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What the Hell Was a ‘Groover,’ the Metrodome’s Mystery ’80s Menu Item?

We asked Dome experts for additional intel.

Because, apparently, no other media operation in town has the gumption and/or resources for it, the "Metrodome food nostalgia" beat has fallen to Viraluae. Our reporting began with this 2,000-word ode to the big, wet, salty, beloved Dome Dog, and continues today with a Dome chow mystery: What in god's name was a Groover?

That question has racked the brains of literally dozens of Twins fans since earlier this week, when Facebook group Stuff About Minneapolis posted the following Metrodome concessions menu from 1983:

As scanned from the official '83 Twins program.Stuff About Minneapolis

The mind, of course, jumps to how sick it'd be to chuff heaters and chug jumbo $2.75 beers while watching Tom Brunansky mash Cold War-era dingers, though the Groover captured the comment section's fascination. Few context clues exist. It's $1, which would be $3.14 in 2024 dollars, and it's positioned amid the desserts. Digging deeper, we hit the Strib archives for variations of "groover metrodome" and "groover twins," yielding surplus "groomer" misreadings (yikes!) yet precious few answers.

So we then turned where we turn for all Metrodome oddities: Michael Haas, the curator of nostalgia site Metrodome Dreamscapes and the co-inventor of this wacky baseball vibes contraption. Here's Haas:

Oh man, I've seen that image but I totally glossed over the Groover. Literally the only food-adjacent reference to a Groover online that I could find was here. If you control-F it, blog guy says it's a churro? Time period makes sense, at least… I bet it was a churro—they have grooves, after all.

Haas then steered us toward Steve Rushin, the great Minnesota-launched Sports Illustrated reporter who, it turns out, worked Metrodome concession stands as a teen in 1983. Here's Rushin:

I was 17 but my Dad forged a copy of my birth certificate to prove to ARA Services (as Aramark was known then) that I was 18 and could legally sell beer. I sold a lot of beer but never sold—or saw, or heard of—a Groover. Given its menu placement between cotton candy and the Frosty Malt, I'm guessing it was a dessert. Or was the Groover the culinary equivalent of a trap street, the fake roads that cartographers put on maps to sniff out anyone copying their work? Whatever the hell it was, I kind of want one.

Another strike out!

Paul Merrill, who runs Stuff About Minneapolis, put out additional feelers on our behalf. But it seems, at press time, the exact nature of the Groover remains a mystery lost to time and Metrodome toilets.

Or is it.

Moments before we smashed live on this post, Rushin came through with his superior prowess navigating the Star Tribune archives. Below you'll see a June 6, 1982, Minneapolis Tribune article that, in a strange blur of editorial and advertorial writing, informs readers about two recent food advertisements.

One of 'em hypes an "NEW EXCITING SNACK"—the Groover!

Manufactured by New Jersey-based frozen food giant J&J (aka the SuperPretzel people), the Groover is billed as a churro, a cinnamon donut, and a funnel cake ("BUT BETTER") all baked into one "crisp, sweet pastry of Latin origin."

The promise of a "UNIQUE & HIGHLY PROFITABLE" snack must've tantalized infamously racist Twins owner Calvin Griffith, who'd sell the team to Carl Pohlad in 1984. We challenge the Pohlads to commemorate 40 years of ownership by bringing the Groover back for this coming season. Who knows, it might just conjure some cosmic hardball forces that guide the Twins to World Series wins in 2027 and 2031?

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