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WCCO Viewer's Choice For MN's Best Game Day Brunch

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, unless it's game day Sunday.

Then you need to kick off your morning with a pregame brunch.

As the football season starts, we went out in search of the "Best of Minnesota" for game day brunch.

Your votes sent us to a place that boasts old world charm, without being stuffy: Ike's Food and Cocktail in Minneapolis.

Football teams prepare all week for their big Sunday game, and this week's winner does the same.

Ike's start Sunday brunch prep on Thursday, with their famous free caramel rolls. And on game day, you can smell the bacon from blocks away.

On game day, these culinary veterans at Ike's Food and Cocktail are prepared.

Because as owner Gene Winstead says, Sunday football and brunch go together like Ike's and Vikes.

If the quarterback calls the plays, Executive Chef Andy Shrader calls the plates.

"I would say I'd like to be the quarterback of the operation," Shrader said. "These are my same guys I've had for pretty much the whole eight years I've been here. I've had them cooking eggs. We are an extremely small operation, tucked between a parking garage and loading dock."

The operation may be small, but the food is huge and ordered family-style.

"We make it seem like you're hanging out at your buddy's house getting ready for a, you know, a party," Shrader said.

The keys to the game are plate-sized pancakes, fluffy eggs Benedict, overflowing bloodies and caramel rolls the size of your head.

These menu benders take their pregame brunch as seriously as they take the game.

As every football player has their pregame warmup, these Most Valuable Brunchers have their own routine.

Regulars Kathy and Jody come every Vikings Sunday.

"We've been coming here probably 10-12 years. Yeah, that sounds right," Kathy and Jody said. "This has become our tailgating."

Bill Morris, managing partner of Ike's, says they offer a different experience.

"We're consistent, we have quality food, we have lots of food. And again it's great service and a cool room," Morris said.

Ike's is located in downtown Minneapolis on 6th Street and Nicollet Avenue. They open at 9 a.m. on Sunday game days, and seats fill up fast.

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