Showing posts with label restaurant supplies. Show all posts
Showing posts with label restaurant supplies. Show all posts

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Rapids Restaurant Equipment Expanding Retail to the Twin Cities

Rapids Restaurant Equipment - St. Paul, MN

Rapids Wholesale to Open Cash & Carry Store in The Twin Cities

ST. PAUL, Minnesota (Oct. 2, 2013) -- Rapids Wholesale is proud to announce plans to open a new cash and carry retail store in St. Paul. The 19,000 square foot retail space will carry everything you need for your restaurant, bar, civic organization, church, school, home gourmet kitchen, employee dining facility and more . . . anywhere high quality foodservice, bar equipment and supplies is needed or desired. 

"We have listened to our customers and plan to have plenty of what you need, when you need it -- on hand and ready for immediate use in your facility!" - Joe Schmitt, Co-Owner

The new location will be located conveniently off of highway 280 and Como Ave (next to Appliance Smart). There will be a friendly and knowledgeable group of associates willing and able to assist you with all of your restaurant equipment, bar equipment and supply needs.

Harold Parten has been appointed to be the General Manager of the new facility. Parten comes to us from an extensive retail and wholesale distribution background including the Target Corporation. The store will operate with a staff of 4-6 sales associates and the St. Paul contract and design team will be relocating to the new facility as well. There will be several thousands of items in stock for sale at the new store location.
"I am excited to be a part of the Rapids family and look forward to meeting the talented chefs and foodservice people in the Twin Cities." - Harold Parten, General Manager

The New Rapids Restaurant Store Will Be Located Here

2475 Doswell Ave
St. Paul, MN 55108

View Larger Map

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Two-in-One Technology Meets the Modern Commercial Kitchen │ Hobart Combi Ovens

Hobart Combi Oven at Rapids Wholesale
Hobart Combi Ovens at Rapids Wholesale

Technology constantly advances as we find ways to combine our gadgets. Those who stay on the cutting-edge carry their phones, high-resolution cameras, high-speed internet, music, and videos all in a single, pocket-size device. This works when it comes to entertainment — so why not apply the same concept to your kitchen? Combining technologies is a great way to save time and money while enhancing the quality of your products.  And adding a Hobart combi oven from Rapids Wholesale is a great place to start.

Commercial combi ovens combine the mechanics of a convection oven and a steamer, allowing users to benefit from both cooking methods in a single dish. Luke Green, a Rapids Contract and Design specialist familiar with Hobart combi ovens — he’s used one to cook mac-and-cheese, twice-baked potatoes, chicken on the bone and other yummy dishes from scratch in Rapids’ own test kitchen — sees French fries as a great example of steam/convention oven cooking.  Green described how you can forego a fryer and fatty oils by using steam to create a humid cooking environment. Then, in the last few minutes of cook-time, you switch the oven to convection mode. This crisps your fries on the outside, Green said. Using this technique, you can offer a healthy side dish without sacrificing taste, texture, and appearance.

“It’s how you go about cooking your product in a combi oven that sets them apart from a standard oven,” Green said. “To achieve the same results in a standard oven, you have extra steps and multiple pieces of equipment needed.” 

Check out this Rapids Exclusive video series with Hobart's "Combi Guy" David Sager, CFSP and Combi Oven Product Line Manager - Hobart Corporation

Rapids can set you up with either a full-size or half-size Hobart combi oven, with 6, 10, or 20 levels. In addition to setting the temperature on these ovens, you can also customize the level of moisture in all 5 models by adjusting the humidity at percentage points between 0% and 100%. On top of that, you can change the airflow in the cabinet by setting the speed of the combi oven’s fan. This comes in handy for delicate recipes, like meringue pies and pastries. Technology like this gives you greater control over a wide variety of recipes.

These models even let you program up to 100 recipes at time. And, as Green explained, Hobart’s combi oven design is the only one with a bar code scanner that works in conjunction with recipe-programming. After setting the recipe for a particular product, you just scan its barcode, and the oven will remember how to prepare the product. Hobart combi ovens are self-cleaning, as well, which will definitely save time in your kitchen!

Almost all food service establishments stand to benefit from using a combi oven. Green said catering businesses, educational institutions, and upscale restaurants might feel the need most. Any venue that calls for hassle-free, consistent bulk-cooking will likely see a big difference after installing a commercial combi oven.

Green said although adding a Hobart steam/convection oven won’t eliminate your need for other cooking equipment, Rapids can provide you with a quote to help meet your needs efficiently. Green and others on the Rapids contract team can assist you in determining which equipment to have on hand with your commercial combi oven, and which items you can skip. Contractors can also go over the possible energy-savings benefits of choosing a combi oven. To modernize your kitchen, get in touch with a Rapids contractor or sales rep, give us a call at 1-800-472-7431!

Written by Holly Hines

Friday, June 28, 2013

Perfect Product Fast, No Hoods or Microwaves Necessary: Ovention Matchbox Countertop Oven

Pepperoni pizza. Paninis. Chocolate chip cookies, chicken, cheesy bread, and chewy brownies. People love baked favorites like these. Now, imagine serving them at lightning-fast speeds, without using microwaves. With the Ovention Matchbox countertop oven, now you can! Here at the Marion location of Rapids Wholesale, we saw the evidence with our own eyes — on a bus, no less, where Ovention Sales Rep Aaron Ulmer and Midwest Professional Rep Chris Merritt offered product knowledge, and prepared us a fast, mobile feast.

As Merritt and Ulmer demonstrated, the Ovention Matchbox can be used as a portable convection oven, a conveyor pizza oven, or an outdoor oven for mobile carts — making it one of the best and most versatile countertop ovens. It stands at just below 21 inches tall and 62 inches wide, with a depth of 35 inches. And the technology built into this convenient, mini oven gives it some unique powers.

For starters, the Ovention Matchbox is safe for ventless operation. That’s right — no hood required. This is true thanks its catalytic filtration system, the same technology used to filter emissions from cars. The filtration limits the Matchbox’s output of smoke, grease, and other vapors. It can’t handle fatty raw proteins, like bacon, but it’s good to go for most anything else! 

This includes offering a high-variety, quick-service menu without sacrificing quality. The cabinet design of the Ovention Matchbox, another of its highly unique features, makes this possible. The Matchbox comes with two self-loading compartments that shuffle into and out of the heated chamber on their own. While your product is baking, this chamber stays shut. No energy or heat can escape, unlike a conveyor oven. The result? Lower energy bills, and a 3-minute bake-time for pizzas.

Check out this video of the Matchbox Oven in Action from Rapids' YouTube Channel!

More on the Ovention Matchbox Commercial Oven

Inside the Ovention Matchbox’s chamber, a variety of products can bake one after the next. You program your own recipes based on variables including temperature, timing, and upper and lower air velocity. Adjustable velocity is key, as this is what allows Ovention Matchbox to produce perfect crispy-crust pizza at one moment, then chewy deep dish the next.

And there’s almost no wait to change temperatures for different products. This sets the Matchbox in a class above most countertop pizza ovens and portable convection ovens.

The Ovention Matchbox is also ridiculously easy to operate. Once you preset up to 1,000 recipes, a touch screen on the front allows users queue up the perfect formula for each product at the touch of a button. It can also display the wait time for customers.

As Midwest Professional Rep Chris Merritt emphasized, the Ovention can work wonders in a multitude of venues. It’s an obvious choice for mobile carts and convenience stores. But it’s also great for businesses or institutions providing a limited late-night menu after shutting down the kitchen. 

If your business could benefit from the Ovention Matchbox’s many talents, or if you’re looking for more information on this countertop oven’s capabilities, don’t hesitate to give us a call at 1-800-472-7431 or jump on Rapids Online Chat! One of our sales reps will be happy to go over specs, shipping, pricing, and anything else you may need to know.

Written by Holly Hines

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The “Eyeballing Method” Vs. The Portion Scale: Why Food Portion Control is Key

Edlund Scales at Rapids Wholesale
Portion Scales at
If you’d like to save money and improve your menu simultaneously, you may want to take advantage of our current sale on an inexpensive tool to help with both goals: a portion scale. You may be thinking: why should I spend on portion control tools? My staff can eyeball the correct portions, right?

Unfortunately, that may not be the case. Using an “eyeballing system” could end up costing you. Inexact portioning can lead to several negative consequences, including over-use of costly ingredients, funny-tasting food, food with an unappealing appearance, and a growing number of unsatisfied customers. An Edlund scale may be the best way to avoid these issues. Allow me to illustrate.

Basic Kitchen Arithmetic and Portion Control Scales

Let’s start with a little math. As an example, say you own a deli, and your deli serves 100 turkey sandwiches a day. A typically-portioned turkey sandwich needs roughly 2 ounces of turkey. But, let’s say your kitchen has no portion scale, and the staff isn’t great at eyeballing. They may ere on the heavy side when it comes to turkey; let’s say an extra ounce per sandwich. If half your total sandwiches are made with 3 instead of 2 ounces, you spend on 50 unnecessary ounces of turkey a day. In a week? About 22 pounds. And in a month? That’s almost 100 lbs. of turkey. Never-mind the ham, roast beef, cheese, and other products you serve. These numbers are just examples, but you get the picture. Small amounts add up.

Now you may be thinking: I don’t want to skimp on serving sizes for my customers, either. And this is true. However, to provide a perfect sandwich, you need perfectly-portioned ingredients. The ratio of cheddar to ham or provolone to roast beef can make a difference. Once you find the right balance taste-wise and budget-wise, make sure your staff has the tools to stick to it.

Likewise, looks make a difference to the typical customer’s eye. If your meat portions look small compared to the bread you’re using, customers may go into the meal assuming it won’t fill them up. And if the portions really are too small, they’ll definitely leave hungry. After ordering a sandwich that’s thin in the middle, a first-time customer may not return, no matter how great the taste. Food portion control and an Edlund scale can help you create balanced-looking dishes to please customers’ eyes and stomachs.
The flip-side of that coin is that some people seek to avoid over-filling. Healthy diets are trendy, and portion control is a big part of any diet. Many restaurants offer particular menu items portioned to fit into customers’ healthy lifestyles. Customers counting calories and watching what they eat have their eyes peeled for portion sizes. Make sure the healthy section of your menu won’t disappoint them.

Food portion control is an easy way to keep all the above-mentioned customers appeased. It enhances both taste and presentation, and equips staff to produce quality products quickly and confidently. And, right now, Rapids is making the choice even more obvious by offering a great sale on select Edlund scales while supplies last! To take advantage of this deal, check out Rapids E-Newsletter Deals, and be sure to sign up for it on to receive these offers first, or a call a Rapids rep at 1-800-472-7431!

Written by Holly Hines

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Commercial Kitchen Cleaning Chemicals for Tough Grease Problems and Carbon Buildup

carbon off at
Commercial Kitchen Cleaning Supplies at

You may already come to Rapids for your restaurant and bar supplies. But what about commercial kitchen and restaurant cleaning supplies? Turns out, Rapids has that covered too!

When it comes to built-up grease and residue on bake-ware, pots and pans, stainless steel, fryers, and more, our sales reps have several solutions to offer. Take a look at some of our featured options:

Carbon-Off! Aerosol and Liquid Gel

Baked-on carbon that sticks to pans, muffin tins, Panini presses and other items can cost businesses. It can result in premature replacement of equipment, misspent labor, and inconsistently-prepared products.  Carbon-Off! available in both an aerosol can for regular maintenance, and a gel solution for tougher jobs makes carbon removal surprisingly simple, according to Patty Russell, National Sales Manager at Discovery Products, the company that makes Carbon-Off!

Carbon-Off! contains a thick, waxy paraffin that easily picks up residue. Russell demonstrated how it combats carbon for Rapids sales reps at the Marion, Iowa location this week.

Russell advises users to apply Carbon-Off! and then leave it to cool and dry. After only an hour, its job is done. At this point, users can literally peel or brush it away from the surface of pots and pans, taking layers of carbon with it.

See it action, check out this video . . .

Fryer Puck

During her visit, Russell described a tale of wasted labor that may be familiar to business owners serving fried food. It goes like this:

The fryer where profit-boosting French fries and other snacks are cooked needs cleaning. So, you send an employee away from the storefront, prep, or cooking duties to start the cleaning process and to babysit the machine in case the cleaner boils over.
Perhaps the employee gets bored, or distracted, or tired. For whatever reason, his attention drifts. The cleaning solution in the fryer comes bubbling to the top and spills over the edge. It’s back to step one. Meanwhile, you’re one employee down.

The solution? Take advantage of Fryer Puck’s low-foaming formula. It keeps the cleaner from boiling over, works on a variety of fryer types, and spares you wasted labor and a mess.

Russell explains how is works in this video . . .

Brite Shine

If stainless steel equipment in your kitchen is visible to customers, it’s on display and subject to customers’ scrutiny. To keep your reputation squeaky clean, you need to keep your equipment clean, too.

For jobs like this, we offer Brite Shine, a product that strips away grease and allows users to buff surfaces until they gleam. The website for Brite Shine states the cleaners contains only “food grade or other high quality” ingredients.
During a demo, Russell showed sales reps the results of wiping down the commercial refrigerator in our test kitchen with Brite Shine. Though its surface hardly looked dirty to start with, once all fingerprints and traces of grease were gone, the difference was obvious. Now, imagine this effect applied to all your greasy machines!

Live demo in our test kitchen in this video . . .

Foam Plus

Try Foam Plus to clean your ovens and even griddle tops. It can be used while the equipment is still warm!  Simply heat the dirty oven to 200°, spray your Foam Plus, wait a whopping 15-30 seconds and wipe off.  Rinse with a vinegar rinse. Done!

Patty explains how to apply in this video . . .

If you think any of these products might save you time, labor, or hassle, don’t hesitate to give us a call! Rapids sales reps are available to answer questions or place orders Monday through Saturday at 1-800-472-7431 or, you can place your order online at!

Written by Holly Hines

Friday, May 3, 2013

Vollrath Commercial Kitchen and Serving Equipment Review

Vollrath Commercial Restaurant Equipment at
Bright purple stainless steel bowls. Water-free soup rethermalizers. Fry pans with coatings that make sense, and tongs without springs. Intrigued?

If you are, you’re in luck. After a meeting with Vollrath District Sales Manager Jason Mercil, the sales reps here at Rapids Wholesale in Marion are prepared to help you learn about these new, unique items.

Vollrath Commercial Fry Pans

To start the education: fry pans. Anyone familiar with buying coated fry pans knows the topic can be complicated, and quality is especially important. Research shows non-stick coatings that contain PFOA, a man-made chemical compound, may be dangerous if repeatedly consumed. So, if tiny bits of the coating break off into food, that food may contain harmful materials.

The Federal Environmental Protection Agency is working with manufacturers to keep this chemical out of American-made goods. And Vollrath has made some changes, too. They now carry three PFOA-free types of coating:

PowerCoat 2 ™: This is the basic coating. It’s safe, durable, and simple.
Vollrath PowerCoat 2 at
Vollrath Fry Pan with PowerCoat 

Steelcoat x3 ™: This variety contains bits of steel right in the coating, making it extra-durable.
Vollrath Steelcoat X3 at
Vollrath Fry Pan with SteelCoat X3

Ceramiguard ™: This coating is the strongest. It contains bits of ceramic — even tougher than stainless steel.
The new coatings, Mercil explained, are also 20% stronger. This is because the layering process required to make the pans safer also makes them sturdier.

Check out this video of his presentation on Vollrath Fry Pans.

Vollrath  Commercial Small Wares

The topic of sturdiness brings me to my next category: small wares. During his presentation, Mercil illustrated why restaurant owners might find Vollrath ladles worth the price, compared to the economy line. To demonstrate, Mercil held a Vollrath ladle in one hand, and a cheaper variety in the other. After a few powerful flicks of his wrists, Rapids reps watched the economy ladle’s thin aluminum handle begin to droop and warp, while the Vollrath model stayed strong.

Here is the video, check it out!

Rapids reps also handled Vollrath’s Kool-Touch ™ Utility Tongs, with flexible memory metal that allows for a spring-free, one-piece design. This simple design involves less crevices and tiny spaces, making it easier to clean.

Check out how cool these tongs are.

But Vollrath does more than just pans and small wares. This includes water-free induction rethermalizers. These models offer more temperature control than other warmers, with a digital control that can be set in Fahrenheit or Celsius. Vollrath even offers bold colors, like red, green, and black models for occasions where the warmer may be visible.

Later, Rapids reps got a look at an item you may not immediately associate with Vollrath: a slicer. This slicer comes equipped with an easily removable blade to allow for quick clean-up — a feature most affordable slicers don’t include.

Vollrath Slicer at
Vollrath Slicer

At the end of the demo, we got a look at an array of colorful, curvy, unique sets of dishes and display and buffet wares. “We’ve really expanded our buffet line quite a bit,” Mercil commented.

In particular, Mercil showed off a set of stainless steel bowls in colors varying from a grape-like purple, to golden yellow, to two shades of green. These bowls are designed to hold food near its correct temperature without sweating on the outside.

Vollrath Bowls at
Vollrath Stainless Steel Bowls

Mercil also demonstrated an example of a Miramar ™ pan for buffets, which features contours that draw onlookers’ eyes inward, towards the food on display. The corners on these pans are designed to be stronger. They can also be used to pour contents straight from the pan.

Innovations like these keep Rapids working with Vollrath. They help us meet our goal of providing restaurant and business owners with creative, well-made products that make sense. To learn more about these and other Vollrath items, don’t hesitate to give us a call at 1-800-472-7431, where you can reach a sales rep!  Or jump on online chat!

Written by Holly Hines

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Blendtec Commercial Blender Training Review

Blendtec Commercial Blenders Training at

Imagine a commercial blender so quiet, the sound melts away into the background.  Sound nice?  Well, this month, the reps at didn’t have to imagine. We heard for ourselves when Bryan Bonine, a representative of The Pinnacle Group, paid us a visit to pass along his knowledge of Blendtec blenders. Bonine came equipped with a brand new model aptly named “Stealth” — a machine Blendtec calls the “World’s Quietest Commercial Blender.”

During a demo here at the Marion Rapids location, we watched as Bonine placed one of the two jars Stealth comes with into a sound-dulling enclosure, on top of a 3.8 horsepower direct drive. When he started the machine and dropped the lid on the enclosure, the noise diminished from a screech-like whine to something more like a hum.

But quiet isn’t the Stealth’s only feature. With 42 programmed blend cycles — it can take on a wide variety of recipes.  And if the 42 blend cycles don’t meet your needs, you can also customize your own using Blendtec’s Blend Wizard app. In addition, the Stealth can handle 200 or more blends a day, at 20-25 seconds per blend — perfect for bars and coffee shops pumping out high volumes of blended coffee drinks or frozen margaritas and daiquiris. In Bonine’s words, “every coffee shop’s going to want that because it’s so quiet.”

Check out this video of his presentation.

It’s also great for restaurants making dressing, vinaigrettes, and spreads. In fact, the Stealth can handle very fine-tuned blending recipes, thanks to a feature Blendtec calls “capacitive-touch control surface.” This means the machine has a touch sensitive, illuminated slider control you can swipe like an IPad to carefully control the blender’s speed.

Here is a closer look at the user interface.

The Rapids reps gathered a wealth of information to share with restaurant and business owners about the Stealth as well as other new blenders in Blendtec’s line-up. The Q-Series, which is a step down from the Stealth, features a less-advanced — but still effective — sound-dulling enclosure, as well as 30 programmed blending cycles. Another model, the SpaceSaver, does much of what the Q-Series can do without hogging counter space.  However, it lacks touchpad controls — and only the Stealth has the illuminated slider control.

So, what happens if your Stealth breaks or malfunctions? For starters, Blendtec covers parts, labor, and freight under a three-year warranty. And the drive socket? That’s covered for life.

If you want to see Blendtec’s blenders in action for yourself, go visit Bonine at the 2013 National Restaurant Association show in Chicago in May. Or, for something on the zany side, check out Blendtec’s YouTube sensation called “Will it Blend?” featuring proof that glow sticks, IPads, and even Justin Beiber are “blend-able!”  

Or, if you’re ready to order or get more information, call 1-800-472-7431, or you can jump on our online chat!

Written by Holly Hines.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Manitowoc Indigo Commercial Ice Maker Technology Training Review

manitowoc indigo
Manitowoc Training at Rapids Wholesale

Here at Rapids Wholesale, we had the honor of receiving some sage advice and wisdom from the area's leading authority in all things ice-related, Gene Lind, territory manager for Don Stevens, LLC and an expert in Manitowoc ice makers.  Gene walked us through the super cool technology behind the Manitowoc Indigo Series Ice Makers.  These commercial ice machines feature LCD displays that will communicate the results of it's intelligent diagnostic monitoring system to you and your staff.

Here is our product spotlight video of the Indigo series ice makers from Manitowoc on our YouTube page.

Check out the highlights of Gene's presentation in this video.  Below it, we'll go over some of the key points and tools he's talking about!

These Indigo machines feature a 16-line by 4-line LCD display screen that alerts the user on the condition of the equipment.  This gives you the ability to monitor it's status and set reminders for scheduled maintenance and cleaning.

Service Technicians will have the ability to upload machine status to a USB thumb drive for analysis.  

The menu is easy to navigate and provides users with pertinent data like machine status as well as serial numbers and production functions.  The menu can be displayed in different languages as well.  

Manitowoc Indigo Display Demo CLICK HERE!

For a "live" demonstration of the Indigos menu Navigation CLICK HERE and select the DEMO tab.

Through the menu on the Indigo machines, users get to select the clarity of their ice, also.  If you select a clearer cube setting, the machine will cycle and purge more water to obtain a clean, clear cube.  This is beneficial to businesses where plating and appearance is very important, and definately useful for those involved in food and beverage photography who prefer shooting natural ingredients.

Indigo machines can be password protected to deter staff and residents or guests from disabling the machine or adjusting the reminders.  I can just see it now: the stock boy fiddling with the cleaning schedules to get out of dirty work, ha!

Here is a video that shows how to clean the machines.

Indigo machines can be outfitted with the Automatic Cleaning System or AUCS for hands off, pre-programmed cleaning.  Cleaner and sanitizer bottles are hooked to the machine, and when it comes time for cleaning, the process is automated.  Other reminders can be programmed to alert you when to change the air filter and water filters.

The LuminIce feature is also available on the Indigo line, which prevents yeast and bacterial growth in the food zone of the machines.  This is an important feature for any restaraunt or other establishment that has a bakery.  LuminIce will keep the unit cleaner for longer periods of time using UV light to kill off bacterial growth.

Another neat feature for lower volume restaurants and especially for hotels and motels is the ability to set a timer for production times.  Using the timer will allow you to set the machine to idle production during the overnight hours not to disturb sleeping guests!

To figure out what size machine you will need for your establishment, you can use this handy ICE MACHINE CALCULATOR and then order yours HERE!

Here is a cleaning check list if you already own one!

manitowoc indigo
Manitowoc Cleaning Checklist


Monday, March 11, 2013

Thoughts on St. Patrick’s Day Liquor, Big Gingers and Irish Car Bombs!

Big Ginger in Collins Glass

Ok folks, we’re getting a bit closer to St. Patrick’s day and now it’s crunch time on ordering your bar supplies.  In the last story we went over proper Irish beer to stock.  If you missed it, go back HERE!  If you caught it . . . let’s move on to spirits, and the supplies you need to quench the forthcoming thirst!

There are few things Irish folk enjoy more than a cold pint.  Many would agree there is but one alternative or compliment to the beloved beverage . . . Whiskey!  As with beer sales, your whiskey sales will likely see a HUGE increase this St. Patrick’s day, especially those distilleries that call Ireland home.  

Leading the pack of Irish distilleries by distributing an amazing 32 million bottles a year throughout the world is the widely recognized Jameson brand, according to the wikipedia.  In the same article, we learn that John Jameson (actually a Scottish dude) established his distillery in Dublin way back in 1780.  Nowadays, Pernod Richard (a French company), owns the brand.   It's distilled in Cork, but vatting still takes place in Dublin and they pump out more than a million gallons a year.

Now get this!  There is a pub in Minneapolis called The Local that holds the world’s record for the largest amount of Jameson served averaging well over 20 bottles a day!  Wow.  Just . . . wow!  Apparently, their signature drink, the Big Ginger, was responsible for much of this unbelievable Jameson consumption.  

A Big Ginger is super easy to make.  Grab a Collins glass like the ones found here.  Fill it with cube or half dice ice.  Add two shots of an Irish whiskey.   Fill the rest of the glass with ginger ale, and garnish with lemon and lime wedges from your condiment dispenser.  

Condiment Dispenser from Rapids Wholesale

The Big Ginger is a hugely popular drink in the twin cities, not surprisingly due to the influence of one incredible Irish born personality, Kieran Folliard.  He is the founder of The Local, The Liffey, Cooper, and Kieran’s Irish Pubs scattered throughout the metropolis.  Not only have these pubs garnished their own individual success, but they became the testing grounds for his next endeavor . . . 2Gingers Irish Whiskey.  Folliard committed to creating his very own Irish Whiskey.

In their own words, 2Gingers claims, “The award-winning spirit is smooth, malty, and slightly sweet to start, with a tingle of honey and citrus. The woody essence of this four-year-aged blend suggests caramel and vanilla to the finish.”  And I have to admit, I agree with their description.  It is a really a solid Whiskey!

2Gingers was just acquired by Beam Inc. last December, but will continue to be distilled and bottled at Kilbeggan on the River Brosna in Westmeath County, Ireland.  Kilbeggan along with New Midleton, Old Bushmills and Cooley round out the four major distilleries in Ireland.

Now, for the super cool part!  Rumor has it 2Gingers is currently outselling Jameson in the Twin Cities area and can be found in most of the upper midwest spreading like wildfire.  I was able to pick up a bottle at my favorite spirits provider (and Rapids customer) Benz Beverage Depot.   Word on the street is Mr. Folliard himself is on tour promoting his Irish success with his motto “Bring your own luck!”  And he is coming to visit my home town for St. Patrick’s Day!  

You can join Kieran, and likely me, for a Big Ginger at Cedar Rapids’ very own Mahoney’s Irish Pub St. Patrick’s Day Street Party, Saturday March 16 through the 17th.  Mahoney’s, in the Irish district, has been one of our favorite local Irish pubs and a valued customer for years!

Image courtesy of Mahoney's Pub

If you’re not in the area, or working the holiday, be sure to support the little and independent guys in your area when making your holiday plans.  There is nothing as charming and as real as the passion these guys have for their craft!

Now onto the dirty stuff, the Irish Car Bomb.  It’s a love/hate thing.  To some the name is offensive, which isn’t surprising.  But people buy it, especially on St Patrick’s day.  You need to be prepared for it and be careful, this one is tricky.

The problem isn’t the ingredients, it’s the technique.  All you need is Guinness, Bailey’s Irish Creme and an Irish Whiskey.  Unlike a lot of other bomb shots --cherry bombs, Jager bombs and saki bombs, for example-- you can’t easily get away with using a Bar Maid Bomb Cup.  The foam from the Guinness would be problematic.

So, first grab a regular pint glass or frosty mug and fill it 2/3 full of Guinness.  While the head is settling, fill a 1oz shot glass half full of Bailey’s Irish Creme.  On top of the Bailey’s, in the same shot glass, layer an Irish Whiskey.  The customer should then suspend the shot glass over the pint glass and drop IMMEDIATELY BEFORE chugging it in it’s entirety.  If dropped prematurely, or not consumed instantly, it will start to curdle.  This will stimulate a gag reflex in many, and soon you’ll be calling for the mop bucket.  Avoid this catastrophe, and be prepared!

Happy St. Paddy's!



Thursday, February 28, 2013

Midwest Winter Cold, the Dawn of Commercial Refrigeration, Beer and Rapids Wholesale

Rapids Wholesale Marion Headquarters in Winter

Here at Rapids Wholesale we have a unique view on cold.  We have branches in the Midwest and upper Midwest, right off the prairie. Frigid winter winds can chill us to the bones but can’t bring us down.  We’re tough, hardworking folk, known not only for our willingness to share a cold pint with a stranger, but also for our keen ability to sniff out opportunity.  And over time we’ve come to discover that COLD certainly has it’s advantages.

Wintertime in the Midwest is one of the primary reasons the ice and and beer industries thrived in the early years of our nation.  Cold winters with thick frozen lakes produced all the ice we needed.  The earth provided us with limestone caves to keep it frozen for extended periods of time, even as the seasons changed.  Everything fell perfectly in to place for the beer barons like Captain Frederick Pabst whose Milwaukee brewery employed Rapids' founder Harry Ribble who later went on to invent the world's first direct draw beer dispenser.

Harry Ribble invented the Direct Draw Beer Dispenser 

As more and more immigrants were drawn to our little piece of paradise, they brought their own ideas of the perfect pint with them.  Collectively, our beer tastes eventually switched from English style ales and stouts to the Bavarian style lagers and pilsner beers which utilized a different bottom fermenting, cold brewing technique.  Eventually, our thirst for these new brews grew stronger and as the population continued to increase, we needed a more efficient way to continue production of lager beers long into the summer months.  

At the same time another challenge was facing brewers and other industries like the meat packing and dairy folk, who were becoming more and more dependent on prolonged cold for their production.  The ice we had been harvesting was increasingly being found to be tainted and polluted; an unpleasant side effect of the industrial revolution.

The first known demonstration of refrigeration is accredited to William Cullen at the University of Glasgow way back in 1784.  He proved the theory, but was lacking at that point a practical purpose.  After nearly a century of experimenting with and tweaking the designs we now have stumbled upon a viable commercial use of refrigeration.  To keep our beer, beef and cheese from spoiling.

Until this point, the technology was primarily used for cooling sickrooms.  John Gorrie developed a cooling system to help in the treatment of those unlucky enough to catch the yellow-fever.  Gorrie went on to be granted the first US patent in 1851 after switching gears to experiment with ice making.  And according to the same article we found on the wikipedia, from1870 to 1891, nearly every brewery in service was using commercial refrigeration machines.  All resulting in the birth to commercial refrigeration!

Things have changed a bit since then.  Check out the newest designs in commercial refrigeration and how to order the unit you need from Rapids website in this cool little video.  We even braved the winter cold to bring it to you!  What devotion, Ha!

It's mind-blowing to see how far we have come!  Today's refrigeration technology is truly amazing and here at Rapids Wholesale we supply all the best brands including TRUE and BEVERAGE AIR to name just a couple.  Apart from bar refrigeration equipment to keep your brew cold, we also carry a huge supply of walk-in refrigerators, refrigerated display cases, commercial kitchen refrigerators, glass and plate chillers and ice machines.

If you need any help choosing equipment for your place, give us a buzz!  We're here to help!

Remember, at Rapids Wholesale, Your bottom line is our top priority!



Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Rapids Associates Gain Expertise on New Products and Going Green at NAFEM Show

Recently Rapids Wholesale associates received education and hands-on experience at the North American Association of Food Manufacturer’s annual food equipment and supplies show. This event, held in Orlando, Florida, helped Rapids associates learn about energy efficiency, gain in-depth product knowledge, and strengthen their relationships with manufacturers.

Check out this time lapse video one of our key suppliers Manitowoc posted of the event from their perspective.  We found it on their youtube page.  It's pretty cool!

Time Lapse Video of NAFEM 2013 by Manitowoc

Rapids sent 17 sales and support associates from Minnesota, Iowa, North Carolina, and Missouri to the largest food service show in the industry, hosted by the North American Association of Food Manufacturer’s, or NAFEM. These associates may be better equipped than ever to help customers learn about energy efficiency and cutting edge products. 

Rapids associate Robert Wiltgen attended the show, where he got a better feel for the newest models of equipment Rapids carries. 

"When we design projects, we can suggest those to customers."

During a demonstration, Wiltgen got a closer look at a new oven made by Blodgett and Pitco, as well as a taste test of steak prepared in the new model. Wiltgen said going to the show helped him solidify his relationship with key Rapids’ suppliers. This may help him provide better customer service by working with manufacturers more closely on future projects, he said.  

The NAFEM show also helped Rapids associates who passed a rigorous exam to become Certified Food Service Professionals advance the standing of their certifications.   

Troy Little, a Certified Food Service Professional on the sales staff at the Marion Rapids location, said seeing and touching new products at the show enhanced his understanding of the equipment he explains to his customers. Experiences like this help him supply his customers with the exact items they need.  

“We’re better prepared to educate our customers” Little said.  

Several associates also attended Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Certification classes. These associates learned ways to reduce waste, stay green, and help customers qualify for tax rebates and other incentives. Rapids Wholesale is an Energy Star approved Distributor Partner, which means we carry products that allow customers to earn Energy Star incentives. 

Opportunities like this help Rapids associates better the environment and educate customers on green energy topics.

Written By Holly Hines