NORTH MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) — At the Circle Inn on Belgrade Avenue, owner Jeni Bobholz is feeling lucky.
“We have not let people inside since St. Patty’s Day of last year, and it was packed,” Bobholz said. “I think everyone was unsure of what was going to be happening.”
One year later, she was able to get a St. Patrick’s Day re-do.
“Last year when we got shut down, we ended up streaming that so that customers could still enjoy it. So it was kind of a no-brainer to have him back,” Bobholz explained.
Nate Boots and the High Horses kicked off the holiday celebration at the Circle Inn, which is now utilizing space in its patio and parking lot.
The lower North Mankato bar can safely seat 185 people outdoors under Minnesota’s new, loosened COVID-19 restrictions.
“It really helped that things kind of opened up, so it kind of makes us more eager to come out and see what’s going on,” North Mankato resident Alison Friedrichs said.
The state’s dial back means a lot more will soon be going on. Minnesota bars and restaurants can now seat customers indoors at 75% capacity with 250 people maximum. Bar seating has increased to parties of four, and outdoors, there is no percentage limit on capacity.
“I think the general consensus is we’re heading in the right direction, and I think people realize that outdoors is safe,” Bobholz added.
Now, despite the less than spring-like temperatures, many residents are chasing the atmosphere they’ve been missing for a year.
“I’m part Irish, but it’s just fun, again, just to come out, especially on St. Patty’s Day,” Friedrichs said.
Bobholz says the outdoor seating is here to stay, and she’s ready to welcome her regulars back on a regular basis.
“I think everyone is just chomping at the bit to hang out and to do stuff.”