It’s already one of the most talked-about training camps in Minnesota Vikings’ history. The will-they, won’t-they of this year’s season was more drama than players, teams and fans probably wanted but with that behind us, it’s time to get ready for some football. The 46th annual Vikings training camp will begin in Mankato on Monday — and fans are more eager than ever to get a first glimpse.

But with a shortened schedule and more than 60,000 visitors expected, football fans will need some serious fuel. Luckily, I have a few close, personal sources that have scouted the best eats in this fine city and are kind enough to share their favorites. So without further ado, here are a few places you might want to check out. Skol Vikes!

(credit: Boomtown)


1600 Warren St. #17 | Mankato, MN

OK, truth be told, Boomtown features pretty typical bar food but you can’t find a better place to grab a quick meal, stop by for a drink and come back later for a rocking good time. Known as the place to be during Training Camp, this is truly where the Vikings fans go to unite.

(credit: Number 4)

Number 4

124 E. Walnut St. | Mankato, MN

Don’t let the name fool you — this place is not about some dusty old quarterback. Number 4 American Bar & Kitchen is all about the four elements “necessary for culinary perfection: Air, Fire, Earth and Water.” The menu is a mix of classic American fare with a twist and a few new concoctions full of flavor. Check out their Monday Burger Night for a delicious burger and fries for $6.95, from 5 p.m. to close.

(credit: Tav On The Ave)

Tav On The Ave

1120 E. Madison Ave. | Mankato, MN

Tav on the Ave is a must in Mankato. It’s well-known for its famous giant wings, the sports bar atmosphere and, of course, the giant plasma TVs. The bar opened in 1988, after remodeling the former Stone Toad. With a large selection of beer and some great happy hour specials (even late night), Tav is a great place for training camp travelers. Try their infamous Long Island Iced Tea — if you dare!

(credit: Olives)


20 Civic Center Plaza | Mankato, MN

If you’re looking for a break from bar food, look no further than Olives by Massad’s — a lovely family-owned Mediterranean restaurant in downtown Mankato. For lunch, you can’t go wrong with the tasty lunch buffet — a steal at $8.95 — with an array of salads, pre-made sandwiches, make-your-own sandwiches and homemade soup (plus all the hummus and Baba Ganoush you can eat!).

(credit: Pagliai's Pizza)

Pagliai’s Pizza

524 S. Front St. | Mankato, MN

If you’re looking for some of the best pizza in town, go to the experts. Pagliai’s has been making pizza since 1969, proudly claiming the title of “Mankato’s Oldest Pizzeria.” The menu features a variety of ‘za, delicious hot “poorboy” sandwiches and even spaghetti dinner. And don’t forget the garlic bread with cheese.

(credit: Charley's)


920 E. Madison Ave. | Mankato, MN

For more than two decades, Charley’s has been serving up some great food with a supper-club feel. The restaurant and lounge is located on the top of Madison Avenue hill and is one of the local favorites for celebrating all of life’s big events (like a new Vikings quarterback).

(credit: Wagon Wheel Cafe)

Wagon Wheel Cafe

609 S. Front St. | Mankato, MN

For a few days, the training camp schedule is a bit of an early wake-up call for fans. And on those days, they’ll need a great breakfast to start the day. For a good ol fashioned greasy spoon b’fast on the cheap, stop by Wagon Wheel Café. Open only for breakfast and lunch, but if you’re looking to save some cash this is the place.

Have other favorite spots in Mankato? Let us know by commenting below.