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The Blue Barns new bacon and cheese stuffed tots with bacon infused cream
Rebecca Slater/Eater Twin Cities

Where to Track Down the Fair’s Best New Foods and Drinks

Where to find Raspberry Champow and Superman ice cream

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The Blue Barns new bacon and cheese stuffed tots with bacon infused cream
| Rebecca Slater/Eater Twin Cities

The Minnesota State Fair is off and running on a record breaking year, smashing the first day attendance record. Hungry fans have laced up their shoes and pulled on comfy pants to try all the classics and get a taste of the brand new fair foods. The only challenge is tracking down those worthy new bites in the midst of the crowds. Here’s a collection of the best eats and novelty beers, as anointed by local critics and where to find them.

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Nordic Waffles

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Sweet or savory breakfast on a stick: waffles are wrapped around stuffings, skewered and served inside a handy wrapper for carting around the fair.

Breakfast on a stick
Nordic Waffles/Facebook

The Blue Barn

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The giant Blue Barn is ground zero for new food winners, like last year’s French Toast bites and this year’s Swedish meatball smorgas, bacon and cheese stuffed tots and the frole - a malt liquor spiked frozen lemonade. It’s the next step beyond frozé.

Grown up frozen lemonade, the bacon tots and Swedish meatball sandwich are all by the Park n Ride Entrance
Joy Summers/Eater Twin Cities

Grandstand

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Upstairs in the Grandstand, on the east side, near the elevator is the Rainbow Ice Cream that’s peddling the Cloud Roll. Cotton Candy is wrapped around Superman ice cream that’s sprinkled with Fruity Pebbles.

The must-capture dish of the fair is a fluffy, silly, edible rainbow
Rebecca Slater/Eater Twin Cities

Produce Exchange

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This new, expanded spot to get those giant peaches has also added the option of grilled peaches. A standout dish according to all the critics, the lines have been plentiful. Get one split grilled peach with either sweet or savory toppings like herbed goat cheese or Momofuku Milk Bar style crumbles.

A bright white stand with orange, white, and red picket fence surrounding it. A deck area is flanked by giant umbrellas
A fresh break from all the deep fried stuff
Joy Summers/Eater Twin Cities

Ball Park Cafe

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Year after year: this is the place for beer lovers to stop and catch some refreshment. This year Ball Park is serving Bent Paddle’s Passionfruit Pils, Bent Brewstillery’s Raspberry Champow, Bauhaus The Sandlot Pink Lemonade Shandy, and Surly The Kloser IPA, all picked by The Growler as some of the best new beers at the fair.

Make a plan to swing by Ball Park Cafe for some beer
Yelp

The Hangar

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The new building that replaced the pet pavilion is peddling the superlative pork belly wrapped in bacon on a stick that’s been a runaway hit. There’s also Mankato Brewing Cake’d Up Celebration Beer that is shockingly not awful.

“My life begins now.”
Alex White/Facebook

Farmers Union Coffee Shop

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The revamped Farmer’s Union thankfully has some fantastically quick lines this year along with a BLT that had the critic’s swooning and that maple nitro coffee drink that was new and perpetually sold out last year.

Baker’s Field bread, heirloom tomatoes, bacon and fast-moving lines
Birchwood Cafe/Facebook

O'Gara's at the Fair

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The fair outpost of the popular Saint Paul bar is slinging some Rueben stuffed tots or “Irish tater kegs” that were the Pioneer Press food critic’s favorite dish and Lakes & Legends St. Apple Malted Ale, another favorite from The Growler’s beer experts. One more new beer for consideration here is the Castle Danger Orange Cream Malt Ale.

Always busy, O’Gara’s is a choice stop for beer, snacks and the misters
O’Gara’s/Web

Nordic Waffles

Sweet or savory breakfast on a stick: waffles are wrapped around stuffings, skewered and served inside a handy wrapper for carting around the fair.

Breakfast on a stick
Nordic Waffles/Facebook

The Blue Barn

The giant Blue Barn is ground zero for new food winners, like last year’s French Toast bites and this year’s Swedish meatball smorgas, bacon and cheese stuffed tots and the frole - a malt liquor spiked frozen lemonade. It’s the next step beyond frozé.

Grown up frozen lemonade, the bacon tots and Swedish meatball sandwich are all by the Park n Ride Entrance
Joy Summers/Eater Twin Cities

Grandstand

Upstairs in the Grandstand, on the east side, near the elevator is the Rainbow Ice Cream that’s peddling the Cloud Roll. Cotton Candy is wrapped around Superman ice cream that’s sprinkled with Fruity Pebbles.

The must-capture dish of the fair is a fluffy, silly, edible rainbow
Rebecca Slater/Eater Twin Cities

Produce Exchange

This new, expanded spot to get those giant peaches has also added the option of grilled peaches. A standout dish according to all the critics, the lines have been plentiful. Get one split grilled peach with either sweet or savory toppings like herbed goat cheese or Momofuku Milk Bar style crumbles.

A bright white stand with orange, white, and red picket fence surrounding it. A deck area is flanked by giant umbrellas
A fresh break from all the deep fried stuff
Joy Summers/Eater Twin Cities

Ball Park Cafe

Year after year: this is the place for beer lovers to stop and catch some refreshment. This year Ball Park is serving Bent Paddle’s Passionfruit Pils, Bent Brewstillery’s Raspberry Champow, Bauhaus The Sandlot Pink Lemonade Shandy, and Surly The Kloser IPA, all picked by The Growler as some of the best new beers at the fair.

Make a plan to swing by Ball Park Cafe for some beer
Yelp

The Hangar

The new building that replaced the pet pavilion is peddling the superlative pork belly wrapped in bacon on a stick that’s been a runaway hit. There’s also Mankato Brewing Cake’d Up Celebration Beer that is shockingly not awful.

“My life begins now.”
Alex White/Facebook

Farmers Union Coffee Shop

The revamped Farmer’s Union thankfully has some fantastically quick lines this year along with a BLT that had the critic’s swooning and that maple nitro coffee drink that was new and perpetually sold out last year.

Baker’s Field bread, heirloom tomatoes, bacon and fast-moving lines
Birchwood Cafe/Facebook

O'Gara's at the Fair

The fair outpost of the popular Saint Paul bar is slinging some Rueben stuffed tots or “Irish tater kegs” that were the Pioneer Press food critic’s favorite dish and Lakes & Legends St. Apple Malted Ale, another favorite from The Growler’s beer experts. One more new beer for consideration here is the Castle Danger Orange Cream Malt Ale.

Always busy, O’Gara’s is a choice stop for beer, snacks and the misters
O’Gara’s/Web

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