The Beast Food Boutique offers a unique and eclectic shopping experience, selling products that range from best-selling chicken tenders and wings to grab-and-go charcuterie to Minnesota sweatshirts to yard games all in one place.
“I call it a food boutique because you can get amazing gourmet and restaurant-quality items as well as shop, now, over 100 local and Minnesota-made products,” owner Jeni Bobholz said.
The Beast started when Bobholz decided to make the best out of a difficult situation. It was 2020 and Bobholz’s other business, the Circle Inn bar in North Mankato, was forced to closed due to the pandemic.
She was looking for new ways to generate revenue when Sysco Foods approached her.
“They asked if I wanted to try to sell restaurant-quality frozen food to our customers,” Bobholz said. “We started advertising the food and it just took off! I had to buy seven total large freezers just to keep up with the demand.”
The way The Beast took and delivered orders was unique, even for the pandemic.
“We took orders through Facebook … all the orders were picked up outside under a tent,” Bobholz said. “We also did vendor shows to showcase more local products, and my daughter and her friend did ice cream treat sales to raise money for local charities. It then moved into the back room of the Circle.”
Once restrictions were lifted, demand for The Beast’s products was still there, but so was the need for space at Circle Inn. Bobholz started to search for a new space. It needed to be near the Circle Inn, at street level, with parking and plenty of space to grow.
“We found the perfect spot on Belgrade Avenue, right down the street from the Circle,” Bobholz said. “The name The Beast came from the fact that it truly became a beast and took over the bar and my life for a bit.”
The Beast opened in its new space in December 2021. Its unique business model, passionate staff and quality products will carry it forward through the peaks and valleys of the pandemic and beyond.