Editor’s note: Bill of Fare is a feature on St. Paul dining that runs on the first and third Thursday of each month. Capitol Report is building an online dining guide, which is available here.
The new menu options available during Minnesota Wild games are a power play of familiar favorites and clever culinary twists. Cuban sandwiches, fried chicken biscuits and several creative variations on the humble French fry-with-sauce concept are just part of the fun choices offered.
Still, says Executive Chef Jason Steidle, folks still love their go-to foods. Chicken tenders and hot dogs remain the two top sellers. Steidle says many die-hard hockey fans don’t stray too far from their favorite concession stand — literally. “I talk to a lot of fans, and many of our season ticket holders eat from locations that are closest to their seats,” he says. “This is a good year to take a walk around and see what else is happening.”
The general manager of concessions, Ian Waetje, was the creative genius behind some of the names at the new Taste of Hockey stand. “Nothing tastes like hockey pucks or ice, I promise,” Steidle says with a laugh. The sandwich-centric offerings include a Havana Hat Trick, a Cuban sandwich with braised pork, smoked ham, Swiss cheese and mustard on a Cuban roll, pressed and griddled. Biscuit in the Basket, another new item, is a buttermilk breaded chicken breast, served on a fresh biscuit with hot sauce and pickles.
Long a popular location at the club level, The Carvery is appearing in the general concession area this year, with grilled sirloin and turkey sandwiches hand-carved and built to order. “People will wait a long time, but the last person in line is smiling because the sandwich is so great,” Steidle says.
Want some newfangled fries with that order? Try Pulled Pork Poutine, fries topped with fresh Wisconsin cheese curds, pulled pork and Guinness gravy at Taste of Hockey, or Pork Chili Verde Fries at the Wild Cantina, which are fries topped with house-made chili verde salsa, pulled pork and queso fresco.
If you’re entertaining clients or celebrating a special occasion, consider a visit to Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7 Club. Located on the RBC Wealth Management Club Level, it’s open to the general public, but reservations are required. The buffet features a rotating menu with a wide variety of options, including two carved meats, poached shrimp and an antipasti area with cheese boards, grilled bread and spreads.
“Hockey fans are coming first and foremost to watch great games, so we try to come up with ideas to enhance their experience,” Steidle says. “The Wild do a great job on the ice, and we try to keep up to that level — so when folks talk about their great experience at a game, they mention the excellent food they had, too.”
Xcel Energy Center
199 W. Kellogg Blvd.
Closest Green Line stop: Central Station
Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7 Club
Cuisine: Regionally inspired buffet
Price: $44.95 per person
Location: RBC Wealth Management Club Level, near section C4
Two most popular items: Carving stations and “action” stations for specials like prepared-to-order pasta
Reservations required: Call 651-726-8400 (Monday-Friday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.) or visit ticketmaster.com to make online reservations for select events.
Taste of Hockey
Cuisine: Trendy sandwiches and hearty sides
Location: Inside Gate 3, near section 112
Price range: $8 to $12
Two most popular items: Pulled Pork Poutine and Havana Hat Trick
Cuisine: Hand-carved sirloin or turkey sandwiches
Location: General lower level and upper level
Price: $12.50 for a sandwich and a side
Two most popular items: Grilled sirloin sandwich and side of chips
Location: Section 126
Price range: $8 to $12
Two most popular items: Loco Perro (Sheboygan hot dog topped with ground beef taco meat, queso blanco and pico de gallo) and Pork Chili Verde Fries