On this past Sunday’s episode of The Great Food Truck Race, the four remaining teams faced double Truck Stop challenges in the Twin Cities. Their first day was spent in Minneapolis selling food on a stick, which Minnesotans love eating at state fairs. The teams then rolled into St. Paul on day two and had to sell dishes made with Spam, which was invented in the state. It was a tough sell offering foods that most of the locals were all too familiar with and could get anywhere. But by the end of the weekend, the teams mostly proved they could roll with whatever Tyler dished out.
But besides food on a stick and Spam burgers, the Twin Cities have a lot going for them when it comes to eating out, including over-the-top dishes, like outrageously loaded burgers and fusion pizzas, as well as classic local hangouts that have been around for decades. There’s something for everyone in both Minneapolis and St. Paul as you’ll see in Food Network’s On the Road guide. See the offerings below.
This family-owned and -run restaurant in Minneapolis is the only barbecue spot in town that smokes all its meats exclusively over wood in a brick pit. Go for the Pit-Smoked Rib-Eye Steak, Sliced Bar-B-Que Beef Brisket or the Bar-B-Que Spare Ribs.
You’ll want to get breakfast at Maria’s Cafe in Minneapolis, and luckily they serve it all day, so it’s not hard to fit it in. Try the Corn Pancakes, made with corn flour, butter and cut corn, and sprinkled with sharp Cotija cheese.
The four friends who started Fulton Brewery began by homebrewing in a one-car garage in South Minneapolis. Today it’s a giant brewery with seven beers and the first taproom in Minneapolis.
This family-run diner in St. Paul never closes, and they serve a clientele of loyal regular customers as well as tourists. They’re famous for hash browns and a chili omelet cooked in a half-stick of butter.
Located in Minneapolis, Olsen’s is the world’s largest producer of lutefisk-dried cod, a traditional Scandinavian way of preparing cod that’s soaked and softened. The store has prepared and sold this as well as pickled herring since 1910.
Don’t expect to find any shredders, slicers or food processors at The Wienery in Minneapolis — chef/owner Pat Starr hand-cuts everything himself, even the fries. Go for the Italian Combo, featuring Italian sausage, roast beef, cheese and habanero peppers.
The polka music, Polish party atmosphere and great-tasting food make this Minneapolis establishment a local favorite. Highly recommended are the prime rib sandwich and the fried potato and cheese pierogi. After dinner, don’t be afraid to break out some polka moves.
St. Paul residents love their “Juicy Nookies.” The oozing cheese-stuffed burgers come with The Nook’s extra-crispy hand-cut fries riding shotgun. It’s a burger holy trinity: fresh beef, a fresh bun and fresh fries.
Located in Minneapolis’ Midtown Global Market, Sonora Grill serves up bold and tasty dishes mixing Spanish and South American flavors. Try the Caramelos taco with cheese.
Head to this traditional Irish fish-and-chipper in Minneapolis for an authentic cod and hand-cut fries combo, or go a little outside the box with battered and fried sausage or a fried veggie pastie.
This local Minneapolis favorite puts a new spin on pizza. Try The Sunnyside pizza, which features a fried egg on top, the My Sha-Roni, with pepperoni and Berkshire pork sausage, or the Lady ZaZa, topped with Korean sausage, kimchi and soy chili glaze.
Authentic Italian food at a drive-in restaurant is a rarity, but that’s exactly what Angela Fida and her family have been serving for more than 50 years in St. Paul. Angela cooks up fried sausage, meatballs and spaghetti with a special secret sauce recipe that she won’t share with anyone.
Baker Michelle Gayer-Nicholson of Salty Tart Bakery in Minneapolis is known for her melt-in-your-mouth macaroons, and locals can’t stop raving about her cream-filled brioche. Stop by anytime to satisfy a sweet-tooth craving.
This Minneapolis burger joint serves outrageous versions of burgers, fries and shakes. The Southern Belle shake is made with peach schnapps and bourbon. But the most outrageous item is the Meat Your Maker, a 10,000-calorie, 16-layer burger with fried cheese curds.
Find more recommended restaurants around the nation with Food Network On the Road.
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- Competitive Grilling in the Great Outdoors: Ted Allen on the Challenges of Chopped Grill Masters
- “I Would Buy This at Any Fair” — Testing the Cutthroat Kitchen Sabotages