Biankini’s: No Bad Days
by Angie Ripple
When you are on the hunt for a Bozeman sandwich that satisfies, it’s best not to overlook Biankini’s: The Soup, Salad & Sandwich Market. Tucked just off Bozeman’s North 19th Avenue at 2051 Oak Street Suite 1, Biankini’s offers fresh, healthy, and house-made soups, salads and sandwiches for every flavor palate. On a recent snowy morning, I sat down with owner/operator Robin Lester and her husband Jim to talk about all things soup and sandwich.
Angie Ripple: How was Biankini’s conceptualized? How did this place come about?
Robin Lester: A good friend of ours in California had a very similar store. He gave us the recipes and the concept, and kind of guided us through the process. We wanted to franchise with him, but he wasn’t interested in that.
AR: When Biankini’s first open?
RL: October 4, 2010.
AR: Tell us a little about yourself. What made you want to get into the restaurant industry?
RL: I’ve always had a fascination with food; it’s pretty much ruled every daily thought in my brain. I love food, and the idea of working with it, and making people happy and giving them the best possible product I can produce really appealed to me.
AR: What makes Biankini’s unique in Bozeman? What do you offer that other places don’t?
RL: We are always looking for the best possible products available, and we strive to provide an amazing experience.
Jim Lester: It’s the quality of the food; everything is house-made. All of the soups are house-made, the salad dressings are house-made; they were all designed by a Cordon Bleu Chef in San Francisco.
RL: Here soup is a thing. We develop our own soups. Once in a while we design a soup that none of the staff likes, and so we won’t serve it. We don’t just serve it to serve it; if it’s not exciting we won’t serve it.
AR: Can you tell us how you go through the process of creating a new menu item and how the staff is involved?
RL: We don’t just create a new menu item and put it on the menu. We develop the product, and everybody tastes it and everybody gives their opinions. All of our staff tastes it, and when our regular customers come in, we’ll have them taste it and give feedback. It can be a long process, like our #12 Fajita Sandwich took us several weeks, and we tried a lot of different ways of doing it. But our #15, we did a couple different renditions of it and boom it was perfect and I can eat that one (laughing).
AR: What do you want people to experience when they walk through your door?
RL: I want people to experience great food, and I just want them to walk away and say, “That was the best meal of my life” or “That was the best meal I’ve had in town,” or something like that. And, whether it’s something that I don’t feel appealing but they do, that’s great. I want them to try different things on the menu. I had one guy the other day say, “I always order the Tri-Tip Sandwich, and I ended up ordering the #15 and that was the most amazing sandwich I’ve ever had.” It’s opening their taste buds and elevating their experience up a notch to make it something that they will remember. People will come through here and years later one their friends will come through because they said, “You have to go to Biankini’s,” and that’s what really thrills me is when they say, “It was everything that so-and-so told me it was going to be.”
We got the saying “No Bad Days” from a restaurant in Cabo, a good friend of a good friend of ours, so we just kind of adopted it because we want people to have No Bad Days here. They are always welcome, they are always going to have a great meal, there are No Bad Days, and they will be happy about it.
AR: What do you enjoy most about being part of the Bozeman community?
RL: The enjoyment I get is it’s an eclectic group of people. Everybody has their own story, wherever their from it’s always a very interesting story about how they arrived in Bozeman and how they love it, and how they want to stay forever.
AR: What is your most popular dish?
RL: #3 our Turkey, Avocado and Cheese sandwich is our most popular. Everybody that eats it loves it; it outsells all of our other sandwiches by about double.
AR: What’s your favorite?
RL: This week I’d say it’s the #15. We’ve had to try a few different products in it, and I think we’ve found the best combination of the pork and the sauce. It’s just a really different tasting sandwich; it’s a Cubano sandwich, but our variation of it. Instead of using yellow mustard like a traditional Cubano, we are using a spicy mustard, which blends really well with the pulled pork and the Capicolla Ham that goes with it, and then the pickles that go on it really sets it off; it’s a great sandwich.
AR: Do you have anything coming up that you would like the readers to know about?
RL: We began our breakfast menu October 5, 2018, and I was not in on creating the menu, so I can say that I think it is very creative. We have breakfast sandwiches, burritos and scrambles. We open at 7 a.m. during the week and 8 a.m. on the weekend.
The breakfast sandwich with the Maple Dijon is truly out of this world; my first bite offered an immediate flavor sensation that had me OMGing all morning. I would also recommend giving your morning a delicious kick with a pulled pork burrito; come hungry because the burritos are large, hot and delicious.
Biankini’s is going on a decade of persuading local tastebuds into coming back for more. Give them a try, or get back in to try some house-made deliciousness again soon.