By now we’ve all had our hearts broken a little by the news of the Minnesota State Fair’s prudent cancelation for 2020, and are counting down the days to August 26, 2021. Many hot dog, lemonade, BBQ and other fair-like stands have popped up to fill the Pronto Pup shaped hole left in our hearts and stomachs. Below are a few Minnesota State Fair Official Vendors available around the metro and beyond, in case that hankering for all-things-fried cannot wait until next summer.
A beloved Minneapolis restaurant for years, Que Viet is as popular at the fair, with long lines forming early for the Vietnamese iced coffee and giant egg rolls on a stick. The egg rolls at the Johnson Avenue restaurant are a bit more manageable, and equally crave-worthy.
Although Hot Indian is only at the International Bazaar for half of the fair’s twelve day run, their crunchy samosas can be found year-round at the Midtown Global Market location.
Blue Barn, run by Blue Plate Restaurant Company, has been a crowd favorite since its opening at the newly minted West End at the fair ground. On July 3, 4, and 5, all Blue Plate restaurants will be offering fair faves like the kicky Nashville Hot Chicken on a Stick and pop rocks French toast.
Starting in August, the team will launch Little Blue Truck, which will travel around the Twin Cities serving those same fair delights on the go. Find the truck’s latest stop at @ @littlebluefoodtruck.
The health-conscious restaurant’s inaugural stint at the fair last year was a big success, with their Sota sandwich quickly becoming a favorite of fair goers looking for something less fried and less on a stick. The warm, gooey sandwich is made with gluten free heritage bread brushed with cinnamon coconut oil and slathered with fresh ground almond peanut butter and Minnesota blueberry marmalade, then toasted in a panini press in an open kitchen behind the tent (usually by chef owner Katie Sidoti’s chatty dad, Mark.) In August, the sandwich will be available in the south Minneapolis restaurant, along with the State Fair mint lemonade and blueberry lemonade.
Farmers Union Coffee Shop
The Farmers Union’s Coffee Shop procures treats from local establishments. Baked goods come from Birchwood Café, coffee from Bean Factory in Saint Paul and those creamy Mocha on a Sticks come from Grand Ole Creamery. While some of items are fair exclusive and may not be available at the shops, all are definitely worth a visit.
The mini-donut latte that spawned massive lines across from the Horticulture building is now available at the Anchor House’s bricks and mortar in White Bear Lake. No lines, just a nifty take out window and tons of outdoor seating in adorable Washington Square.
While the team is working out details on bringing the massively popular Mini Donut beer to the thirsty masses, the Mini Donut Soda is delightful and available across the metro.
Cheese on a Stick and Fresh Lemonade Stand
Nothing says fair food like fried food on a stick and freshly squeezed lemonade. Now every day can be fair day with corn dogs, cheese on a stick, deep fried pickles and lemonade at the Giant Slide booth which has set up shop in front of the Roseville VFW Post 7555. Open daily from 11 .m. to 7 p.m. Part of the proceeds will be donated to the VFW.
The same flavor-filled roti from the Food Building are available at the Whittier neighborhood restaurant, along with other Creole and Jamaican staples like stews, jerk and curry dishes.
When food on a stick loses its appeal, many head to the Food Building at the fair for a more substantial snack, like a delightful sandwich from the equally delightful Chef Manny. Those same toasty tortas found at the Food Building can also be found at Manny’s place at the Midtown Global Market. The restaurant has been hit exceptionally hard by 2020. Both the Midtown Global Market location and the other in Mercado Central were closed by the Minneapolis riots. The former location is again opening and serving tortas for takeout.
The Donut Family
Known for over-the-top mini donut “sundaes”, The Donut Family is serving Original Mini Donuts, cheese curds, cotton candy and more North Saint Paul and Eden Prairie Wednesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Find them at 2275 McKnight Road North in North Saint Paul outside Wild Prairie Harley Davidson in Eden Prairie next to the Menards.