Whether you're a die-hard football fan and bleed maroon and gold or like to think X's and O's are hugs and kisses instead of defense and offense, there are several options close to Huntington Bank Stadium that will fortify you before the Gophers kick off Saturday or feed your fired-up soul during a postgame victory lap. Here are seven to try.
Manning's Restaurant and Bar
Grab some breakfast onion rings and a beer before the game at this U institution. The onion rings, for the uninitiated, are coated in a thick, almost sweet batter and make for a solid base for soaking up an ice cold beer. And if your crew is in the market for a more traditional breakfast, there are diner-style favorites here, too, like steak and eggs with hash browns and a side of au jus.
2200 Como Av. SE., Mpls., 612-331-1053, manningscafe.com
Sometimes it's OK to not follow the playbook. Weekend breakfast at Tea House is one of the best Chinese breakfast experiences in Minneapolis, and the location could not be better for fans. Doors open at 10 a.m., so you might stroll into the stadium after kickoff, but at least you'll be well fed. The menu is stacked with hearty fare, including pillowy pork buns, crispy mochi doughnuts, soothing pork and egg congee and steamed soup dumplings. (Breakfast is served until 2 p.m.)
Alma Cafe might not be an obvious pregame destination, but the breakfast sandwiches served at this cafe are phenomenal and transportable. Order ahead and pick up a Corner Store, a sendup of a New York bodega handheld with eggs, gooey cheese and bacon from Peterson Craftsman Meats, all packed into a buttery roll. It's the kind of breakfast treat that gets better when it's carried in your pocket for a bit.
528 University Av. SE., Mpls., 612-379-4909, almampls.com/cafe
AFTER THE WIN
Market at Malcolm Yards
This popular food hall has a full bar, self-pour beer and cider station and a slew of innovative food options. But your first stop is a cashier, who will check IDs and take a credit card in exchange for a card swipe at each of the vendors. When you're ready to go, turn in the card to close your tab and it's paid automatically. Favorite vendors include Bebe Zito for burgers and creative ice cream flavors, Wrecktangle for thick pan-baked pizzas, Abang Yoli for Korean fried chicken sandwiches and more. Don't miss the Bloody Mary walk from 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
501 30th Av. SE., Mpls., 612-886-1022, malcolmyards.market
Blue Door Pub
For us, a perfect postgame bite is a big, beefy burger that destroys all hunger. At Blue Door Pub they bring the goods, along with a fantastic craft beer selection. If you're still feeling brunchy, try the Jiffy Burger, topped with bacon and Jif peanut butter. Or hit the potato chip-topped Baked and Loaded for an afternoon pick-me-up. Be advised, there are also loaded tots on the menu.
1514 Como Av. SE., Mpls., 612-367-4964, thebdp.com
Nico's Tacos and Tequila
Further down Como Avenue, it's tequila for the wins and tequila for the misses, Nico's has everything needed for a postgame party. Stop by for the expansive patio, huge bar stocked with agave spirits and plenty of tacos. The nachos are built for a crowd, with stacks of tortilla chips loaded with pinto beans, Oaxaca cheese, chile de arbol, crema and your choice of meat. Be ahead of the game and reserve a spot.
2260 Como Av., St. Paul, 651-450-8848, nicostacobar.com
Consider this the extra point. The Minnesota State Fair is in the rearview, but if deep-fried stick food is your idea of a celebratory bite, this South Korean chain in Dinkytown has you covered. Don't be intimidated by the long lines out the door; every corn dog is made to order according to your specifications. Want potatoes to encrust your dog? How about replacing the meat with a mozzarella stick? And why not add squid ink and a dusting of garlic Parmesan? This is salty, crunchy, gooey snacking at its quirkiest.
401 14th Av. SE., Mpls., 612-354-7858, cruncheeseusa.com