Target Field concessions a home run for the Twins and fans

Foodstuffs from around the Twin Cities really step up to the plate

Several notable names in Minnesota's food and beverage business are supplying the stadium, including Wild Acres turkey drumsticks and Caribou coffee. One of the concessions executives told me they spent more than two years dining at local restaurants and forming partnerships with those they considered the best.

That's why Kramarczuk's is browning its bratwurst alongside a whole grill full of onions and peppers and sauerkraut. The Polish sausage I sampled roused my spirits more than the plain hot dog. The smell alone will make you as hungry as if you just played nine innings instead of sat on your duff and hollered. The best thing I ate was the concessionaires' riff on the Murray's steak sandwich, with tender, toothsome chunks of sirloin, sweet onions, and provolone cheese piled onto a ciabatta bun. If you're going to pay $7.50 for a beer—they do sell Summit, Schell's, Finnegans, and Grain Belt—you might as well pay $10.50 for the Murray's steak sandwich, though another sampler told me that during one of the preview games the wait in the sandwich line was nearly 30 minutes.

And of course no celebration of Minnesota's culinary contributions would be complete without a Ju(i)cy Lucy. The stadium offers the original, old-school, American-cheese-stuffed burger, one with onions and pepperjack cheese called the Rex Burger that's sold in Hrbek's restaurant, and Vincent restaurant's titular Vincent Burger, filled with braised short-rib meat and smoked Gouda. The Vincent Burger is listed alongside various other burgers and dogs with little fanfare—no description or hint of its legendary pedigree (its credits include a City Pages' Best Burger designation) to rationalize its $12 price tag. (It's actually $1.50 cheaper at the ballpark, though the restaurant offers it for $8 during happy hour.) The Vincent I sampled at Target Field didn't taste as good as I remember from the restaurant—the meat seemed a little tough, and I don't suspect the bland pink tomato slice would have passed muster in Le Grand Fromage's kitchen—but the meat had a nicely charred exterior, the filling was wonderfully rich, the bun sweet and eggy.

Still, I was impressed by Delaware North's choice to serve the Vincent Burger, especially because I'm skeptical about its practicality from a business perspective. Would the extra labor, the more costly ingredients, and the hassle of incorporating a restaurateur's wishes be worth the opportunity to charge a few more bucks for the burger? Arguably not. But the decision to promote our homegrown goods takes the long view on the situation, seeing not just the team and the stadium as sources of civic pride, but also the concessions.

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