Photo: Art Sidner
Mankato: Tandem Bagels
Co-owners Tony and Anne Frentz went back into the bagel business earlier this year, opening Tandem Bagels at Walnut and Second. Tony had helped build Bagel Brothers into five successful locations before selling out to a relative. The Mankato location eventually closed in 2002 at the height of the low-carb craze.
The impetus for starting the new Tandem Bagels came in part from co-owner Anne. In a telephone interview, she said, “I was a stay-at-home mom for 11 years and eventually wanted to do something in business. Tony kept saying we should start a bagel store because people had been asking him to do one. So we decided on that.”
While Tony renovated a former bar into a bagel shop, bought equipment, and has been the bookkeeper, Anne has added an international flair to her daily counter work at Tandem Bagels. Born and raised in Germany, she met Tony in Mankato after arriving here in 1994 to work as an au pair (a nanny) for Kent and Jane Schwickert. To get Tandem Bagels off the ground, Anne worked with Lisa Friend, now the manager, on the interior design and logo.
Said 37-year-old Anne in a telephone interview, “Our bagels are made from scratch in our own bakery. We boil the bagels before baking, which is key. That makes them fluffy, but chewy. Our recipe is what we used with Bagel Brothers.”
The shop sells a dozen flavors of bagels, bagel sandwiches, soups, salads, and baked goods. It tries using only local, organic, and natural ingredients, and making everything fresh from scratch—even the cream cheese. Its best-selling sandwich has been the “Nicollet Bike Shop” that combines sliced turkey, avocado, cilantro, provolone cheese, lettuce, tomato, and onion. Sandwiches are named after local businesses.
Said Anne, “I love all the people that come in. We try to have a happy, positive atmosphere. We have really good employees.”