MINNEAPOLIS — When thinking of the food the Norse Vikings ate, pickled herring and lefse come to mind.
The Minnesota Vikings unveiled fare for their new stadium Tuesday that has a bit more flair to it.
In sticking with a recent Minneapolis sports stadium trend, U.S. Bank Stadium will feature offerings from uniquely Minnesota chefs and restaurateurs.
Culinary service provider Aramark is partnering with Ike’s Food and Cocktails, Revival Restaurant, AZ Canteen and Spoon and Stable to deliver those local foods to the $1.1 billion stadium.
“As we’ve done with every aspect of the new stadium, we want there to be a local, Minnesota flavor,” said J.P. Paul, vice president of corporate development and guest relations for the Vikings. “We’re really pleased Aramark has partnered with some of the most recognizable names in the Minneapolis-St. Paul culinary scene.”
Edina, Minn., resident and celebrity chef Andrew Zimmern said he will have two stands at the stadium, which he described as a “whole-animal rotisserie barbeque” and a hoagie collaboration with Minneapolis native Gavin Kaysen.
“Predating the announcement of the stadium … Gavin and I were talking, ‘you know, someday we should do something together in a stadium in Minnesota,’” Zimmern said. “We think we’re going to recalibrate how people enjoy the Italian sandwich concept in Minnesota.”
Kaysen, who spent time in top-rated kitchens around the world before coming home to open Spoon and Stable in downtown Minneapolis’ Warehouse District, also spent time cooking for the Vikings owners, the Wilf family.
“For me, it’s a very full-circle moment to now be in the stadium and to be partnering with Andrew and his team,” Kaysen said.
Co-founder of Ike’s Food and Cocktails, Gene Winstead, said executive chef Andy Shrader will deliver the same type of classic American fare found at his restaurant in the heart of downtown Minneapolis — and the restaurant’s signature handcrafted Bloody Mary.
“Minneapolis-St. Paul has a food scene as fine as it gets in the world, and it’s so great to see that culinary scene being layered in now to the finest stadium anywhere in the world,” said Winstead who is also the mayor of suburban Bloomington. “Nothing could be better than Ike’s and the Vikes coming together under the same roof.”
Nick Rancone, a lifelong Vikings fan and co-owner of Revival in south Minneapolis, said he and chef Thomas Boemer’s southern comfort food style will be available when the new stadium opens.
“It’s such an honor to be a part of this group of amazing culinarians,” Rancone said. “We’re excited. It’s going to be a great fan-food experience, and I can’t wait to come and try out the food at the new stadium, too.”
Other food vendors have yet to be announced, but team officials said more will be revealed prior to the stadium’s debut event, a soccer match between European heavyweights A.C. Milan and Chelsea, in early August.
Offering stadium fare is not new to Zimmern, who opened AZ Canteen at Target Field. The others expressed excitement at working in a new environment.
“The biggest hesitation I think anyone would ever have with something like this is (wondering) ‘Do we have to compromise what we do, our quality level, to be able to do this?’” Rancone said. “From day one, the first conversation we had with anyone was ‘We don’t want you to do this if you can’t do it exactly how you do it on a daily basis.’ And right there, I think all my anxiety … was totally alleviated.”
“Spoon and Stable is a smaller restaurant. It has four walls and everything is controlled,” Kaysen added. “To be able to challenge ourselves and extend our hospitality, our food, our love for what we do every single day and deliver it to thousands and thousands of people every week is incredibly exciting for us.”
PICTURED ABOVE: Samples of Revival Restaurant’s fried chicken sandwiches and chicharrons sit on display at the temporary Minnesota Vikings headquarters in downtown Minneapolis. The Minneapolis restaurant was announced as a food partner with the Vikings for U.S. Bank Stadium, opening in August. ROBB JEFFRIES/FORUM NEWS SERVICE