COVID-19 closure spurs a new twist
Not all is lost with the coronavirus at least when it comes to food stands trying to wet people’s appetites with their specialties.
With fairs and community celebrations and festivals being forced to shut down because of the COVID-19 outbreak, many food vendors have been left without places to sell their treats and goodies. But for the owners of Classic Concessions of Blooming Prairie, which has featured grilled pork chops for 33 years, they have found a new opportunity.
Dean Goette and his family have established a makeshift pork chop stand in the parking lot of Farmers First Ag located along Hwy. 218 next to Casey’s. They opened for business last Thursday and plan to be there every day throughout most of the summer.
In addition to pork chops, the stand will feature brat patties and hamburgers along with some side dishes. They are also thinking of adding walking tacos and pulled pork sandwiches.
For years, the Goettes have used buns from the Bakery in Blooming Prairie. However, this year will be different because the Bakery is no longer in business after a devastating fire in January. “We are disappointed that we don’t have the Bakery,” Goette said, adding he is thankful to Gregg Fristedt for all the years they were able to utilize his products. The Goettes are now using Hy-Vee products.
“It’s a family affair,” Goette said as he grilled up another pork chop with his daughter and grandchildren helping in the background serving guests. Goette has six grandchildren and expects at least three of them will help during the summer. One of them is Anna Kittelson, who will be a senior at Blooming Prairie.
Goette said, “It’s all Anna’s idea.” She shrugged her shoulders in doubt. “Better be or we will have to rewrite the contract. No free rides,” he replied.
Some of the funds will go for Kittelson’s college fund. In the past, she has been a life guard, but that opportunity has been taken away from her this year because of COVID-19.
With all events being canceled for this year, Goette said, “This could turn out to be a better option.” He was quite optimistic after the first day of operations last week.
One of his first customers was a truck driver, who pulled his big rig over and grabbed some lunch. The driver gave Goette a $50 bill and told him to serve the next 3-4 police officers. “It just gives me shivers,” Goette said of the nice gesture. Goette said he will do even better and serve all police officers and troopers for the entire summer free of charge as appreciation for their service. “We’re all American,” he said.
The Goettes started selling pork chops at Blooming Prairie’s Fourth of July celebration in 1988. Since then, they have expanded to several area county fairs with the largest one being the Steele County Free Fair. “The Steele fair has always been the best for us,” he said.
Another situation influenced the Goettes to try the pork stand this summer. The Subway restaurant located just a block away closed its doors earlier this year leaving a void for people wanting to get a quick meal.
This is not the first time the Goettes have operated a food stand outside of the fairs and festivals. In 1996 and 1997, they also had a food stand near Subway.
The stand can handle large orders, but the Goettes prefer if you call ahead with a large order. Orders can be placed at 507-327-8438. They will be open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. “When the two big flags are up, we’re open,” Goette said.