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.Read More
Where to Track Down the Fair’s Best New Foods and Drinks
Where to find Raspberry Champow and Superman ice cream
Sweet or savory breakfast on a stick: waffles are wrapped around stuffings, skewered and served inside a handy wrapper for carting around the fair.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.