Could there be a better way than to spend a beautiful fall day inside the shiny new TCF Bank Stadium at the University of Minnesota, watching the Gophers play football?
It’s hard to beat. Here are a few tips to help you navigate your trip to the U, and some thoughts on dining options other than the Stadium.
TCF Bank Stadium
2009 University Avenue SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455
If you’ve ever driven through the East Bank of the U of M, you know it can be packed full of cars and pedestrians at normal times, never mind for a big event like a Gopher game. The U has an extensive list of recommendations for traffic and parking here. Most of all, allow plenty of time. And hope the light rail construction will be connected there as soon as possible.
That time-honored companion to football, tailgating, is alive and well at the U, as long as you pay attention to the rules as well as being sure to tailgate only in the designated parking areas.
If tailgating’s not your favorite way to dine, you have plenty of options within walking distance of TCF Bank Stadium.
East Bank of University of Minnesota’s Minneapolis Campus
Cross Streets of University Avenue and Washington Avenue
802 Washington Ave SE
Open daily 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Just down the street from the stadium is Punch Pizza, a favorite of Twin Cities pizza-eaters with its wood-burning ovens fired up to 800 degrees for quick delivery.
Big Ten Restaurant & Bar
606 Washington Ave SE
Hours: Monday – Thursday 11 a.m. – 11 p.m.;
Friday – Saturday 11 a.m. – midnight;
Sunday – 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Long-time University tavern Big Ten Restaurant & Bar still serves up solid bar fare including burgers and wings, but what you really want here is a sub sandwich, served hot and loaded with goodness.
604 Washington Ave Se
Hours: Monday – Friday 10:30 a.m. – 7 p.m.; Saturday 10:30 a.m. – 6 p.m.
One of the better food bargains in Stadium Village is at Bun Mi, a Vietnamese sandwich shop (sandwiches served with a choice of, oddly, French fries).
Stub & Herb’s
227 SE Oak St
Hours: Sunday – Wednesday 11 a.m. – 1 a.m.; Thursday – Saturday 11 a.m. – 2 a.m.
Another long-time Stadium Village resident is Stub & Herb’s, very popular with the college crowd. Sub & Herb’s offers bar food with some intriguing twists (curry burger, anyone?). There’s also a solid beer list, including several local beers, but be aware that any happy hour or other special pricing isn’t valid on game day.
610 Washington Ave SE
Hours: Open daily 11 a.m. – 1:45 a.m.
The Village Wok has been feeding crowds of college students and game-day visitors for decades, and has an extensive menu of Chinese specialties in every style of Chinese cuisine.
Parking Lot: 5th Street between 13th and 16th Avenues
(612) 331 7200
Parking: $2 an hour
A short walk across the East Bank campus will bring you to Dinkytown, which has some restaurants well worth the walk.
Loring Pasta Bar
327 14th Ave SE
Open Monday – Thursday 11:30 a.m. – 10 p.m.; Friday 11:30 a.m. – 11 p.m.:
Saturday – Noon – 11 p.m.; Sunday – 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Loring Pasta Bar serves, as you’d expect, pasta, but it also several heartier entrees, like Beef Bourgignon. U of M students displaying their student IDs are eligible for a 30 percent discount.
1320 4th Ave SE
Hours: Monday – Thursday 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.; Friday – Saturday 11 a.m. – 11 p.m.;
Sunday – Noon – 10 p.m.
Shuang Cheng is Dinkytown’s counterpart to Stadium Village’s Village Wok. But unlike the Wok, Shuang Cheng focuses on Cantonese food. While the menu has plenty of “Americanized” options, adventurous diners will find more authentic dishes too.
313 14th Ave SE
Hours: Sunday – Thursday 11 a.m. – 11 p.m.; Friday – Saturday 11 a.m. – midnight
Located on the second floor not far from Loring Pasta Bar, Annie’s Parlour has been serving up topnotch burgers, fries, and malts for decades. The homemade hot fudge is decadent all by itself. There’s a great outdoor patio for good weather visits.
Amy C. Rea lives with her family in the Twin Cities. She’s the author of Backroads & Byways of Minnesota and Minnesota, Land of 10,000 Lakes: an Explorer’s Guide. She can also be found chatting about Minnesota travel topics at www.flyover-land.com.