The All-WCHA dining team

Until last week, many at the Grand Forks Herald thought the most-read stuff in the paper was college hockey. Marilyn Hagerty proved that to be very wrong. It’s food. So, it’s time to combine these pillars of life into one blog post: the All-WCHA dining team. (And no, the Grand Forks Olive Garden did not make the list).

First team (food stops)

Glacier Brewhouse, Anchorage. The place even smells good when you walk in. It’s got a fireplace right in the middle and just a great feel to it. The food is amazing. I’ve crushed the Bering Sea king crab legs, Alaskan halibut and Alaskan cod there. All unbelievable.

The Cherry Cricket, Denver. Solid atmosphere. Amazing burgers.

State Street Brats, Madison. Classic place and it’s perfect if you want to watch a game. TVs are everywhere. Solid setup. Solid food.

Upstream Brewing Company, Omaha. Go with the burgers or steaks. You won’t be disappointed.

Street hot dog vendor, Colorado Springs. Seriously. There’s a guy with a stand on Tejon Street. Find him, order the spicy cajun dog. It’s unreal. Has a kick to it. One time, my friends and I were trying to catch a cab for a half hour in freezing weather. We finally got one to stop, but he wouldn’t let us bring the cajun dogs in the car. We sent him on his way and waited another half hour for a cab. That’s how good they are.

Second team (pizza places)

Campus Pizza, Minneapolis. The location is perfect, a couple blocks from the rink. The pizza is amazing. I make it a point to get there every time I’m in town. And to top it off, the owners love college hockey. You can’t go wrong.

Deek’s Pizza, Grand Forks. You can’t dine in there, but you can order pretty much any time of the day. It’s cheap and the pizza is outstanding. My Deek’s love is well known in these parts. I likely played a key role in them deciding to expand to Fargo.

The Ambassador, Houghton. I didn’t stop here on my first trip to Houghton and have regretted it ever since. I enjoy thin crust pizza and nobody does it better than the Ambassador — not even Duane’s House of Pizza in Fargo.

Pagliai’s, Mankato. It’s open past 1 a.m. The deliver time is speedy. And the pizza is awesome. It always fuels me while writing my rewind blog posts.

Pizza Luce, Duluth. If you like crazy pizzas, this is your place. I’m a pepperoni-only guy and I still like this place.

Third team (arena food)

Ralph Engelstad Arena, Grand Forks. Great assortment of food. Almost every stand has a unique twist to it. I found a new favorite at the end of this season: the cajun chicken strips at the stand by the student entrance.

Sanford Center, Bemidji. Not a lot of vendors, but if you go to the end of the rink, they have a chef cutting fresh meat. It’s different a different meat both nights of the series. And they have some outstanding soup there.

World Arena, Colorado Springs. There’s a stand near the elevator that’s on the opposite side of the concourse as the other vendors. You can find a lot of great stuff there. Pulled-pork sandwiches are a winner.

Magness Arena, Denver. At one end of the arena, they have a guy cutting up some fresh meat. It’s usually solid.

AmsOil Arena, Duluth. I’m not a fan of most arena pizza. Most of the time, it has been under a lamp for a long time and is terrible. I tried some pizza at AmsOil and it was surprisingly outstanding. Went back the next night for some more.

And for the top awards…

Player of the year: Glacier Brewhouse, Anchorage. No brainer. I only went there four or five times on the trip in December. I wanted to try a pizza place up by campus, but couldn’t pass up a single meal at the Brewhouse. I miss it greatly.

Rookie of the year: Texas de Brazil, Denver. My first experience at a Brazilian-style steakhouse, where they bring different meats to your table nonstop until you can no longer eat anymore. What a wonderful concept.

Coach of the year: John Sweeney, Denver. College friend of mine responsible for introducing me to the Cherry Cricket, Texas de Brazil and the spicy cajun dog. And no coach can get by without great assistants. Andrew Gunkelman and Tyler Nelson played key roles in landing at these great food stops.

30 thoughts on “The All-WCHA dining team

  1. Have your friend in Denver check out Biker Jim’s hotdogs in downtown and also the Piper Inn for wings. Wings have to be Asian style, not the regular hot wings since anyone can make those. Make sure he tastes test the Asian. If your hotel is not downtown, I probably would not drive all the way downtown for the Biker Jim dogs, but if you’re nearby you have to do it. I believe he is still at 16th & Arapahoe.

    • Biker Jims is great, it is a regular stop on my way to Coors Field. In addition to their cart on the 16th St mall they now have a restaurant at 21st and Larimer.

      The Piper is on my list to try for wings, thanks for the advice on Asian style.

    • Just to clarify the location, Biker Jim’s dogs across from the MD&F clock tower on 16th street. Reindeer, buffalo, maybe wild hog, not sure, but all non-beef for sure. He touches up the meal with cream cheese I believe.

  2. Deeks pizza? They’re not horrible, but come on! Rhombus Guys would have been a better call for sure. I will give you props for not saying Red Pepper.

    • I eat both and the best pizza for the money is Deeks hands down. Rhombus is good if you like the flashy pizza but just good ole one topping pizza Deeks is great.

  3. Schloss, for Brazilian steakhouse in Denver, I’d highly recommend Rodizio. It’s near Union Station, a few blocks south of Coors Field. It’s where Theresa and I had our rehersal dinner, as well as our first date. The food is unreal, the service is spectacular, and you gain like 6 pounds by the end of the night.

    Otherwise, I think your list nailed it. At least you didn’t say Slap Shot pizza. ;-)

    • I agree about Rodizio. They opened one up in Fort Collins, also. Oddly, while the meat is awesome, the salad bar is spectacular. They have everything you can imagine.

      6 lbs? Heck, try ten!

    • I’ve been to Rodizio, Fogo De Chao and Texas de Brazil here in Denver. And Texas de Brazil is the best in my opinion. Best meat, amazing sides, great wine list, great atmosphere. Its a bit of a drive compared to the other two, but well worth it.

  4. I so agree about Rhombus Guys. Its one of my favorite pizza places. Savoy is a bit too much for me. Amazing, but I need tums for a chaser :) Ians is great though. Finally love Upstream in Omaha. I’m there quite a bit for work and love going there. Although I also like M’s Pub. Great list though Elliott. Made me hungry!

  5. Anchorage alternatives that have always been great…..

    1. F Street Station – a small pub downtown close to the Brewhouse – outstanding deep fried halibut – sit at the bar and watch them prepare your meal. Reminds me of the Golden Hour Halibut on Wednesday nights.

    2. Gwennies – breakfast spot that serves your typical food but good and a lot of it.

    3. Try a reindeer dog from one of the street vendors – cajun style. You’ll like them if you like the dogs in Colorado.

  6. I must make a trip to Houghton (has anyone ever said that) to see if this pizza truly does match up with the thin crust, grease soaked goodness that is Duane’s House of Pizza.

    Brazilian steakhouses are the best. Meat sweats all around!!!

  7. If you get back to Anchorage, you HAVE to hit Gwennie’s. It’s right by the Millennium hotel, and the food is outstanding. Humpy’s (downtown, not far from Glacier, actually) is very good, too.

  8. My vote is Ian’s in Madison, too, if you can get in. Your writing makes me hungry and it makes me want to travel around and just eat. Very creative post!

  9. Gotta give you kudos for the Upstream pick. It’s a great atmosphere and is, perish the thought, better in the summer time. Nothing like bocce on the roof with a few beers.

  10. I don’t know if there’s one IN Denver, but Near Denver there’s Beau Jo’s. If you haven’t had one, you haven’t had Colorado pizza.

    • To possibly make it onto your team of pizza, you do have to try Beau Jo’s pizza. It’s about twenty blocks from DU. Not too far. Also, only a few blocks away from the DU campus, is Sushi Den. Rated one of the best sushi places West of the Mississippi. The owner has his fish flow in overnight from Japan by his brother. All the sushi chefs are ex-restauranters and very skilled.

      Denver has just too many great places to go to. I think any Denverite would have to agree with that.

      • Beau Jos is good. When i spent a year at CSU in Ft. Collins we used to eat there a lot. Honey with the crust was awesome.

        • Sushi Den is overrated. For better sushi, you gotta head down to Lone Tree and hit Yuki Sushi. Miyama is down there too, if you want a Japanese meal. Ask for Yo-Yo to cook your food.

  11. Brad,
    Another great place in Anchorage is Humpys, it’s just down the street from the Brewhouse. You have to try the fish tacos. The halibut is very good also. Bonus: The best beer selection in downtown Anchorage.

  12. Beau Jo’s is the best. Rhodizio is awesome, Cherry Cricket, Illiegal Petes… you guys are making me miss Denver. Wazees Supper Club is good eats too.

  13. Tav on the Ave in Mankato is a very respectable spot for wings, beer, and their cheese covered super fries. For my money though, an “everything” grinder in GF is the answer before Sioux games.

  14. Love this tongue in cheek and “don’t read it when you’re hungry” piece! You know dining in my home state of CO better than I do — guess we’ll credit your coaching staff :-) Enjoy your writing immensely — thanks! Go Sioux!

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