Revival’s fried chicken can be ordered as a two-piece meal or in sandwich. (Nancy Ngo / Pioneer Press)
Headed to the big game or a concert and are new to U.S. Bank Stadium?
Good news if you’re a lover of good food — the home of the Vikings has it in spades, and much of it is from local vendors.
The stadium is fairly easy to navigate, and it’s not terribly difficult to walk a little beyond your section to find some unique offerings.
Here are our favorite local foods that are sold at the stadium and where to find them.
REVIVAL FRIED CHICKEN, $16
Revival Stand, Section 111: If you’ve never been to the little restaurant in South Minneapolis (or you just can’t endure several hours of waiting) or the new one in St. Paul, this is a great opportunity for you to try the best fried chicken in the Twin Cities. We can attest to the fact that what you get at the stadium is just as good as the restaurant. The price might seem high, but you get two pieces of chicken, slaw and a roll, so it’s pretty easily shared. If you’re more of a sandwich person, the fried chicken sandwich ($12) is very sizable and just as crispy/juicy/delicious. If you like spice, you can order either the chicken or the sandwich Tennessee Hot, which basically means it’s doused in some serious hot sauce. There will be lines at this stand, so plan ahead. Owners Nick Rancone and Thomas Boemer are not pre-frying chicken and letting it sit under a warmer, and there are only so many fryers to meet the very heavy demand.
LEMON GRASS MEATBALLS, $10
Twin Cities Foodies, Section 101: Chef Tammy Wong of Rainbow Chinese concocted this perfect stadium food with healthier fare in mind. The meatball itself, made fluffy with toasted rice instead of breadcrumbs, is gluten-free, made with ground chicken and really tastes like lemon grass. If you can’t have gluten, you’ll have to order it without the delicious sauce, though. Other offerings are a somewhat one-note, chewy jerk bacon sandwich ($10) from chef Shawn Smalley of Smalley’s Caribbean Barbeque in Stillwater and some dirty good smoked chicken nachos ($10) on freshly fried tortillas from chef Matt Bickford of Icehouse. We love that all the royalties from this stand are donated to Share our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign.
AZ CANTEEN ROASTED PORK HOAGIE, $15
AZ Canteen Hoagies, Section 344: OK, we know, $15 is a lot for a hoagie. But it’s at least a sizable hoagie, and the ingredients are so delicious we are willing to part with a few extra bucks for it. Slow-roasted, tender pork, zippy arugula and the ingenious addition of crisp broccolini make this sandwich a touchdown. Our only complaint was that it could have used a bit more moisture.
SKOL DOG, $12
Prairie Dog Stand, Section 122: This stand is a complete no-brainer for stadium food. These snappy beef dogs are handmade and so flavorful that a regular stadium dog seems like a crime. The Skol is topped with sweet-smoky bacon jam, a bright yellow mustard and some pretty purple potato chips.
TACO COMBO, $15
R Taco, Sections 116 and 309: We were pleasantly surprised at how well this stand pulled off some fun street tacos. The price here is for any combination of three tacos, and we tried the three they were offering. The restaurant’s signature Rusty Taco was among them, and was just as juicy and flavorful as it is at the eatery. The fried shrimp were not over-breaded or over-cooked, and the fried chicken taco was a fun novelty. The hot sauces are great, too, and we loved that the habanero was actually spicy, not Minnesota spicy.
AZ CANTEEN LAMB, $15
AZ Canteen, Section 121: This main-level stand serves a variety of rotisserie meats, including luscious lamb with a tangy yogurt sauce, but we were left holding a whole lot of meat ($15 for a ½ pound), so be sure you have a few friends on hand to share this one. Stadium officials have been shocked by the popularity of lamb. AZ Canteen sold 600 pounds of it — and still ran out — at the first soccer game held last August.
IKE’S STEAK SANDWICH, $12
Ike’s Carving, Sections 119 and 329: Employees carve the steak in front of you, and the end result is rich, juicy and full of beefy flavor. A creamy horseradish sauce is a nice touch, and the sandwich is sizable for the price. We do wish the bun was a little less dry, though.
KRAMARCZUK’S SAUSAGE, $9.50
Kramarczuk’s, Sections 140 and 336: We’re usually big fans of these local polish sausages, and though our brat had great snap, we wished it was a little more brown and the bun a little smaller. Still, the price is right, and the onions and peppers we chose to top it with were fresh and a great contrast.
Get a head start: For NFL games, the gates open 2½ hours before kickoff and food stands will be up and running right away. To beat the crowds and longer lines for food, play it like the State Fair and arrive early.
Some vendors have two stands: If you want to try some of the popular restaurants, note that several have two stands. So if one line seems too long, you may want to hedge your bets at trying the other location. Some favorites with more than one counter include R Taco (Sections 116 and 309), Kramarczucks (140 and 336) and AZ Canteen (121 and 344). Now if only Revival had another stand. However, be warned that AZ Canteen stands serve two different menus. While you can get rotisserie meats, including lamb, on the first floor, we prefer the hoagies — especially the roasted pork and provolone — available on the third level.
Hit the rail: There’s a rail along the outside of the first-floor concourse where you can enjoy your food without missing a play — if you can score a place to stand.
Share to save money: Some of the items are big enough for two people, especially if you want to try more than one stand.