Takeout Tuesday: “Bike Squad” Delivers Food for Marna’s Eatery in Robbinsdale
Costa Rica is roughly 3,500 miles away from the Twin Cities, but for a taste of the Central American country’s cuisine, look no further than Robbinsdale.
“We’re actually the only Costa Rican restaurant in Minnesota,” said Rolando Diaz, owner of Marna’s Eatery and Lounge. “Offers authentic Costa Rican food, and this is right in Birdtown too, so a nice little gem.”
Diaz and his wife, Nicole, opened Marna’s in 2015. It started as a catering kitchen, evolved into a small cafe, and became a full-blown bar and restaurant after they expanded into the neighboring space in September of 2019.
“So we got about six months until we had to close, and then open, and then close,” Diaz said with a laugh.
Navigating through a pandemic is certainly not something he had in mind, but in this age where restaurants need to offer takeout to survive, Diaz came up with an innovative way to get food to his Robbinsdale customers.
“I thought about, what if to pick up a little more of the to-go and the curbside, to offer delivery,” Diaz said. “First it was just delivery by car, and then I was, ‘what if we like, do it on a bike?’”
And that’s how he formed, the Bike Squad.
An innovative delivery option
Diaz happens to be an avid cycler. So every Thursday for the past month, he and some of his cycling friends get together for the sole purpose of hopping on their bikes and delivering orders to anyone who lives within a three-mile radius of Marna’s, at no additional cost.
“Hospitality, restaurants, have been a tough place to make a living the last year,” said Scot Bolland, a member of the Bike Squad. “And so anything that we can do to help out, we certainly want to do whatever we can.”
Bolland is one of the Bike Squad members. He and the rest of the Bike Squad team receive food and a cold glass of beer as compensation.
“There are worse ways to spend a Thursday night, that’s for sure,” Bolland said.
Many of their deliveries require navigating Robbinsdale’s roads through the cover of darkness in less-than-ideal conditions. But this crew has all the right gear to ride their bikes year-round and ensure that drivers can see them.
And in the end, someone gets their food in a rather unique way for a Minnesota winter, while the Bike Squad members get to do something they’re passionate about.
“I have great support from my friends,” Diaz said. “They obviously do it for fun. They’re going to ride anyways, and then why not do it helping a friend too? You know, to bring more business in,” Diaz said.
“We’ve kind of joked that we’re waiting for really bad weather, miserable for us, in order for people to really take advantage of it, really make us run,” Bolland said. “But it’s been a lot of fun.”