When a billion-dollar stadium is built, expectations are high. For some fans, that means winning the Super Bowl; for others it just means noshing on a world-class bratwurst, steak sandwich, or bucket of cheese curds to get through the three-and-outs. While U.S. Bank Stadium won’t officially open doors until August, when it will host concerts and soccer matches in a warm up for the 2016 Vikings season, the stadium gave a sneak preview of menu items from over twenty local vendors.
Such an event is celebratory—after two and a half years of construction, the time to indulge in the luxuries of the stadium has come. The food lineup at the new stadium is a promising mix of old veterans like Murray’s Steakhouse and Kramarczuck’s, stars like AZ Canteen and Revival, and up-and-comers including Prairie Dogs and T-Rex Cookie Company. There’s a mix from salads to red meats, sandwiches, nuts, popcorn, and artisan chocolate. A surprise is the Twin Cities Foodie station, an area that will feature local dishes from smaller eateries like Smalley’s Caribbean Barbecue, Icehouse MPLS, and Rainbow Chinese.
And, of course, a full Miller-Coors beer selection along with craft options from Summit, Surly, Lake Monster, Lift Bridge, Fulton, Finnegans, and a rotation of Northeast Minneapolis breweries (including Insight Brewing, 56 Brewing, Sociable Cider Werks, Bauhaus Brew Labs, NorthGate Brewing, and Fair State). Tattersall Distilling will pour spirits, including pre-mixed cocktails.
The theme, said Allison Butler of Aramark, was “local, authentic, and genuine,” and there was an added emphasis to feature women and minority-owned businesses. This carries into the wide food options.
Smalley’s Jerk Bacon Sammie, Revival’s Petit Fried Chicken, and AZ Canteen’s Italian porchetta sandwich led the meat options while finger food from R Taco and Lola Café were also rich, hearty, and messy. Curds & Cake is starting with a Blue Moon cheese curd batter atop Ellsworth cheese, and suggests that more beer batter varieties are in development. As for desserts, the chocolate almond crusted sea salt caramel tart from Just Truffles melts on the tongue, and T. Rex’s cookies will make any kid’s day.
The various partners in the new stadium all took a moment to discuss the local culinary scene.
“Target Field started the tradition,” Michele Kelm-Helgen of Minnesota Sports Facility Authority said during an introduction to the menu. It sparked an interest in involving local partners and small to mid-size vendors that were traditionally overlooked in event spaces. As the Twin Cities food scene continues to boom, the MLB and NFL stadiums bookending downtown are in the perfect position to showcase new flavors from around town.
The complete vendor list can be found below the photo gallery.
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Photos by Kevin Kramer, The Growler
General Concessions (Local)
- AZ Canteen – Hoagies and rotisserie meats
- Be Graceful Bakery & Catering (Edina) – Sandwiches
- Cinne Smiths (McGregor) – Mini-cinnamon rolls
- Curds & Cakes (Foreston) – Blue Moon battered bacon cheese curds
- Ike’s Food & Cocktails – Sandwiches and bloody marys
- Kramarczuck’s Sausage Company (Minneapolis) – Traditional sausages
- Lola’s Café (Minneapolis) – Wings
- Prairie Dogs (Minneapolis) – Handcrafted sausages and hot dogs from locally-raised meats
- R Taco (Minneapolis) – Street tacos
- Revival Restaurant – Southern-influenced sandwiches and spiced pork rinds
- State Fair Classics – Selection of popular State Fair foods curated by Andrew Zimmern
- Twin Cities Foodie – A station featuring signature menu items from area chefs and restaurants including Icehouse MPLS, Smalley’s Caribbean Barbecue, and Rainbow Restaurant. A share of Twin Cities Foodie proceeds will benefit Share Our Strength (Minneapolis chapter)
- A Peace of Cake (St. Paul) – Nuts, popcorn, and snacks
- Alimama Catering (St. Paul) – Mediterranean and North African cuisine
- Chappy Street Eats (White Bear Lake) – Gluten-free options
- Chocolat Céleste (St. Paul) – Artisan chocolates
- Gramsky’s Sandwiches (Brooklyn Park) – Midwestern-style sandwiches
- Just Truffles (St. Paul) – Artisan chocolates from Grand Avenue
- Murray’s Steakhouse (Minneapolis) – Rib sandwiches
- Thomasina’s Cashew Brittle (Minneapolis) – Gluten-free brittle
- T-Rex Cooke Company (Minneapolis) – Half-pound cookies
General Concessions (Aramark)
- 612 Burger Kitchen – Black Angus burgers
- Bud’s BBQ – Barbecue classics
- Wild Rice Market – Health-conscious options including salads and gluten-free dishes
- North Star Grill – Garden burgers
- The Kernel – Gourmet popcorn
- The Loop – Soft pretzels
- Mill City Classics – Hot dogs, brats, and nachos
- Stone Arch Pizza Co. – Pizza