Game day Grub

Our roundup of Woodbury’s top stops for pigskin fans.
Famous Dave’s St. Louis-style spare ribs, perfect for tailgating before the game.

Well, what an exciting time to be a Vikings fan, with two of the top first-round draft picks sitting comfortably on the purple and gold roster, a brand new stadium under construction and the 2018 Super Bowl in the mix. Then there’s the rising Minnesota Gophers to cheer for. September is football month in Woodbury, and local restaurant owners have taken note. Happy hour deals, wings, burgers and new game day restaurant hours are on deck for hungry fans. Even if you secretly drafted Aaron Rodgers for your fantasy team, there’s always room for you at these football fan sites. After all, what’s life without a little competition?

St. Louis-Style Spare Ribs

Famous Dave’s

Half of the fun of football is tailgating before the big game. However, cooking a dozen racks of ribs for everyone to eat? Not as fun. Famous Dave’s has you covered. Their St. Louis-style spare ribs are rubbed with Dave’s secret spices and are slow-roasted for three to four hours until they are fall-off-the-bone juicy. Drench ‘em in your favorite Dave’s sauce, and you have the ultimate football feast without having to lift a finger, except to lick off the BBQ sauce ($13.79 for 1/3 slab). 1940 Donegal Drive; 651.501.1900.

Deep Fried Ravioli

Carmine’s Restaurant and Bar

Nachos, hot dogs and burgers are always at the ready, but where’s the love for game-day pasta? Deep fried ravioli is as salty and pop-in-your-mouth delicious as cheese curds, yet it remains an underdog. You will find yourself pleasantly surprised by what Carmine’s ravioli brings to the table. Served with a rich marinara sauce, this appetizer can be enjoyed solo or shared ($7.95). General manager Dave Hafiz says Carmine’s opens their doors for an all-day happy hour on Sundays, just in time for football season. Appetizers are $3 off, and the football is 100 percent free. 9900 Valley Creek Road; 651.730.4500.


Lakes Tavern and Grill

It’s all in the title. After all, a team chasing the “best season ever” should properly fuel themselves for the task. The Lakes best burger is piled high with fresh tomato, lettuce and bacon for a strong crunch, and a fried egg topped with white cheddar for an extra touch of class ($12). And general manager Mike Miosek has upped the ante for football season: Burgers are BOGO after 4 p.m. on Sunday and Monday nights. Also, happy hour 25 oz. beers are only $3 for domestic and $4 for imports. Whether you’re cheering on the Vikings or buying your lonely Packer-backer in-laws a free burger to smooth things over, Lakes’ football spirit is wasted on nobody. 9240 Hudson Road; 651.287.2000.


Scotch Eggs

O’Malley’s Irish Pub

Football in Ireland is of the Gaelic variety, and the rules are slightly different. Played on a pitch similar to soccer with the dribbling skills of a basketball player and the contact of a rugby match, this game needs to be digested with a good breakfast. O’Malley’s traditional Scotch eggs brings two hard-boiled eggs together with seasoned sausage for a deep-fried delight. Douse it in spicy mustard to kick your game into high gear ($8.99). The black & tan ‘o’ rings are a great alternative for mid-game snacking. Coated in a delicious beer batter, these onion rings are then drizzled with a dark stout for a snack with some character ($7.99). 1775 Radio Drive; 651.578.7007.

Ray J’s Chicken Wings

Ray J’s American Grill

Come to Ray J’s for the football, and stay for the wings. 2013’s WCCO Best Wings champ offers their gridiron staple in a variety of flavors. There’s homestyle and buffalo for the traditionalist, as well as habanero and Asian sesame for wing enthusiasts. We particularly enjoyed the drunken wings, a blend of sweet and spicy for every up-and-down emotion incurred by a blocked kick or touchdown ($13 full, $8 half). Manager Katie Jacob says that Ray J’s also offers a full taco bar on game days for a mere $5. Nothing gets people in the spirit quite like a taco bar. I asked Katie if she was a Vikings fan as well as a fan of food, and she responded “Of course I am. My parents raised me right.” 9854 Norma Lane; 651.714.2035.

Creamery Nuggets

Danny’s Bar & Grill

The Ellsworth, Wisconsin Creamery is famous for their natural white cheddar cheese curds ($6.95). The best place to get ‘em in Minnesota? Danny’s Bar & Grill in Stillwater. Don’t let the golf course fool you; there’s plenty of room for some football love. Set an early morning tee time, and you’ll be sliding into Danny’s just in time for kickoff. For a treat that’s a bit more “Minnesota,” try the pecan walleye tidbits. Chef Ron Bohnert’s recipe is a delightful cherry-maple pecan butter sauce surrounding deliciously-caught walleye. Dunk it in a delightful homemade cranberry tartar sauce for a taste so fresh, you’ll think you caught it yourself ($9.95). 13600 N. Hudson Blvd., Stillwater; 651.436.2144.