The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

December 2, 2012

Several restaurants opening in Mankato, North Mankato

There are a lot more choices for tickling your palate as a host of restaurants are opening or have opened.

Two former restaurant sites — Famous Dave’s and TGIF — are home to new restaurants: Boulder Tap House and Bonfire.

Boulder Tap House opened last week in the former Famous Dave’s location, next to Drummer’s Garden Center and Floral.

Steve Denn, assistant general manager of the Tap House, said that after a soft opening Nov. 24-25, business has been brisk.

“Things have been wonderful. We’ve exceeded our expectations.”

They feature 38 different beers on tap, including more than 30 craft beers.

“We have gourmet, home-made burgers, unique gourmet sandwiches, salads, and we feature 20 different kinds of wings. We make all our sauces from scratch,” Denn said.

Paula Rathman is general manager of the restaurant, which has 65 employees.

The owner of the restaurant also owns the Mankato and Willmar Grizzly’s restaurants and a Boulder Tap House in St. Cloud.

Bonfire is set to open in about two weeks in the former TGIF location next to Town & Country Suites.

The Mankato Bonfire, which features a wood-fire grill, will be the restaurant group’s first location outside of the Twin Cities.

The 8,000 square foot restaurant has a 150-seat dining room, complemented by a large outdoor patio to seat 70 and a bar and lounge area to seat 50. 

Bonfire also will provide the hotel room service and catering.

Anthony Benedetti will be the general manager and the restaurant will add 100 jobs.

Bonfire has a long-term relationship with the Make-A-Wish foundation. Coinciding with the Mankato opening, a child from New Ulm has been selected for the next wish to be granted. Culinary Director Mo Moore will create a signature dessert based on the child’s favorite flavors. Bonfire then donates 35 percent of the proceeds from the dessert sold to fulfill the child’s wish to visit Disneyland.

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