ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) - It looks like The Original Deep Fried Cheese Curd stand at the Minnesota State Fair is not going down without a fight.
Co-owners Dick and Donna Mueller introduced deep fried cheese curds to fairgoers in 1975 when they opened their stand on Dan Patch Avenue. Earlier this month, the Muellers announced they were retiring after 42 years in business and that the stand would be closing.
But, there may be more to the story.
Dick and Donna’s son, Tom Mueller, says he has been trying to work with the Minnesota State Fair to keep the stand open and in the family.
Mueller published an open letter to the Minnesota State Fair on Tuesday. In it, he says he submitted an application to the State Fair to continue running the family’s stand, but was told they had decided to “go in a direction other than continued sale of the cheese curds” at the site.
Now, he’s asking them to work with him to find a way to stay.
“Can you imagine a Minnesota State Fair without cheese curds?
Neither can I, but that’s how it was before my family fried up the very first batch there in 1975.
Now fairgoers eat more than 2.6 million cheese curds every year!
It’s a tradition we and our employees are proud of starting and one we’d love to keep up from our booth on Dan Patch.
Unfortunately, you’ve decided we can’t do that.
You wrote to me April 5 — more than a year after I submitted my application to continue running our family’s stand— and said that closing our business and forcing us off the fairgrounds “is in the best interest of the State Fair and fair guests.”
Our sales represent roughly 20 percent of all cheese curds sold at the fair and our employees and customers alike return year after year, so I don’t know whose best interest you have in mind.
I don’t think this is right and I want you to reconsider.”
Mueller is not alone in wanting The Original Deep Fried Cheese Curds stand to stay open on Dan Patch.
After hearing that the stand would be closing, cheese curd fans started a change.org petition to #SaveTheCurds. The petition currently has more than 1,000 signatures.
At the end of the letter, Mueller makes an appeal to “all the lovers of cheese curds, state fair traditions and doing the right thing.” He asks supporters to write to the Minnesota State Fair on social media and tell officials to #SaveTheCurds.
You can read Mueller’s full letter here.