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New Foods Fight For Chance At The State Fair

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ST. PAUL (WCCO) — The new food craze at the Minnesota State Fair really started about 10 years ago with the deep fried candy bar. From that point on, the new food phenomenon just took off.

There are many hoping for the next big hit, but sometimes it can take years to be an overnight success.

You could call it practice before the big game. The Steele County Fair served as Matt Ribar’s final rehearsal for the premier event in fair food. He is one of the newest vendors at the State Fair, introducing Minnesota to Duke’s Poutine.

“It actually tastes like thanksgiving dinner in a cup,” said Ribar.

He’s talking about his fresh cut fries covered in gravy and fresh cheese curds.

“You’re taking your fair favorites and you’re making one dish is something everyone can enjoy,” said Ribar.

This Canadian dish is simple, but getting in was not.

“I’ve been trying to get in the fair three, four, five years,” said Ribar.

With up to 500 new food applications every year, Duke’s Poutine had stiff competition.

“The process really is an eight to nine month process,” said food Concessions manager, Dennis Larson.

It’s a challenge that begins and ends with Larson, who considers the product, the cooking space and, most importantly, if it be mass produced to feed 1.8 million people.

“It’s all those moving parts that have to come together,” said Larson.

Every once in a while, however, there’s a new food that gets into the fair on the first try.

The fair thought it was time for Minnesotans to develop a taste for beef tongue tacos — a popular dish from Sonora grill.

“It’s really lean mean really lean meat we cook it for hours it’s really tender, simple and really flavorful,” said Conrado Badilla with the Sonora Grill.

Eggplant fries and tacos round out their three new items, offering an alternative to those who can’t quite stomach a tongue.

“Hopefully it’s going to be a hit, everyone will like it and we’ll go next year,” said Badilla.

They are all new fair features hoping to ride the new food phenomenon.

1 State Fair Vendor Has Knack For New Foods

There is one vendor that’s been able to introduce a new item for the past several years.

The Blue Moon Dine-In Theater has found that perfect recipe to overcome the hurdle of getting a new food in the fair. Last year, they had a runaway hit: sweetcorn ice cream.

Rachel Slavik stopped by to see if they’d share a few secrets of their food success. Watch the report below.

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