Mar 4, 2021 - News
Pandemic pain for Minneapolis park food vendors

The operators of food stands at Minneapolis parks had a rough 2020 as the pandemic cut into business.

The state of play: Overall revenue at Sea Salt Eatery, Bread & Pickle and Sandcastle was down a combined $2.4 million, or about 44% compared to 2019, according to data from the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board.

  • Sea Salt Eatery at Minnehaha Falls, the most popular of the three, lost 54% of its revenue. It had done $3.4 million in sales before the pandemic.
  • Kim Bartmann's Bread & Pickle at Lake Harriet was only down about 14%.

Why Bread & Pickle fared better: The food stand added delivery and curbside pickup and expanded its operations, Bartmann said.

  • It also may have missed out on disruption from this summer's civil unrest — which was located closer to the other two vendors.

The big picture: Bartmann, whose company also owns Barbette and Pat's Tap, estimated that her traditional restaurants lost 70 to 75% of their revenue last year compared to 2019.

What's next: Despite the down year, more food options are coming to Minneapolis parks!

  • Owamni by the Sioux Chef, an Indigenous foods restaurant, has been planning a spring opening at a new building next to St. Anthony Falls.
  • The Park Board is in the design phase for a new pavilion, scheduled to open in 2023, on Bde Maka Ska. The former lakeside refractory burned down in 2019 and displaced vendor Lola, which is now serving from a food truck.

This story first appeared in the Axios Twin Cities newsletter, designed to help readers get smarter, faster on the most consequential news unfolding in their own backyard.

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