With TCF Bank Stadium opening on September 5th, Gopher fans will have the opportunity to experience on-campus college football for the first time in nearly 30 years. While TCF Bank Stadium will undoubtedly offer a wide variety of food and non-alcoholic beverages, a selection of pre-game and post-game hot spots near the stadium will certainly become epicenters of Gopher Fandom. What restaurants and bars could become staples of the Gopher football experience?
There is a great selection of bars and restaurants within walking distance of TCF Bank Stadium that can offer Gopher fans nutrition and adult beverages. Here are a few potential hot spots that could contribute to an authentic college football gameday experience:
Big Ten Restaurant and Bar, 606 Washington AVE SE - Could there be a sanctioned speakeasy with a more appropriate name? While burgers and brats are standard fare for college football Saturday, I recommend the pastrami and corned beef subs at the Big Ten Restaurant and Bar. There are plenty of televisions to watch pre-game and post-game footage, a number of booths, and there is cold beer on tap with a solid selection of menu items.
Stub and Herb's, 227 Oak St SE - Stub and Herb's has been a staple college bar in Dinkytown for years. A short walk from TCF Bank Stadium, the robust selection of microbrews and specialty beers can't be missed by beer enthusiasts. I'd recommend the fried green beans with the Juicy Lucy style "stuffed bacon cheese burger" for your post-game hunger fix. If you're of age, wash it down with a Summit Extra Pale Ale that was brewed across the river in St. Paul.
The Library Bar and Grill, 1301 4th St SE - The Library is a popular destination for students, and offers a wide selection of menu items with cold beer on tap. Embrace Minnesota's German heritage with a Reuben sandwich and a cold beer if you get the chance to visit.
Sally's Salon and Eatery, 712 Washington Ave SE - Another student favorite, Sally's has plenty of seating and an outdoor patio. Enjoy American fare with cold beer on tap. If you're in a celebratory mood and want to forever remember your experience, there is a tattoo parlor upstairs.
Vescio's Cucina, 406 14th Ave SE - Vescio's is definitely worth the walk. If you crave authentic Italian fare as I do, order the manicotti. Also, the meatballs must be had to be appreciated. Add a Peroni beer for an authentic Mediterranean experience. When Bob Knight was the coach at Indiana, it was rumored that he always stopped in at Vescio's for a meal. Not only is it near TCF Bank Stadium, but it is one of my favorite restaurants in the entire Twin Cities.
Loring Pasta Bar, 327 14th Ave SE - Looking for a more sophisticated experience? Loring Pasta Bar offers a good selection of wines at affordable prices. And, of course, at what other restaurant near a college football stadium can you order "sauteed catfish with mixed sprouts and kumquats"? Or, stick with the theme of the day and order the 20 ounce "Bronko Nagurski" steak.
Applebee's, 615 Washington Ave SE - If visiting a corporate chain restaurant won't spoil your authentic college football experience, Applebee's offers affordable fare with fresh beer on tap. This location has ample seating and isn't far from the stadium.
There are other bars and restaurants near TCF Bank Stadium, and time will tell which ones become favorites for Gopher fans. Here's a map of some options with locations. September 5th cannot arrive soon enough: