Reporting Reg Chapman
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Stadium Village is gearing up for what will be an unprecedented event on the campus of the University of Minnesota.
Stadium Village is a commercial district in Minneapolis next to the University of Minnesota’s Minneapolis campus and TCF Bank Stadium.
While preparations are made at TCF Bank Stadium for Monday night’s Vikings game, area bars are rolling out the red carpet to entice Vikings fans to stop by for an adult beverage beforehand. No alcohol will be served in the stadium.
“I think a lot of people are going to be drinking before that,” said Vikings fan Casey Litche.
Just like when the Golden Golphers play, there will be no alcohol for fans in the stands when the Vikings take the field.
“I think there will be a lot of people in there, but I would imagine most of my friends will probably be watching it on TV, you know, somewhere warm,” said Vikings fan Dave Nitski.
Campus bars hope Vikings fans find the warmth they are looking for just steps away from the stadium.
In the shadows of TCF Bank Stadium sits 60 businesses, including nearly 20 restaurants and five bars.
Several bars and restaurants are adding seats and erecting tents in parking lots to serve food and beverages. On Monday night at Sally’s Saloon & Eatery, what is now a parking lot will be covered with a huge, heated tent. Inside will be big screen televisions and another bar and a grill.
“We’ve got a big covered, heated tent outside. We’re going to have some bars there,” said assistant manager Megan Kittleson.
Like always, they’ll also be selling food and drinks inside. They hope it will be standing room-only for those who don’t want to watch an NFL game outside.
It’s just one part of a plan many business owners hope will lead to a lucrative night with the NFL at the U of M.
“With the stadium being cold and dry we’re going to be wet and warm in Stadium Village and we’re ready for it,” said Campus Pizza & Pasta co-owner Jim Rosvold.
“If the fans arrive at 5 and the students leave at 5 it’s going to be kind of crazy,” he added. “I think coming early would be a great idea.”
Campus Pizza got special permission to expand its business during the game.
“We filed an expansion permit with the City of Minneapolis to use our common area out in the hallway to provide a beer garden, additional seating, things like that. We’re going to have a portable bar, we’re going to have beer tubs,” said Rosvold.
He is expecting Vikings fans to drink and eat up inside his bar and pizza joint.
“I’ll be here behind the bar, 3:30 sharp, pouring, mixing,” said bartender Allison Koch.
Rosvold thinks business will be great for all on Monday.
“Probably about nine times busier than what it would normally be, with this NFL game,” he predicted.
NewsRadio 830 WCCO’s Bruce Hagevik Reports
They hope it will help make up for business lost last weekend during the snowstorm.
Saturday, workers are still prepping TCF Bank Stadium for Monday night’s game against the Chicago Bears. Workers cleared the snow from the sidewalks outside the stadium and put down ice melt.
Inside, workers cleared snow and installed the tarp and heating system on the artificial turf to help warm it up before the game.
Because so many fans returned their tickets to the game that had been planned for Mall of America Field, the Vikings say they are confident that everyone who wants to go to the game will get in.
With so many tempting bars and restaurants nearby, the Vikings hope to give fans a reason to wait in line. Caribou Coffee will give fans hot coffee and the Mall of America will pass out hand warmers.
WCCO-TV’s Reg Chapman Reports