Within the collapse of the hospitality industry in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic, small food businesses have had to get creative with business models in order to keep functioning. Smaller, start-ups in particular are forced to find new ways to reach customers, without the benefit of farmers markets or pop-ups. Quebracho and Vikings & Goddesses Pie are supporting each other by teaming up with online delivery for both empanadas and fresh-baked pie.
Belen Rodriguez and Rachel Anderson first met when they were both operating stands at the Linden Hills Farmers Market. Rodriguez sells savory empanadas, charcuterie boards, pate en crote, and more savory items. She combines her Argentina roots, with techniques learned cooking at Francis Mallmann’s 1884 Restaurante and on the line at The Bachelor Farmer back when Paul Berglund led the kitchen.
Her empanadas were part of the wave of those savory little pies that seemed to flood the Twin Cities market last year. Quebracho’s popular pop-ups were known for selling out quickly. “When when COVID-19 hit and we knew our businesses were going to take a hit we started exploring ideas about how we could bring our food to people,” said Rodriguez. “[Rachel] offered to sell my parbaked empanadas on her website, and I started selling her decadent pies in mine.”
Rachel Anderson is a pastry chef who has worked in several prestigious kitchens, including Bellecour, before landing inside the former Salty Tart cafe in St. Paul’s Lowertown. Her Vikings & Goddesses pies were garnering attention as her own business, while she worked for the True Stone Coffee Cafe that had recently opened, before the pandemic hit. “I was honestly a bit cocky going into this pandemic. I was a pastry chef for Octo Fishbar and True Stone, had built up our wholesale accounts, and was just doing Vikings & Goddesses business on the side since it wasn’t market season or the holidays.” The statewide shutdown was a shock at first.
“I curled up and stared at the TV for a while, but knew I had to get up and think about those that I worked with and how I could use my business to get them some money and something to do,” said Anderson. Her work includes a whole array of pies like pecan, key lime, honey chess, and more.
The two are both available for a sweet and savory crust-wrapped meal, plus Quebracho is currently donating 15% of its proceeds to Second Harvest Heartland.