Looking to give your taste buds a new kind of heat? Beau Vondra and his family turn up the flavor with Dagger & Arrow hot sauces. The owner explained how the operation redefines spicy in the midwest.
Dagger & Arrow came to life unexpectedly. Vondra tried hot sauce crafting for a customer of another business he partners with, Look’s Market, in Sioux Falls. He aimed to prioritize flavor that other sauces lacked.
“A gentleman always wanted me to try hot sauces. Every time I tried one, it was just hot. There wasn’t much more to them than that,” he said. “Our goal was to make him a hot sauce that was more than hot. I go for flavor over heat with my sauces.”
Vondra’s former hobby turned into a business after giving extra bottles to his friend. That friend, Michael Haskett, operates M.B. Haskett. He introduced the sauces as condiment options at his popular eatery.
“I had a bunch of hot sauces I’d made just for fun,” said Vondra. “I said, ‘Hey, you’re serving breakfast, here you go.’ They kind of took off at his place, and people kept asking for the sauces when he was out of them.”
By November 2016, demand turned the hobby into a family business with his wife, Kali. The company’s naming also stemmed from family ties. The owners’ children, Dagny and Archie, inspired Dagger & Arrow.
“They love it. Neither one of them are big hot sauce people, but they love to see that out there. They have t-shirts and wear them all the time,” said Vondra. “It just sounds like a hipster name, but it’s a family thing.”
Now, Dagger & Arrow distributes to 28 different locations for retail sale and restaurant use. These destinations span over several states, including Minnesota and Virginia.
“It’s a two-way street. I choose to partner with people and retailers that I know on a personal level. It’s a personal product to me,” he said. “As a retailer, I see how important it is for the store to have a relationship with the product.”
Four different sauces are available from Dagger & Arrow. Two selections, LO-FI and HI-FI, alternate on a seasonal basis. Nature has a say in each batch’s flavor and heat level. Different temperatures, harvesting times, and other environmental factors give each its own flavor.
Wake up your taste buds
- Lo-Fi (Seasonal)
- Hi-Fi (Seasonal
- Kiss of Death
- Diablo Verde
“There’s a whole bunch of variables that I don’t regulate. It’s just whatever the peppers bring, they bring. They’re always going to be slightly different.”
Vondra hopes future batches will spice up lives at further distances than ever. Dagger & Arrow plans on adding several new retailers in new states to its distribution list before 2019.
“Food is all networking. With producers, farmers, wholesalers, consumers,” said Vondra. “You’re relying on relationship building to sustain your business. I just want to thank everybody in Sioux Falls and surrounding areas for the support they’ve given it.”
“Relationship building is a big thing in food.” – Beau
Networking opportunities are only the beginning of Vondra’s rewards in the business. His main motivation remains the same, no matter how many distribution points cover the map.
“I like making people happy. When someone comes up and tells me they enjoy my hot sauces, it makes me feel really good,” he said. “You know, there’s so many good things that happen when you can make somebody happy with something that you make, it’s worth doing.”
For more locations and information, visit daggerandarrow.com.
Dagger & Arrow Avocado Toast
- 1 Small avocado
- 2 Pieces sourdough bread
- 2 Eggs
- 2-4 oz. Cooked steak (optional)
- 1 T Dagger & Arrow Diablo Verde
- Pickled onions
- Mash avocado with Diablo Verde and salt (to taste).
- Toast the sourdough.
- Cook fresh or heat up steak.
- Cook eggs in desired method (scrambled, over-easy, or sunny-side up).
- Starting with avocado, top off your toast for a quick and easy meal.