli’s Italian restaurant in White Bear Lake, and The Nook and The Blue Door Pub for their versions of Minnesota’s famous cheese-filled hamburgers. Most recently, he visited Buster's on 28th, a Minneapolis gastropub.

"Bizarre Foods"

Longtime Minneapolis resident Andrew Zimmern loves to tout his state’s delicacies on his Travel Channel show, which focuses on unusual eats from around the globe. On his latest Minnesota episode, he manned the kitchen for a night at Haute Dish in Minneapolis, tasted guinea pig from the Hola Arepa food truck, and had a meal at the innovative Travail in Robbinsdale.

Betty's Pies Two Harbors_Democratic Travelers
   Photo by The Democratic Travelers

On past episodes, he’s featured the famous Ingebretsen’s in Minneapolis, Heartland Restaurant in St. Paul, Betty’s Pies in Two Harbors (pictured) and My Sister’s Place in Grand Marais, as well as an entire episode dedicated to the Minnesota State Fair.

"Man v. Food"

Though Adam Richman’s show focuses on extreme eating – like insanely hot chicken wings and 5-pound burritos – he also visits other noteworthy eateries on this Travel Channel series. In the Twin Cities, his stops have included local favorites Punch Neapolitan Pizza and Brasa Premium Rotisserie.

At Gasthof zur Gemutlichkeit in Minneapolis, Adam ate a meter-long bratwurst with sides. He also visited Rack Shack BBQ in Burnsville for The Hobo – meat, potatoes and side dishes all in one skillet – and Tin Cup’s in St. Paul for its Lucifer Challenge: two Juicy Lucy burgers with two pounds of fries.

"No Reservations"

On his “Heartland” episode, Anthony Bourdain spent time with chef Doug Flicker at Piccolo in south Minneapolis, which serves seasonal and artfully presented small plates. Flicker has been nominated for a James Beard Award for Best Chef: Midwest.

"Heartland Table"

This new Food Network cooking show stars chef Amy Thielen, and is filmed in her cabin kitchen in north-central Minnesota. She grew up in Park Rapids and worked under renowned chefs Daniel Boulud and Jean-Georges Vongerichten in New York City before returning to her home state. Catch her show on Sunday mornings.

"Top Chef"

Shoyu MSP airportThe 11th season of this Emmy-winning Bravo show featured a chef from the Twin Cities for the first time. Sara Johannes is the executive chef at Shoyu at the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport, a modern Japanese noodle and sushi shop (pictured).

"Cupcake Wars"

Minneapolis-based bakery Cupcake has appeared on Food Network's "Cupcake Wars" multiple times, and took home the grand prize in 2012. The shop also has locations in St. Paul, Eagan and at Mall of America. Nadia Cakes in Maple Grove is also a past winner.

"Food Wars"

Minnesota's famous Juicy Lucy -- a burger with the cheese inside the patty -- was the subject of an episode of "Food Wars" on the Travel Channel. The burger battle pitted Minneapolis' Matt's Bar against 5-8 Club, both of which claim to serve the best version of this local icon. Matt's ultimately won the blind taste test.

Find a full list of Minnesota restaurants that have been featured on Food Network at foodnetwork.com/restaurants.html.