Fare at the Fair

A food and beverage tour of the 51st Edina Art Fair.
Look for a slider version of Red Cow’s turkey burger at thea Edina Art Fair.

Let us help you sip and nibble your way through the Edina Art Fair. Tasty temptations lurk around every corner including the fair’s two food courts. It’s only fitting that one of the top-ranked art fairs in the nation celebrates with an impressive lineup of food and beverages. A full tummy is sure to foster greater art appreciation (weather come what may).

The 51st annual Edina Art Fair will offer all the summer staples–mini doughnuts, food on a stick, ice cream,  but also a few fun surprises.

This year, several 50th and France restaurants will also have an amplified presence. For the first time, Arezzo Ristorante will participate with a booth in the east food court. A lineup of six authentic Italian specialties will give fair-goers a delectable sample of Arezzo’s cuisine.

Executive chef Gabriele LoPinto hails from Genoa, Italy and his Mediterranean upbringing shines through in every dish. Gazpacho, meatballs on a stick, Caprese skewers, insalata novella in a cup, spaghetti in a cup and polenta with cream sauce offer a taste of Italy right here in Edina. Prices range from $4 to $9, for these easy shareables. Everything is homemade and delicious right down to the fresh mozzarella and pesto on the Caprese skewers – showy as an Italian flag with colorful, flavor-packed heirloom cherry tomatoes.

To-go fair food that not only tastes good but is good for you is a real find. “The key here is healthy alternatives from fried food,” says Adam Smith, Arezzo owner.

To try more, visit the restaurant. Its shady patio along 51st Street has a relaxed ambiance. The extensive wine collection has garnered awards for 16 years running in Wine Spectator’s World’s Best Restaurants for Wine and Where to Drink Well lists. Friday happy hour is from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. with special drink and menu prices added to the cheer.

Wine is known as an art lovers beverage of choice and will make its debut in the craft beer garden this year. Look for Edina Liquor to showcase fair-friendly vintages. This is a clear indication of how the 50th and France Business and Professional Association likes to switch things up and keep the fair fresh.

Craft brews will also be in full bloom at the beer garden courtesy of The Freehouse and Edina Grill. The Edina Grill and Freehouse partnership for the Edina Art Fair craft beer garden is a three-year tradition. “The Edina Grill craft beer garden is one of the first designated beer areas at the Edina Art Fair,” says Mailliard. “People can stay and enjoy a beer, listen to their favorite band. The beer garden’s location is awesome, right by the stage.”

The Freehouse Brewery handcrafts beers for all Blue Plate Restaurants, including the Edina Grill. The spirit of freedom and inclusion is built into the name. All Freehouse beers are logically numbered in a system that aligns to a commitment to consistency on every level. Quality brews with a light to medium body are designed to complement food choices. “Brewers keep in mind what people will be eating when they drink the beer,” says Anna Mailliard, marketing manager at Blue Plate Restaurant Co. At the Edina Art Fair, choose from Freehouse No. 1 – Kölsch-Style Ale, No. 2 – India Pale Ale, No. 3 – Brown Ale and No. 11  – Belgian-Style Witbier. The Freehouse brewmaster’s dedication to care and quality is the cornerstone of each blend. And at $6, a beer won’t break the bank.

In addition to tap beers for the grownups, the beer garden offers a kiddie cocktail (the Edina Grill is known for its kid-friendly atmosphere) and bottled water so no one feels left out of the fun. In the event of fickle June weather, a 30 x 40 tent provides protection from rain and heat.

The Edina Art Fair is a very busy time at the Edina Grill. There’s “a lot of foot traffic at the actual restaurant,” says Mailliard. The patio facing France Avenue affords a prime spot for people watching, especially during the art fair. The Edina Grill’s traditional foods with a twist menu is a local favorite that wins over visitors, too.

To the east, Red Cow will throw a big party for the Edina Art Fair and everyone is invited. For the second year, Red Cow will be the anchor of the east food court. “Come with the kids. Hang out with friends,” says Michael Giacomini, director of finance and marketing. “There’s a little something for everybody.” It’s part of what makes the Edina Art Fair atmosphere so unique. All ages come. Families are everywhere having a good time. The Red Cow parking lot is turned into a beer garden featuring beanbag toss games, live music and multi-generational entertainment.

The large crowds include locals and regulars but also plenty of new faces. “The Edina Art Fair is a time to touch a lot of people who come to the area and keep them coming back,” says  Giacomini.

The Red Cow food stand on 50th St. will feature the slider versions of the double barrel burger and 60/40 burger, plus beet and quinoa salad, potato chips with onion dip and the famed beer-battered Wisconsin cheese curds. At $5 to $8 per item, it’s hard not to try a few.

For beverages, five craft brews – including a Lift Bridge IPA summer flavor – are more than enough to satisfy any brew buff. Also look for white and red wine and a summery cocktail on the drink menu. “Since the last art fair, we got our liquor license,” says Giacomini.

At the other end of the street, D’Amico and Sons has been an Edina Art Fair fixture since 1997. The restaurant has been involved with the Edina Art Fair every year. “How much depends on our appetite.” says Larry D’Amico. “This year, we have a big appetite.”

Roll in the food truck. For the first time, D’Amico will have a truck on Halifax Ave. near the restaurant in the west food court. Call it gourmet Italian food on wheels. “Food trucks are cool,” says D’Amico. “...kind of a millennial thing.”

The D’Amico catering truck will depart from its usual Mill City lunch spot to serve Edina Art Fair features including Italian sausage and peppers sandwich, all-beef dog Bolognese, toasted Caprese panini, focaccia pizza, lemon basil lemonade, Italian sodas and cold-press coffee. These housemade Italian goodies have street food prices from $5 to $8.

The family-style restaurant and spacious patio will also be open for business. “People like to come in for a break,” says D’Amico. The longstanding casual restaurant is known for our family atmosphere. Families are the backbone of our restaurant. Whether dining in or take-out, the goal is for people to enjoy their experience. “Our job is to make people happy,” say D’Amico.

We’re certain you’ll leave the Edina Art Fair happy and also pleasantly full from this winning food and beverage line up.