Not everyone attending the Great Minnesota Get-Together is interested in feasting on a giant bacon-wrapped turkey leg, endless gallons of milk or deep fried dough. The state fair began as a homage to agriculture, after all, not to fried Spam on a stick. For those with specific food needs and preferences, like vegan, vegetarian or gluten-free diets, there are many perfectly legit options that don’t relegate you to a bowl of plain veggies.
Twin Cities ROCK, an organization for families dealing with celiac, partners with Celiac Center of Minnesota to publish a State Fair gluten-free guide. The ever-growing list is available at the Health Fair 11 exhibit, the State Fair Information Booths, and on the organization's website. See their complete list here.
Two Rivers Kettle Corn at the West End Market offers the quintessential gluten-free treat: popcorn. They offer several options like kettle corn, cheddar cheese and jalapeno cheddar.
O’Gara’s at the Fair’s gluten-free menu is surprisingly diverse. Try the corned beef and cabbage, a chicken Caesar salad or a strawberry salad. In the beverages side of things, O’Gara’s will offer gluten-free Pyro Pale Ale and Loon Juice Hard Cider.
The Ball Park Cafe is a favorite of visitors looking to linger over a plate of garlic fries and beers. Lots and lots of beers. Lucky for gluten-free loungers, those fries are a-ok, and so is the Sweetland Hard Cider.
New food vendor Tot Boss fries Ore Ida tater tots in dedicated fryers to avoid any cross contaminations. Items like tater tot nachos, bacon wrapped tots, and loaded tots are free of wheat, barley and rye, and so are several of the accompanying sauces.
Patinella's Chicken Grill, tucked under the walkway to the Grandstand, boasts an impressive list of GF items. While the yellow rice in the chicken and rice bowls does contain gluten and corn cereal solids, it can easily be substituted with garlic rice.
Vegetarian (V) or vegan (VG)
San Felipe serves amazing fish tacos, but their vegetarian tacos are nothing to sneeze at either. Bonus: San Felipe sells ice cold Jarritos too. (V)
Everyone loves the roasted sweet corn at the fair, and vegans can easily hold the butter and still enjoy that sweet tenderness that so perfectly symbolizes of the waning days of summer. (VG)
Holy Land’s vegetarian menu can be transformed into vegan haven by just omitting the tzatziki. Their substantial veg and vegan line up includes falafel, tabbouli, hummus, grape leaves and veggie samosas. (VG)
Island Noodles’ intoxicating aroma drifts through the aisles of the International Bazaar, beckoning visitors to the vibrant stand. The signature is a heap of Hawaiian buckwheat Yaki-Soba noodles, stir fried and loaded with fresh veggies and a ginger garlic sauce. The dish is a delicious option for just about every visitor since it is nut-free and vegan. (VG)
Creamy beverages are often off limits for vegans, but Manny's Tortas' non-alcoholic pina colada, served in a hollowed out pineapple, is a frothy, decadent concoction of fresh pineapple, pineapple juice, coconut milk and ice. Side Note: In honor of "Unite in Purple Day" on Friday, August 26, Manny's will be offering purple pina coladas in honor of Prince. (VG)