Insight News

Dec 20th

Lukewarm start on the field, but hot in the stands

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targetfieldstadiumLast year the Minnesota Twins had the honor of being the toast of the nation with the introduction of Target Field, and the subsequent #1 stadium ranking by ESPN. Often it seems that the ‘cool’ people in this country don’t have immediate notions that Minnesota is a hip place to be. You would think that there might be enough recognition from the fact that there are more per capita Fortune 500 companies (21) than any other state in the union.  You would also think that people from across the country would recognize how cool I am and be drawn to examine Minnesota closer. As local comedian Cy Amundson said in a recent show at Acme Comedy Club, after a similar bragging type of joke, “Welcome to the show”. (I’m guessing that type of joke sounds better on stage than in print.)

The Twins seem to always manage to put on a good show on the field of play. But when it comes to the stadium, it’s not just about the striking downtown view, or the convenient light rail access, but also, and for some most appreciably, in the concession stands. The ‘foodie’ and chef culture is growing worldwide, and with a new stadium the Twins are positioned to be forward and aggressive with their concessions approach. Said Twins President Dave St. Peter, “We believe the vast menu variety is consistent with our fans’ expectations, and we remain committed to ensuring Target Field’s food and beverage offerings rate among the most diverse in Major League Baseball.”

“We’re not taking our foot off of the gas pedal. We want to have the best of any venue, anywhere,” he added prior to sending the media on a concessions sampling tour. In the spirit of St. Peter’s words the Twins have added several menu items to their concessions offerings this year, together with their retail partner Delaware North Companies Sportservice. The focus of the overall aggressive concessions approach remains centered on local Minnesota favorites, and the locals likely say, “Amen.”

Now if you have ever been anywhere—I suppose like the Minnesota State Fair—in which you eat both several and various items, then you know that typically one item unforgettably stands out like the Dukes of Hazard rolling through North Minneapolis. Well if those same Dukes happened to be driving with a saucy turkey sandwich from Turkey To Go, then the memorable image would be complete, both to the eyes and taste buds.  Turkey To Go’s ’Giant Juicy Turkey Sandwich‘ deserves an added nickname: ’The Truth‘. OMG as the kiddos might say. And as if the famous Nicollet Mall mobile food truck item wasn’t good enough on its own, the Twins and Sportservice brought in the local champion of barbeque sauce, Ken Davis BBQ, to top the sandwich off. On a balancing note, it’s a sad day for turkeys indeed. President Obama doesn’t have the arsenal of pardons necessary to save their kind.

The strong list of laudable new items goes on from there, including a wonderfully steaming array of sausages with various condiments, provided through a partnership with locally known Kramarczuk’s and none other than the Food Network itself. The Food Network cart will be located at section 114.

Being a smart fella since birth (that probably got a bigger laugh than my opening funny) I started and finished the much-appreciated sampling of new Twins fare with dessert. The banana cream pie served at Hrbek’s on the main concourse was a bit pretentious, but so am I considering the plate was left clean. Yet the Minneapple Pie imported from the Cottage Grill just outside the Twin Cities was anything but pretentious, and its flaky, hearty, sugary consistency had me looking to see if Serta mattress had a storefront on the concourse as well. Thus the truth is that I ended the concessions tour leaned back with a cup of Minneapolis-based Caribou Coffee.

The Twins first couple of away game series to start the season left a little to be desired, but the required mention at this point in the season is that there are over 150 games left to play. My fear is that Twins ownership my have to add seat ejection buttons for ushers to access in order to get people to go home after all the good food and sunshine.

Rain, rain, go away, the winter’s been long enough.


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