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Six Killer Non-Fried Foods to Try at the Minnesota State Fair

Yes, Virginia, there is a delicious alternative to a Pronto Pup.

Not all that's awesome is fried.
Not all that's awesome is fried.
Photo courtesy Crystal Grobe

Let’s face it: we go to the MN State Fair to indulge in the kind of utter gluttony that we don't allow ourselves any other time of the year. Battered, deep-fried, and gutted with a wooden stick is the name of the game, but if you plan on spending more than a couple of hours at the Great Minnesota Get-Together, you might want to pepper your cheese curd-funnel cake-deep fried Twinkie diet with a few less caustic choices. Your gut, and your waistline, will thank you.


Midtown Produce Exchange

The size of a toddler’s noggin, Sweet Dream peaches are legendary at Midtown Global Market Produce Exchange. Purveyor Ed Rabideaux imports them specifically for the fair and they are worth every penny of the $3 price tag. The Produce Exchange Fields of Joy are at the West End Market.

Image credit: Photo courtesy Midtown Produce Exchange


The Salty Tart

For a touch of civility in the middle of the gastronomical chaos that is the state fair, treat yourself to a delicate coconut macaroon at Salty Tart’s adorable cart. As the Tart's goody bags suggest, "Treat yo self." Find them at the West End Market.

Image credit: Photo courtesy The Salty Tart Facebook Page


Giggles Campfire Grill

Giggles has built a reputation on its generous walleye cakes, but for a healthier option, try their Northwoods Salad On-a-Stick. A plate of fresh mozzarella, plump grape tomatoes drizzled are served over a wild rice, cranberry and citrus salad that is then finished with balsamic vinegar. Find them at the southeast corner of Lee and Cooper at The North Woods.

Image credit: Photo courtesy Giggles Campfire Grill Facebook Page


San Felipe Tacos

San Felipe has long been loved for their fried fish tacos, and now they have teamed up with Panther Distillery out of Osakis, Minnesota for the North Woods BBQ taco. Pulled pork is smothered in Panther bourbon syrup and topped with house made coleslaw, all tucked into a corn based pancake and wrapped in a warm flour tortilla.

Image credit: Photo courtesy San Felipe Tacos Facebook Page


Lingonberry Ice Cream

There are bound to be a couple of sweaty days during the 12-day run of the fair, and there is a refreshing lingonberry float waiting for you just outside the Horticulture Building. Vanilla ice cream is topped with tart lingonberry sauce and splashed with seltzer. When they ask if you’d like some whipped cream, the answer is always "um, duh!" Get a cup at the corner of Underwood and Carnes.

Image credit: Photo courtesy Flickr


Farmers Union Coffee Shop

There is no better way to start a day at the fair than with a Mocha Frappé at the Farmer’s Union building, run by the folks from J&S Bean Factory in St. Paul. The creamy, icy beverage is not overly sweet, with just enough java essence to jump start a great day of fried goodness. Get one on the North side of Dan Patch between Cooper and Cosgrove.

Image credit: Photo by Allie Bornstein Photography