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Where to Seek Consolation in the Year With No Minnesota State Fair

There will still be giant egg rolls, ice cream, pineapple pina coladas, and more

The Blue Barn at the Minnesota State Fair
Find the Blue Barn on wheels for some State Fair comfort
Blue Barn /Facebook

It won’t be the same. There will be no long lines, no toddlers on leashes, no heat waves or sudden downpours. But for a taste of the Great Minnesota Get Together, check out these local restaurants and their festive nod to the best 12 days of summer.

Birchwood Café / Farmer’s Union

Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) and Birchwood Cafe have teamed up to bring fan favorites like the Minnesota-grown heirloom tomato sweet corn BLT, mini blueberry Key lime pie, and maple cream nitro cold press to Birchwood and a new pop-up in the former Spoonriver space, called F + B. The pop-up will be open Thursday through Sunday for now, with plans for a more permanent establishment in the works. Each location will have different items, so check out the website for more information.

Sweet Science Ice Cream

Starting on what would have been the first day of the 2020 Minnesota State Fair (I’m not crying, you’re crying!), Sweet Science will carry fair-themed flavors like Animal Circus, caramel corn, peanut butter pretzel and a tipsy cherry pie as a tribute to Sara’s Tipsy Pies. Tipsy cherry pie flavor will also be available at Sara’s Tipsy Pies in Stillwater. Available in pints and cones at the Keg and Case location.

Que Viet

Que Viet’s giant egg rolls on a stick are the stuff of state fair legends. From August 27 through September 7, ask the cashier for your egg rolls to be served on a stick, and for just 50 cents extra per order (two per order), experience a moment of State Fair bliss. Find them at the North East Minneapolis location only.

Stewart’s

The St. Paul eatery will feature an ode to the fair August 26 through the 29, with menu items like jalapeno cheddar corn dogs, Fulton Standard cheese curds, honey mustard turkey legs, and even warm chocolate chip cookies with milk.

Midtown Global Market

The market’s Great Global Get-Together, running August 27 through September 6, will feature a dozen restaurants including iconic fair vendors Manny’s Tortas and the Produce Exchange. There will be activities like giveaways and caricature artists, so almost like the fair, minus the entry fee.

Café Alma

From August 26 to the 30, the Great Alma Get Together state fair inspired menu will include spiced doughnut holes, old-fashioned kettle corn, candied thick cut pork belly on a stick, corn dogs the way only Alma can do it, and roasted Minnesota grown sweet corn eloté style. Nothing on this tribute menu is priced over $8.

Fairground Coffee & Tea

With a name like that, they had to do something. The Chicago chain’s Minneapolis location features a From the Fair section on its menu, with a giant pretzel with nitro cold brew cheese dip, funnel cake fries with raspberry sauce, and mini corn dogs with barbecue sauce. Side note: The butterfly pea flower Arnie Palmer is not an official fair food, but it should be.

Blue Barn’s French Toast
The Blue Barn has taken the show on the road with fair food around the Twin Cities
The Blue Barn / Facebook

Blue Barn Pop-Up

Following the massive success of the first pop-up back in July, the Blue Barn menu returns to all Blue Plate restaurants August 31 through September 7. This time, the limited fair menu will also include what would have been the 2020 Minnesota State Fair collaboration beer with Pryes Brewing. The blueberry pale ale, named Pryes Winning Cobbler, is available at Blue Plate Restaurants, Pryes Tap Room, and in select retail locations.

Brim is bringing back the nut butter and blueberry sandwich
Joy Summers

Brim

Brim’s Sota sandwich was a huge success as a healthy option at the fair last year. Made with gluten-free heritage flour, fresh ground almond butter, and Minnesota blueberry marmalade, the Sota sandwich will be available starting August 27 at Brim Restaurant by lake Bde Maka Ska.

Potluck

From August 27 and September 7, the Rosedale food hall will hold its own celebration – dubbed Minnesota Fare with all Potluck vendors featuring fair-themed items. On Labor Day, customers will receive a Minnesota “fare” drawstring bag. What’s more fair than than free swag?

Travail Kitchen and Amusements

4134 Hubbard Avenue North, , MN 55422 (763) 535-1131 Visit Website

Stewart's

128 Cleveland Avenue North, , MN 55104 (651) 645-4128 Visit Website

Birchwood Cafe

120 North Main Street, , WI 54817 (715) 354-3000 Visit Website

Brim

2919 Knox Avenue South, , MN 55408 (612) 261-0506 Visit Website

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