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5 great Twin Cities restaurant events this week: Pride, food trucks, pinball and more

Looking for plans in the next seven days? Check out these five must-do food-and-drink themed events around the Twin Cities.

1.    Beer and Pride. It’s Pride weekend, which means you’re out and about, hitting any number of parties around the Twin Cities. One Friday night option that involves tossing back a couple? The Beer Dabbler at Minneapolis’ Pride hub of Loring Park. Fifty Minnesota breweries will be on hand pouring specially made beers inspired by the queen herself, Lady Gaga. Food trucks and live music complete the affair. Tickets are $45 in advance and $55 on the day of. Find more information here.

2.    Food Trucks Galore. If you, like us, are fans of the many excellent food truck operations that have cropped up around town, you’ll be in good company on Sunday at this Uptown bash (11 a.m. to 9 p.m.) celebrating all culinary things on wheels. Check out the more than 60 rolling kitchens, grab a drink, listen to live music on the two stages and play some bags or giant Jenga while you’re at it. There’s no cover for the event. Find more information here.

3.    Cocktail Battles. What do you get when you combine a libation showdown with a fish fry and a live DJ? You get Trophy Hunt, the second annual event (4-7 p.m. on Sunday) hosted by Eat Street Social. Come watch as the local slinging masters face off for the ultimate accolade. Industry favorites – including me! – will be judging the creations. Hey, it’s a tough job but someone’s got to do it. Find more information here.

4.    A Tasty Cause. This state can put together some pretty spectacular (and pricey) meals, but if you’re going the distance, what better way than to do so while supporting a good cause. Thursday’s Taste of the Nation Hotlist at Nicollet Island Pavillion, runs at $75 for general admission (and $125 for VIP), but the meal is sure to be memorable. On board: chefs from the likes of Bar Brigade, Grand Cafe, Zen Box Izakaya and the Fish Guys and drink masters from Bittercube, Fulton Beer and Tattersall Distilling on board. Proceeds will support No Kid Hungry. Find more information here.

5.    Pinball and Hot Dogs. Looking to join a new league of sorts? Tilt, the latest restaurant project from the Nightingale folks, is offering up one that allows you to eat and drink WHILE participating (though we do worry that slamming a hot dog while pinballing could affect your score). Register during this Pinball Twin Cities’ preseason party, play in a split-flipper tournament and of course grab a dog – might we suggest the Boss Lady with sauerkraut, beer mustard and onions? – while you’re there. Find more information here

Town Hall Brewery expands to Edina with new 'road food' restaurant

When Pete Rifakes, co-owner of the growing Town Hall family of bars, discovered his next venue, a 1950’s service station in Edina, he decided he wanted to honor as much of the original charm as possible.

Thus Town Hall Station was born.

The bar and restaurant housed in the former Wally’s Service Station at 4500 Valley View Road debuted last week with a mechanical-inspired space, a menu full of “road food,” and, of course, plenty of Town Hall’s house brews.

“People living in the neighborhood, we’ve found they feel some nostalgia about the building,” Rifakes said. “They told us they were glad we didn’t tear it down because they owed a lot of memories to that place.”

Rifakes – who also owns Town Hall Brewery in Seven Corners, Town Hall Tap on south Chicago Av. and Town Hall Lanes to the east of Lake Nokomis – is taking those memories into a new era.

In the renovated space that fits 140 people inside and out, gas station themes take the lead, with a vinyl “filling station” graphic featured along one wall. Lighting is reused from industrial warehouses in northeast Minneapolis. Tables are made from steel. And the booths are patterned after motorcycle seats – black leather with silver studs. Eventually, Town Hall Station will be adding some framed photos of the original Wally’s, which closed in 2014, as well.

On the menu, patrons will find fare influenced by the travels of Rifakes and head brewer Mike Hoops when they’ve explored the country for conventions, beer festivals and to see new breweries.

“We love good food and when we travel, we look off the beaten path for places that are making good, scratch food,” Rifakes said. “To us, that’s what road food is. It’s going to be affordable, local and high quality.”

The lineup at Town Hall Station will include some items that are also served at the other restaurants, such as the bratwurst with house-made sauerkraut, mustard and potato salad, as well as some unique dishes, including a slew of tacos – braised beef rib and marlin tacos among them – and the "brewer's double" burger (pictured, courtesy of Town Hall Station).

Though Town Hall won’t brew on site, the Station will boast 13 taps of Town Hall Brewery’s beer (as well as other local and worldwide beers) and a special brew made just for this location: the Pitstop Cherry Lager, a dry-finishing lager incorporating Michigan tart cherries.

“I was skeptical to be honest,” Rifakes said. “I’m not a big fruit beer guy. But it’s amazing. And it’s super easy drinking in the summer.”

Cocktails – such as jalapeno cucumber margarita and the summer rose, a gin drink with lavender, blueberries and lemon – will also be available. Town Hall Station is open from 11 a.m. to midnight Sunday through Wednesday and 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Thursday through Saturday.

Photos of Town Hall Station are courtesy of Dan Roth.

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