Stadium Village hosts tasting event

Local restaurants had discounts and prizes for the Taste of Stadium Village event.

Freshman John Hokanson, third year pharmacy student Jenny Wong, and first year medical student Kyle Tamming enjoy a mini blizzard from Dairy Queen for the Taste of Stadium Village event on Thursday, April 25, 2013.

Chelsea Gortmaker

Freshman John Hokanson, third year pharmacy student Jenny Wong, and first year medical student Kyle Tamming enjoy a mini blizzard from Dairy Queen for the Taste of Stadium Village event on Thursday, April 25, 2013.

Meritte Dahl

 

Kerianne Steucke and about 10 of her friends ate at Applebee’s, Dairy Queen, Kitty Corner Café, Dino’s Gyros and Raising Cane’s  — all in under three hours Thursday evening.

University of Minnesota students flocked to get a taste of the neighborhood’s food and beer offerings as part of the Taste of Stadium Village.

The event was part of the neighborhood’s efforts to bring customers back to the area now that the heavy light-rail construction is over, said organizer Chris Ferguson.

“It’s not a construction mess like it was a while ago,” he said.

Many businesses in Stadium Village suffered losses during the construction, which began on the University’s campus in 2010.

A year after construction began, Ferguson estimated that area businesses had suffered a 20 to 30 percent loss in revenue compared to the year before, according to a June 2011 Minnesota Daily article. Customers had a difficult time reaching the businesses due to transit and parking issues.

Now, most work has subsided and the Central Corridor light rail is scheduled to begin service in 2014.

To draw in more customers, some of the restaurants in the neighborhood offered $1 food items, and some of the bars offered $2 pints of beer during the six-hour event.

Steucke, a biomedical engineering graduate student, said she and her friends planned to stay for the beer special as well.

Stub and Herbs bar manager Regan Haffele said more than 100 people came in for the special.

“It was definitely more [people] than usual,” he said.

The event was the first of its kind for the neighborhood, said Ferguson, who owns the Stadium Village Dairy Queen and Bywater Business Solutions.

Some of the businesses had lines out the door, including Dairy Queen, which sold more than 500 food items during the evening, Ferguson said.

Francis Chang said he and five of his friends tried waffles and chicken tenders that evening.

“It’s good to sample places you haven’t been to,” the University biomedical engineering freshman said.

Architecture sophomore Brad Wicks said he attended Taste of Stadium Village because the regular prices are too expensive.

“I wanted a nice variety of cheap food,” he said.

The Hole Sports Lounge, located on the edge of Stadium Village, surprised its customers with its $1 specials, said server and University student Angela Ugorets.

“A lot of people didn’t know before coming in,” the animal science senior said.

Jason Adamidis, the owner of the Stadium Village Dino’s Gyros, said almost 500 people had visited the restaurant, but the warm weather could also have been a factor.

Applebee’s hosted a Summit Brewing Company beer tasting and gave out prizes on its patio.

Several attendees won prizes ranging from Stadium Village-emblazoned products to Campus Pizza gift cards and two Minnesota Twins tickets, Ferguson said.

Steucke spun the prize wheel and won a prize pack, which included a Stadium Village T-shirt and drawstring cooler bag.

Ferguson and Bywater Business Solutions account manager Emily Stoeckmann planned the event with Summit and the Stadium Village Commercial Association.

The pair asked neighborhood restaurants to sign up for the event. Some restaurants that did not participate this time around have said they want to get involved next year, Ferguson said.

He said he plans to make Taste of Stadium Village an annual gathering and hopes to add a similar event in the fall.