The Free Press, Mankato, MN

November 11, 2013

Mankato’s growth expands local menu

Downtown Irish pub, BullChicks, Ummies in works

By Mark Fischenich mfischenich@mankatofreepress.com
The Mankato Free Press

---- — MANKATO — Mankato’s growth spurt might be prompting some hunger pangs. Three more food and drink establishments are on the Mankato City Council agenda today, including an Irish pub downtown, a burger/wrap/wing restaurant off of Victory Drive and a sports bar on Front Street.

The burger/wrap/wing place is a chain, but one that’s little-known in Minnesota. Texas-based BullChicks has seven locations in the Lone Star State and one apiece in California, South Carolina, Kansas and Minnesota (Chaska).

Five more BullChicks franchises are coming soon, including the one that will occupy vacant space in the new strip mall just southeast of the Victory Drive/Madison Avenue intersection that’s also home to Dickey’s BBQ, Cherry Berry and a Jimmy John’s shop — all of which opened in the past year. Also under construction near that intersection are a Hardee’s and a Marco’s Pizza.

BullChicks’ menu features 19 burger options, 15 varieties of hoagies, 20 kinds of wraps, 20 salads and 10 flavors of chicken wings.

The restaurant rates its wings on a 1 to 10 Fire Wing Scale, with 1 being “your mouth on a spring day” and 10 being “your mouth after three days in a Sahara sandstorm.” BullChicks also offers its Fire Wings Challenge where patrons can win a T-shirt and a $10 gift certificate if they can consume seven wings with a Fire Wing rating of 15 in five minutes. Contest rules prohibit even a sip of any beverage during the eating or for the “five minutes of after burn” when contestants must sit still following the final wing.

The new Irish pub, called the Bicker Inn, will be at 100 E. Walnut Street behind the civic center. Occupying the vacant first floor of the 87-year-old LaSalle Building, the Bicker Inn will be a very long, very narrow bar and restaurant with an interesting “Irish fusion” menu, including breakfast on Fridays and weekends.

The building — 154 feet long and just less than 21 feet wide — is to include a game room focusing on shuffleboard, a dining room and a barroom. Owner/operator Patrick Schindele included a proposed menu with his applications to the city for a liquor license and conditional use permit.

The menu includes appetizers (such as corned beef and cabbage egg rolls or mussels in Guinness and garlic), sandwiches (how about ham with a deep-fried poached egg coated in Cap’n Crunch?), soups and stews (including Thai shepherd’s pie and Irish chowder topped with salmon), and entres (options include chorizo bangers and mash and stuffed pork chops).

Beverages will include craft beers and a large variety of whiskeys and Irish drinks, according to documents submitted by Schindele, who said he has more than 14 years of experience in the bar and restaurant business. The documents show Schindele opening the restaurant by December.

Ummies Sports Bar, at 530 S. Front St., will be attempting to break a two-bar losing streak at the location. Kabobs Skewers and Drink opened there in spring of 2011, closed during a reported ownership shuffle, reopened and closed again before coming back as the short-lived Lucky Bucket.

Erin Amdahl is listed on the liquor license application as a partner in Ummies. No other details of the business plan were submitted to the council.