Sue Z.’s Picks: State Fair Food Finds

These Twin Cities restaurants offer nostalgic State Fair bites (including Sweet Science Ice Cream, Manny’s Tortas, and the Produce Exchange)
Try one of the deliciously sweet piña coladas at Manny's Tortas, located in the Food Building
Try one of the deliciously sweet piña coladas at Manny’s Tortas, located at the Midtown Global Market

Photo by Darin Kamnetz

Those who were fortunate enough to get a ticket for the drive-through State Fair Food Parade found it well organized and a fun, delicious way to get the end-of-summer traditional food cravings satisfied. Kudos to the State Fair employees for all the innovative setups and the vendors who made it all happen. They even made a place for food bag donations for Second Harvest at the beginning of the route. Still one weekend left to go, and they might have some additional tickets. Worth checking online.

If not, there are other places to get State Fair food from local restaurants. Check out Stewart’s in Northeast for cheese curds, turkey legs, and cheddar corn dogs. Sweet Science Ice Cream, at Keg and Case Food Hall in St Paul, has a special tribute to Sara’s Tipsy Cherry Pie flavor.

Then, at Midtown Global Market in south Minneapolis, you’ll find plenty of State Fair veterans setting up as part of the Great Global Get-Together. At the top of my list, there’s Manny’s Tortas—a fair favorite that serves delicious tortas and non-alcoholic piña coladas. Then, you’ll also find the Produce Exchange, which you know as the place to pick up juicy fresh fruit (especially well-known for peaches, which come grilled, too).

The Nicollet Island Inn, the Grocers Table, Cafe Alma, the two Birchwood Cafe locations, and all the Blue Plate restaurants have added their version of State Fair food on their menus, for patio or takeout treats, through September 7—but do check out their websites or give them a call before you go.

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Sue Zelickson (Sue Z.) is a James Beard Award-winning food media personality, philanthropist, and longtime contributor to Minnesota Monthly and WCCO radio. She has founded the Charlie Awards, the Women Who Really Cook networking organization for women in the local food industry, and the Kids Cafe at Perspectives, Inc., which improves access to nutritious meals for families in need. You can find her buzzing around from event to event throughout the Twin Cities, helping to raise funds for charitable organizations, including some she has had a hand in building.