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 some of the best places to eat and drink before, during or after the big game.
When the dining options at a stadium are curated by former "Top Chef" contestant, Justin Sutherland, you know it's going to be good. Local and diverse food options are the name of the game for fans at Allianz Field. Fans can enjoy chicken tikka masala rice bowls from Hot Indian Foods, gourmet nachos from Los Ocampo, vegetable sambusas from Afro Deli, elotes in a bowl or Carolina BBQ sandwiches from Handsome Hog. If you're looking for local beers, The Brew Hall is a full service pub with 96 beers on tap and has 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 game of foosball on their foosball tables that are modeled after the stadium.
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. They even offer a "railgating" package that includes a light rail pass and a pint of beer. 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, Magic 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, 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.
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 at Saint Dinette. Just a short walk away in Mears Park, you will find a variety of food trucks, The Bulldog Lowertown, Public Kitchen + Bar and Handsome Hog. If you're looking for a local beer, visit Barrel Theory Beer Company, Birch's Lowertown or Tin Whiskers Brewery.
Enjoy dishes you can find only in Minnesota like Man Cave Sliders, Butcher and the Boar brats, or a Lefse Cod Wrap with battered cod, mango salsa and lettuce wrapped up in Minnesota-made lefse.
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, spice it up with the buffalo chicken wontons at Bar 508 or savor 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 Food Network, Andrew Zimmern, and 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 burger (made of 60% Certified Angus Beef and 40% ground bacon), or get a taste of the Minnesota State Fair with Turkey to Go sandwiches, fried pickles, cheese curds, mini donuts or a pork chop on-a-stick.
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, Izzy’s Ice Cream and the addictive Angie’s Kettle Corn popcorn hailing from Mankato.
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. Relive the days of the Metrodome and dine at Hubert’s just steps from Target Plaza. Before the game, snap a photo in the giant baseball mitt for an #OnlyinMN photo opportunity.
TCF Bank Stadium
In the fall, the excitement of college football is palpable on the Minneapolis campus of the University of Minnesota at TCF 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.
Stroll through Dinkytown on game day and surround yourself with excited Gopher fans. Visit Bar Luchador, which serves up street tacos, nachos, chimichangas and more. Sip their housemade sodas, margaritas or sangria. Be sure to order a side of salsa or guacamole to dip your homemade tortilla chips in.
Next door, you will find the 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 hosts 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 at U.S. Bank Stadium. You can feast on dishes like sausages from northeast Minneapolis' Kramarczuk’s, fried chicken from Revival, cheeseburgers from Ikes and more. If you're looking for something sweet, try a half-pound cookie from T.Rex Cookie.
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 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.”
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 Freschetta pizzas, hot dogs, walleye fingers, chicken strips, cheese curds and more. Enjoy your game day brat at Sheboygan Sausage Company's Sausage Haus or try a an Asian rice bowl at Pagoda. Save room for a package of mini donuts: Trust us, you won’t be able to resist these sugary treats.
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 which appears in "The Mighty Ducks" movies.
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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