STAPLES — Beck’s Burger Co. in Staples is not your typical bar and grill.
The burger company doesn’t just serve any kind of hamburgers — it serves homegrown premium United States Department of Agriculture-approved beef raised on Mike Becker’s land in Staples. Becker and his son Devin Becker purchased the building — which used to be leased by Twisted Sisters off Third Street Northeast in Staples — and Devin manages the burger company.
Customers not only may get two juicy patty burgers in a toasted bun topped with anything they’d want — from a Philly cheesesteak burger with “one big ole patty topped with a mushroom and onion blend, bacon, Beck’s sauce and Mike’s favorite American cheese” to a single patty burger topped with bacon to a cheese curd burger with Beck’s sauce. The options are endless.
However, even though burger is in the bar and restaurant’s name — it’s known for more than its burgers, such as its Asian menu Tuesdays when the place is packed day and night. Customers can build a bowl with their choice of fried rice or yakisoba noodles to include beef and broccoli, sweet and sour chicken, Gochujang chicken, shrimp, potstickers, egg rolls or orange chicken. They have several sauces to pick from: sweet and sour, orange, Gochujang, Korean, barbecue, garlic teriyaki or peanut.
They also make a few varieties of grilled chicken, such as their grilled chicken breast topped with bacon, tomato, lettuce and a creamy avocado poblano sauce.
And what makes Beck’s Burger Co.’s burgers so great?
“We don’t hand patty, we scoop and smash, we do the smash burger,” said Tomasenalyn Lingenfelter, the kitchen manager. “So it gets a good caramelization on the bottom and it doesn’t get dry.”
Lingenfelter said they are known for their burgers and they have burgers on the menu and burgers not on the menu that people can order. The burger company has redone its menu a couple of times and made the tough decision on which burgers would make the cut.
“A lot of our locals will order the ones that are not on the menu, such as the mac and cheese burger,” she said, adding this is the case for the cheese curd burger as well. “All our burgers are two patties with two slices of cheese, except our Beck’s Burger has three patties (with pepper jack and cheddar cheese, shredded lettuce and Beck's sauce).”
Hamburgers on the menu include their popular cowboy burger, topped with onion rings, bacon, barbecue sauce, cheddar cheese and a deep fried pickle.
Beck’s Burger Co. tries to have food specials each day, but it has been a learning curve in the summer months. Mike Becker said summers are weird in Staples. The bar and restaurant is about two blocks off Highway 210, but Becker said not too many people stop their travels to eat in Staples like they would in the Brainerd lakes area.
“We’re still trying to figure out a way to bring people in,” Lingenfelter said and Becker agreed. “In the winter we had a fish fry on Fridays and we recently quit doing that because people weren’t too interested in that right now.”
Becker said Mondays customers can purchase a $5 burger with homemade chips and this has been received well. He said they’ve also had to make decisions about certain foods as prices on some items have increased because of the pandemic. Chicken wings for instance increased so they have to make a decision to pass the price back on to their customers or to discontinue it.
“Even though people are aware that everything is changing, they are still bothered when it actually affects them,” Lingenfelter said. “It can have some backlash for us. So instead of having that backlash we consider just saying sorry we don't have any chicken wings right now.”
Lingenfelter said produce prices also have gone up and she said all of a sudden some things are hard to get. She said they haven’t been able to get duck bacon wontons since last spring and won’t be able to get anymore until this fall.
“You really never know what you’re not going to get,” she said.
Becker said last fall they weren’t able to get any alcohol for weeks. He said the food shortages began in July. He believes part of it is due partially to labor shortages.
“We’ve been lucky,” Becker said of finding good employees. “The ones we hired when we opened are pretty much still here.”
Beck’s Burger Co. is open 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturdays; and closed on Sundays.
“We started being open on Sundays, but when the governor shut us down a second time ... we were like, forget it,” Becker said. “We just didn’t have enough traffic in Staples and Mondays were pretty slow, until we started the $5 burgers.”
The start of the business
The business opened in August of 2020 in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Devin Becker said he knew the man who owned the building, who was renting it to Twisted Sisters. He said Twisted Sisters was leasing the building and decided to close its business. It was early on during the pandemic, in March or April of 2020 when the property owner asked Becker if he wanted to purchase the building. Mike and Devin Becker said it was an opportunity and one they didn’t take lightly. They toured the building a few times and took about a month before making a decision.
Devin Becker, a 2009 Staples-Motley High School graduate, said the property owner was given his name by a friend who knew Becker as he ran a few bar and restaurant establishments in Brainerd for this friend.
“They were fishing in Costa Rica actually and the guy I was working for said I may know a guy,” Becker said of someone who may want to purchase the Staples building. “I wasn’t really looking to open a business ... but after looking at it a couple of times and there was a lot of work ... we finally made a decision to try it out.”
The Beckers closed on the property June 6, 2020, and got to work. They spent the next two months remodeling the building before they opened in August. They added windows to lighten up the place and finished and painted the walls. With the help of family and friends, they worked on the plumbing to the electrical work.
“There were dark green walls in here before, so we brightened it up a lot in here,” Devin Becker said. “Then we had the downstairs and we had to tear all of that up.”
The upstairs of Beck’s Burger Co. consists of the main bar and dining room. The walls are made of knotty pine with high and low top tables. The high top tables have more of a retro style seat with black leather-type cushions being held by a metal steel pole.
The downstairs includes a kitchen and a lounging area. The Beckers said at this time they have no future plans to expand their downstairs. They are using the lower level for private parties.
The Beckers said they had a lot of names picked out for the place. They knew they wanted whatever name to end with company, not bar or grill. And Beck’s is part of their last name.
“Everything is called a bar and grill and we wanted something different,” Devin Becker said. “It was going to be something like chicken company, burger company or beer company and Beck’s Burger Co. is the one that stuck out and we liked.”
Devin Becker said another thing they wanted to focus on was to have a lot of different beers from local areas. They offer 21 tap beers and they switch them out often to keep it interesting and popular with the customers.
During a July 21 interview, tap beers included Castle Danger Castle Cream Ale, out of Two Harbors; Pontoon Lime Ale from Roundhouse in Nisswa; Centennial Session IPA from Big Axe Brewing in Nisswa; Loon Juice Strawberry Shandy, a cider from Spring Valley, Minnesota; and Blueberry Pastry Sour from Jack Pine Brewery in Baxter.
The Beckers said about 80% of their customers are regulars and are from the Staples area.
The Beckers said the pandemic didn’t impact the business greatly. When they first opened, the state just allowed businesses to reopen for indoor dining. People then were excited to get out of their house and go to a restaurant or bar and then the Beckers had a new place for people to try.
“We had a good start,” they said. “Until November, when they shut us down again. Things were slow for November, December and January. We did carry-out and we still do.”
The Beckers said by fall, they expect things will begin to pick up again at the business. They also do dart and pool leagues to bring in the people.
What customers had to say
Deb Wiese and Kristie Larsen, who both work at Lakewood Health System in Staples, stopped at Beck’s Burger Co. for lunch. It was Wiese’s second time eating at the business and Larsen is a regular and comes often.
“I like the people, they are very nice,” Larsen said. “My favorite thing on the menu is the club melt, they have a different bun on it that I like.”
Wiese lives in Wadena so doesn’t get to the business often. She said the service and the food have been good and she said the atmosphere is nice compared to what it was.
Kathleen Ferrel, who also is a regular, stopped for takeout for lunch. She works at Staples True Value and also is a member of the Staples Chamber of Commerce. She said sometimes she comes for takeout just for herself and sometimes she’ll get some for other coworkers. They also order takeout for various chamber events.
“We get takeout a lot here,” she said. “It’s awesome, great service and the food is great. One of my favorites is Tuesday’s Asian (special). It’s delicious. I’ve never had bad food or bad service here.
“Their specials are usually really good and they make homemade chips and queso and they are delicious. And when I come for my pickup order, Victoria always has a water waiting for me.”
Beck’s Burger Co.
City: 119 Third St. NE, Staples.
Number of employees: Two full-time employees: Vicky Nitti, main server, and Tomasenalyn Lingenfelter, kitchen manager; and 10 part-time employees.
Interesting fact: The business offers 21 tap beers.