For those missing fair week, All Fried Up, the food trailer, is offering at least a taste of some deep-fried food to tantalize the taste buds on this last full month of summer.
All Fried Up, based in Baxter, serves chicken strips, Polish sausage and rib tips — all with seasoned fries — or the fair food people may be missing like fried pickles, cheese curds, fried green beans and spinach artichoke dip and flatbread and mac and cheese bites.
All Fried Up are in the parking lot near the Washington and North Fourth streets intersection, by the former Papa John’s, Friday, Aug. 14, and is a regular Wednesdays at the Franklin Arts Center in Brainerd.
“It actually has been good,” said Sabrina Andrew, who owns and operates the food trailer with her husband Wade Andrew. “It’s been nice. We usually travel all summer. It’s been nice to be home and we take weekends off and we really haven’t had a weekend off in 10 years.”
Sabrina Andrew said they enjoy having the food trailer at local events and with the coronavirus closing down all the usual fairs and places they would be traveling to, they’ve been able to focus on things close to home, including an upcoming softball event on Mill Avenue.
Their first time out was Memorial Day weekend near Landsburg Nursery and then they created a regular stop at the Franklin Arts Center beginning in June. They’ve been encouraged by those welcoming a local business with the food trailer and noted the city of Brainerd allowed them to be in the parking space by the former Papa John’s even when it wasn’t on their original options for a food truck site. The city regulations mean food trucks are not allowed within 300 feet of a restaurant but that changed with Papa John’s no longer in business, although Andew said she still needed to get permission from Papa John’s to locate there as business permission is required.
“The city of Brainerd has been really good to work with,” Andew said.
The couple works together at FedEx Ground in the early morning and then has time for the food trailer in the afternoon. Working together at both locations, Andrew joked that it was a good thing they like each other.
While the most popular food item typically varies by location, this year, Andrew said, it’s been the cheese curds and deep-fried pickles as people miss the fair food experience.
Recently the city of Brainerd considered fewer food truck restrictions after getting inquiries from operators and hearing concerns from food truck owners that Brainerd’s ordinance is too restrictive such as being farther than 300 feet from nearby restaurants.
“With the cancellation of the State Fair and pretty much every county and local fair, food trucks are out and about and trying to find places to operate. A lot of these food trucks have big followings. They bring people to the communities of which they’re a part. I think there’s an opportunity here for the city of Brainerd,” Community Development Director David Chanski told the city’s safety and public works committee prior to a July council meeting. Then last week, the city council decided it was too late in the summer to make changes because the council would have to go through a formal ordinance amendment process taking an estimated two weeks or more.
City code allows food trucks to operate in certain areas around west Brainerd, the county government center, downtown, the Northern Pacific Center, the intersection of highways 18 and 25, Brainerd Industrial Park, Central Lakes College and the Franklin Arts Center.
Minnesota Makerspace is now open in downtown Brainerd at 217 S. Seventh St., with kits for do-it-yourself activities. The business, owned by Chris Smith, who was a finalist for the Destination Downtown Business Challenge, and came to life in downtown Brainerd just as the coronavirus was changing business as we know it.
Smith said he wishes they could have opened even earlier. They have ready to go kits for children and adult activities and are working to have classes for kids and adults with social distancing. The goal is also to have space for Makerspace members who want to create their own projects, perhaps for their own small businesses for sale or gifts, and just need the space and all the tools to do it.
Rendezvous Brewing is now open in Hackensack. The business opened for takeout only in late June and then opened the taproom July 3 with socially distanced seating. On Aug. 1, the brewery hosted its grand opening to serve more customers at its 112 S. First St. location.
“We started out with soft openings to allow for us to build up our supply and selection of beers,” said Head Brewer Doug Toth in a news release. Toth co-owns the brewery with his wife, Sue.
“The brewery was a collaborative idea,” Rendezvous Brewing reported. “Although Sue grew up in Hackensack, their family has always spent as much time there as possible. Retiring there was always expected, but Doug wanted to do something more, too, since ‘we are too young to retire!’ They agreed that by starting a business, they could give back to the community they both enjoy. Starting a brewery would be their way to provide a place for people to ‘rendezvous’ and share a couple of stories and pints of fresh locally brewed beer.”
Rendezvous Brewing found a building a block off Highway 371 near the Paul Bunyan State Trail near the statue of Paul Bunyan’s girlfriend Lucette.
“It is only five blocks from where Sue grew up and you can view the beautiful sunsets over Birch Lake from the large picture windows in the front,” the brewery reported of the nearly 5,000 square foot building. One room is set aside as a party room or meeting space, but can be used as additional taproom seating if needed.
Rendezvous Brewing tidbits:
The first batch out of their five barrel system was similar to what Sue’s grandfather, Pat Harrington, might have brewed back in the ‘50s when he and his wife, Laura, operated the original Rendezvous Restaurant, which was located across town where the Birchwood Char House is located today.
Their first beer is called Chapter One. It sold out in two weeks. The brewery is continuing Chapter One added it as a menu regular.
Two other beers on the menu are Hopmazing, a double dry hopped Northeastern IPA, and Smilin’ Eyes, a dry Irish Stout. The brewery reports there are four more in the fermenters waiting for the yeast to finish its work. They also have a non-alcoholic offering of Kombucha, brewed locally by Ya Sure Kombucha from Pillager.
Regular hours are 12-6 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.
The Brainerd Lakes Chamber of Commerce is hosting a “Buoy the Chamber” lakeside social event from 5-8:30 p.m. Aug. 20 as a fundraiser for the chamber at Madden’s on Gull Lake in its new pavilion. The chamber reported all proceeds will support its work to help small businesses survive and succeed through the COVID crisis.