Editor's Note: Our football teams may be adversaries, but our newsrooms are not. This article is brought to you through a content-sharing partnership among the Philadelphia Inquirer, Boston Globe, and Minneapolis Star Tribune. Thank you for supporting local journalism, no matter where you live.
The big spenders flooding into downtown this week are sending prices soaring for some items ahead of the Super Bowl.
From $65 parking to $1,000 caviar or $800 for a night in a Shakopee hotel, the laws of supply and demand are kicking into high gear around the Twin Cities as a crush of visitors descends on the region. Locals may not be willing to pay the eye-popping prices, but businesses are counting on some fervent football fans opening their wallets and purses.
One downtown restaurant, Ike's Food and Cocktails, caused an internet uproar Monday when word leaked of a $36 guacamole and chips on its Super Bowl menu — alongside $72 beef skewers and other pricey items. A manager said the guacamole should have said $12, and the regular menu would still be available, but the restaurant is now offering a free order of guacamole to people who order something else and mention "Guac-Gate 2018."
Some restaurants are rolling out special menus with offerings tailored to the high rollers. The Oceanaire's Super Bowl night menu includes $1,000 Iranian gold caviar, $72 for arctic char or $99 for 24 ounces of lobster tail. Penny pinchers may want to stick to the $14 side of creamed corn.
Oceanaire did not respond to messages seeking comment.
Beer prices are up $1 at 8th Street Grill, said manager Mike Stewart. Other establishments are sticking to the normal fare. Kaz Treharne of Gluek's said they have the same menu and pricing as usual.
"We heard about Ike's yesterday and we were like, 'Ohh, Ike's, what are you doing?' " Treharne said.
Brit's Pub on Nicollet Mall is raising beer prices by only fifty cents and parking by $3, but general manager Shane Higgins said the festivities are a big opportunity for restaurants struggling with the city's new minimum wage and sick time requirements.
"This week really is a chance to try and get something back," Higgins said. "Because it's well-known out there that restaurants' bottom line is razor-thin. And with all these huge increases to do business, people do have to exploit it a little bit this week."
Others are taking some Super Bowl precautions. Grand Cafe in south Minneapolis required credit card numbers for weekend reservations with the understanding that there would be a $100 to $300 no-show fee, depending on the table size — though cancellations are OK. General Manager Nikki Klocker said they made the decision after hearing from others in the industry with past Super Bowl experience who warned that some people make multiple reservations and go to only one restaurant.
All of that might seem like a bargain, though, compared to the game itself. A multi-ticket suite with food and beverage options was listed at $325,000, though you could still snag a "cheap" ticket in the upper corner for about $3,800.
It will cost at least $276 to see Pink perform at the Armory on Friday night. And people paid $60 for a hat and $54 for a T-shirt at the NFL Opening Night event Monday in St. Paul.
Downtown parking prices have been volatile. Some encountered $65 event rates on Friday night at a ramp on 6th Street, according to a tweet from Fox 9 reporter Paul Blume. The same ramp was charging $35 on Tuesday night and its operator, Chicago-based SPPlus, did not return messages seeking comment.
The city of Minneapolis operates more than a dozen ramps downtown. City spokesman Casper Hill said the city is charging $20 event rates during certain hours at the four ramps closest to major activities. That is higher than normal event rates at those ramps, which typically peak at $12.
Parking expert Donald Shoup, a UCLA professor known for his extensive research of parking markets, said critics of the higher rates should consider what they would charge if they rented an open stall near U.S. Bank Stadium.
"If you wonder how much something is worth, auction it," Shoup said. "What's happening with parking, it's just a never-ending auction. When the demand goes down, the price goes down. And when demand goes up the price goes up."