Where to Eat & Drink Before, During or After the Big Game
By Caitlin Hannah
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Home to numerous professional, collegiate and club teams, Minnesota is a haven for sports fans. Since snacking and sports go hand in hand, we decided to make a list of the best places to eat and drink before, during or after the big game.
Soccer fans should head right on over to Minnesota's newest stadium, Allianz Field in St. Paul, to cheer for the Minnesota United FC, a Major League Soccer member since 2015. The stadium is located in the Midway neighborhood and is within walking distance of the Green Line light rail.
Local and diverse food options are the name of the game at Allianz Field. Loons fans can enjoy chicken tinga tostadas from Nixta, cheese curds dusted with a Doritos-like Cry Baby Craig's coating, vegan-friendly comfort food via J. Selby, oversized Swedish meatballs that outclass IKEA and a big ol' Bishop Burger stuffed inside a pretzel bun and topped with tomato, provolone, Loon Onion Jam, mayo and crispy Old Dutch Chips.
If you're looking for local beers, The Brew Hall is a full service pub with 96 beers on tap and a door that opens towards the field for an open-air environment. There are plenty of televisions to catch other soccer matches or challenge your friends to a foosball game on tables that are modeled after the stadium. Check out a complete rundown of current F&B offerings here.
With the stadium so close to the light rail, it is very easy to grab a bite or a beer before a match. Surly Brewing is just steps away from the light rail and is a popular destination for fans and supporter groups. According to The Blackhart, an LGBTQ+ soccer bar, they are just a thousand yards from Allianz Field. This popular spot serves up classic bar food like Heggies pizza, chicken drummies, jalapeno poppers and more. The Midway neighborhood is very diverse and offers a wide variety of cuisine. Visit The Naughty Greek, Master Noodle for hand pulled Chinese noodles or Fasika for Ethiopian dishes.
One of Minnesota’s newest sports stadium (for now, anyway), CHS Field is home to the St. Paul Saints and is located in the buzzing Lowertown neighborhood. The stadium has hosted concerts and popular events like the Beer Dabbler, National Senior Games and the Twin Cities Jazz Festival. The stadium is near the bustling St. Paul Farmers Market and Lowertown Dog Park, and displays public art both inside and out.
Cool down with a malt or shake from Snuffy’s Malt Shop. Adults will enjoy sipping on a “grown-up” shake made with vanilla ice cream, strawberry sauce and Summit Brewing’s summer ale. Satisfy your State Fair cravings with a Pickle Pups Pickle Dog, a tasty combination of a crisp dill pickle surrounded by cream cheese and wrapped in an egg roll wrapper. Get a taste of the Minnesota craft beer scene by visiting the Craft Beer Corner to sample brews from 16 local breweries. A complete food vendor map can be found here.
CHS Field is surrounded by great options to grab a bite before or after a game. Just steps away from the stadium you will find Big River Pizza. Indulge and enjoy one of the most popular burgers in the area (and fries with fermented ketchup!) at Saint Dinette or a souped-up, Japanese-style hot dog at Kyatchi. Just a short walk away in Mears Park, you will find a variety of food trucks, The Bulldog Lowertown, Public Kitchen + Bar and Barrio. If you're looking for a local beer, visit Barrel Theory Beer Company or the newly opened MetroNome, a "socially missioned brewery" that benefits music education groups within the metro area.
Located in downtown Minneapolis, Target Center is home to the city's two pro basketball teams, the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Minnesota Lynx. The Target Center is also a popular Twin Cities concert venue that's hosted everyone from Elton John to Cardi B.
Local restauranteur David Fhima helped reboot Target Center's entire concessions program in 2017 and has stayed on as its executive chef ever since. Fhima's own food offerings include pot roast sliders, a signature grilled cheese sandwich, and chicken & waffles. Not to mention a special Test Kitchen stand that features limited items voted on by fans. Other Target Center items worth tracking down are a fried walleye sandwich from Fletcher's, Parlour's iconic burger and a Crystal Farms mac and cheese crowned with smoked brisket and BBQ sauce. Maps of the stadium's two main levels can be found here.
In the heart of downtown Minneapolis’ Warehouse District, you will find numerous bars and restaurants to please any palate. Enjoy a Big Ginger cocktail on the patio at Kieran's Irish Pub, elevated Italian eats at Bar la Grassa or Minnesota-caught walleye at FireLake Grill House. Satisfy your pizza craving at local favorite Pizza Luce (fans with dietary restrictions will enjoy the gluten free or vegan pies).
Just a short walk from Target Center you will find Target Field, home to the Minnesota Twins. The outdoor ballpark in downtown Minneapolis is widely considered one of the best stadiums in Major League Baseball. The 40,000-seat, open-air stadium with a natural grass playing field features unbeatable views of the Minneapolis skyline, locally inspired food and drink, and loads of fun for the whole family.
The stadium is known for its grub and has had partnerships with the Food Network and local chef/TV personality Andrew Zimmern. They also created a viral online sensation when they released a Bloody Mary garnished with a slice of pizza for the 2015 season.
Fill up with Red Cow’s 60/40 sliders (made of 60% Certified Angus Beef and 40% ground bacon), or get a taste of the Minnesota State Fair with Turkey to Go sandwiches, cheese curds, or corn dogs. Sip a refreshing Killebrew root beer, named for the legendary Twins player and Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew. Other fan favorites include Kramarczuk's sausages, quarter-pound hot dogs, and nachos or ice cream served in a souvenir helmet.
The 2022 season has quite a few new items on deck, too, starting with a signature pilsner from Summit Brewing and fully loaded Bloody Marys featuring a big ol' slice of Cloverdale bacon. Bub's chicken and wild rice hand pie brings a Minnesotan bent to a beloved Australian snack; Upcycle Foods is finding a second life for spent grain with its well-stacked gourmet sandwiches; Soul Bowl's Summer Bowl combines braised beef with Cajun corn and mac and cheese; and Roots For the Home Team highlights five rotating salads that were developed alongside local chefs like recent James Beard nominee Yia Vang.
A short walk from Target Field, you can get a taste of the local brewing scene at Fulton Brewing Company. Sip and sample a variety of brews on their large patio, enjoy live music or grab a bite from one of their rotating food trucks that park outside the brewery. Before the game, snap a photo in the giant baseball mitt for an #OnlyinMN photo opportunity.
Modist Brewing Co., Number 12 Cider and First Draft Taproom are also in the area, giving discerning craft drinkers ample options for a round before and after the game.
Huntington Bank Stadium
In the fall, the excitement of college football is palpable on the Minneapolis campus of the University of Minnesota at Huntington Bank Stadium. Hungry fans can warm up with a cup of Minnesota wild rice soup or chili. Indulge with a cheeseburger topped with cheese curds or a foot long hot dog topped with macaroni and cheese. Before the game, attend the fan pep fest to find local food trucks or grab an order of State Fair-style cheese curds.
Last year's new concession item list was quite lengthy, too, ranging from a short rib grilled cheese to a gourmet elote hot dog.
Stroll through Dinkytown on game day and surround yourself with excited Gopher fans. Visit campus landmark Stub & Herbs, which has been open since 1939. Grab a group of friends and enjoy Tater Tot nachos, fried pickles, or order the fish and chips made with Schell’s beer.
U.S. Bank Stadium
The Minnesota Vikings have a new place to call home in downtown Minneapolis located on the site of the demolished Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome. In addition to the Vikings, the stadium has hosted a variety of sporting events and concerts, including the X-Games and Super Bowl LII.
Fuel up for the game with a taste of Minnesota with a variety of dining options, many of which were part of a "fully reimagined food and beverage program" in 2021. Feast on fried chicken from Revival, piping hot pies from Pothole Pizza, and if you're looking for something sweet, try a half-pound cookie from T.Rex or specialty brownies from Hockey Mom.
Cross another Minnesota brewery off your list by visiting Day Block Brewing Company. Start your meal by ordering a bacon or pickle flight to share. Fuel up for the game with a jerk chicken sandwich or a specialty pizza like the Carolina BBQ pizza topped with chicken, bacon, coleslaw, and a house-made Carolina style barbecue sauce. Pog Mahone's Pub & Grill is another popular game day haunt just a few blocks from the stadium.
Xcel Energy Center
Professional hockey came back to Minnesota in 2000 with the arrival of the Minnesota Wild at the Xcel Energy Center. On game day, downtown St. Paul is buzzing with hockey fans representing the “State of Hockey.”
Club Level tickets are not required for the VIP experience at new Xcel Energy restaurant Flynt & Kyndle, which specializes in shareable plates like a whole honey-brined rotisserie chicken, garlic smashed potatoes and a house salad of grilled corn, roasted dates, toasted pine nuts, Campari tomatoes and champagne vinaigrette. Looking for something a little more laid-back? Stop by the Bud Light Fan Zone for happy hour specials on drinks and food before the game, or walk through the concourse to find options like Red Baron pizzas, Sheboygan brats, hot dogs, walleye fingers, chicken strips, cheese curds and sinful scoops of J&R's cookie dough.
Walk down West 7th Street to Tom Reid’s Hockey City Pub, owned by the former Minnesota North Stars hockey player. The restaurant is decked out with hockey memorabilia and has multiple televisions to catch pregame coverage. One of the newest additions to downtown St. Paul is Herbie's on the Park. The restaurant is named after Minnesota hockey legend Herb Brooks and is located just minutes from the Xcel Energy Center. The restaurant serves up tavern fare, handcrafted cocktails and local beers.
If you’re in the mood for something different, visit Sakura to find sushi rolls named after current and former Minnesota Wild players. Grab a table at Patrick McGovern’s Pub to find dishes made with their famous roasted turkey. Another popular spot is Cossetta's which has been serving up delicious Italian pizzas, pastas and sandwiches since 1911. To enhance your Minnesota hockey experience, visit Mickey's Diner, a familiar on-screen favorite from The Mighty Ducks.
Caitlin Hannah is Explore Minnesota's social media strategist and resident Disney expert. She grew up spending summer weekends at her family's lake cabin in Detroit Lakes, and brings that "up north" attitude to everything she does. When traveling around the state, she likes trying new restaurants and taprooms, or watching Minnesota hockey.
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