Minneapolis: Ohio State vs. Minnesota

I’ve been trying to make it to Minnesota for a football game since they built their on campus stadium in 2009: TCF Bank Stadium.  TCF Bank Stadium is the first new stadium built by a Big Ten school since 1960 (Penn State’s Beaver Stadium). Minnesota went into the game with a 7-2 record and ranked #25 by the College Football Playoff Committee against #8 Ohio State. I thought it was an all-around great game, granted I’m not one to mind snow when it comes to football.  It was 15 degrees which is the lowest temperature ever at TCF Bank Stadium and the lowest temperature the Buckeyes have played in going back more than a half-century.  Ohio State had some turnover troubles throughout the game but was never really in trouble and went on to win 31-24.

TFC Bank Stadium
I always enjoy visiting different stadiums and seeing a new large scale college stadium is rather unique.  The large concourses were able to hold most of the fans during halftime.  When we arrived, the greeters were handing out towels and hand warmers.  TCF Bank Stadium is also unique among Big Ten stadiums as they sell beer at the stadium.

Grumpy’s & Dinner
After getting situated on Friday, we headed a couple of blocks from our hotel to Grumpy’s downtown bar and on the way we stumbled upon Day Block Brewing Company so we gave it a go.  The food at Day Block was excellent (garlic knots and a flight of bacon) but the beer was a little too out there for me.  Nearly all of it was a spice of some sort, chili peppers in beer is not my thing.  After a couple of beers we headed over to Grumpy’s.  I wasn’t able to make it to Grumpy’s the last time I was in Minneapolis so I’m glad our hotel was near one of their bars.  The burger looked amazing.

Butcher & The Boar
For dinner we had reservations at Butcher & The Boar where we managed to get seated at the bar before hand.  The food was great, my ‘double pork chop’ was a little over the top (it had three bones, not the two that a double would imply).  The wild boar sausage was great as well.  Really just a great place, the service was top notch.

Transportation into and around Minneapolis couldn’t have been easier.  We took the METRO Blue Line from the airport to within a couple of blocks of our hotel and then were able to take the Green Line to the University of Minnesota campus and back.

Campus & Dinkytown
After taking the train, we walked through a decent portion of campus on the way over to Dinkytown for breakfast.  Minnesota’s campus is similar to all Big Ten campuses: massive.  Very quiet for a Saturday morning game day.  We headed over to Tony’s Diner for breakfast which was a happening place and then made our way to the game.

Neye’s Polonaise Room
After the game we headed to Nye’s Polonaise Room for dinner and culture.  Nye’s is basically a steakhouse/dive bar with a house Polka band.  A combination that is hard to beat.  In 2006 Esquire magazine named Nye’s the Best Bar in America.  As we entered the band was playing Johnny Cash, it was everything I imagined and I had the ribeye.

Side Notes:
* The Minnesota Vikings new stadium (tentatively named Viking Stadium until the naming rights are sold) currently under construction in downtown Minneapolis.

** BIG TEN & Notre Dame Stadium Map with added University of Minnesota now that it’s been checked of my list and University of Chicago a founding and former member of the BIG TEN.