Restaurant recommendations from MnMo food critics Jason DeRusha and Joy Summers.
I genuinely love the Minnesota State Fair, and I won’t apologize for it! Obviously my favorite spot is the WCCO-TV booth, which is right by Big Fat Bacon and a Pronto Pup stand. For food? Picking just two favorites is nearly impossible.
Fresh French Fries: There’s serious technique behind these gems: freshly harvested Minnesota potatoes, plus frying oil at three different temperatures so you cook the creamy potato first, then add layers of crispiness to the outside. Pass the malt vinegar and get me a bucket or three.
Frozen Cider Pop: Inside the horticulture building you’ll find the biggest bargain at the fair: the apple cider pop. Pine Tree Apple Orchard in White Bear Lake creates tens of thousands of these perfectly sweet/tart freeze-pops.
Minnesota State Fair Midway
Photo by Todd Buchanan
It wasn’t until I visited the Minnesota State Fair early in the morning on opening day before I truly appreciated how magical the Great Minnesota Get Together can be. The crowds are lighter on weekdays and the lines for my favorite dishes are shorter.
Blue Barn Chicken in a Waffle Cone: This should not be that good. It’s not served on a stick, and there is a malted milk ball in the bottom that’s covered with creamy gravy and doesn’t make any sense, but go with it! Just a couple of years after debuting, a sweet waffle cone packed with spicy, crispy chicken nuggets doused in sausage gravy is handily my new favorite stop. And it’s right by the midway!
Salem Lutheran Church Egg Coffee: Just look for the big, blue percolating coffee pot and do not worry about scrambled eggs in your cup! The lovely Lutherans mix an egg into the coffee grounds, just like my grandma taught me to do. The result is a simple cup of perfect coffee conveniently located near the apple dumpling booth.