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Smack Shack food truck adds North Loop bricks and mortar

The Smack Shack food truck, which specializes in New Orleans-style “po’ boy” seafood sandwiches, is adding a permanent space in downtown Minneapolis’s North Loop neighborhood.

It’s going into the one-story brick building that previously housed Holden Graphics Service, according to Josh Thoma, who co-owns the restaurant along with his business partner, Kevin Fitzgerald.

As far as he knows, it’s the first food truck in the Twin Cities to open a restaurant. “For a lot of people starting food trucks, that’s the goal,” he says.

Starting out with a food truck is a good testing ground, according to Thoma. With a permanent space, “Obviously there’s a lot more build-out and overhead with it.”

The restaurant will have a relaxed, coastal feel, he says.

“Picture a cottage or a cabin on Cape Cod,” he says, adding that the place will feature a lot of whitewashed reclaimed wood.

Among the building’s unique architectural features are “gorgeous wooden trusses” that support the roof, 26-foot ceilings, and exposed brick walls, he says.  

In the past, farm equipment got loaded through the large sliding train doors in the one-story building, according to Thoma, who adds that the doors will soon open onto a 60-seat patio. Even in the 115-seat dining room, “It’ll have an open-air feel,” he says.  

A lobster boiler will be a prominent design feature, along with a bar that lets patrons see food being prepared.

Lobsters will be kept in green fiberglass fish tanks, like those that can be found in a typical coastal eatery or a local bait shop.   

The Smack Shack will also continue its relationship with the 1029 Bar in Northeast Minneapolis. The bar is screening the April 9 episode of “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives,” which features the restaurant.

About its new digs, which will be ready in late June, Thoma says, “I think it’ll have an impact on the Twin Cities."

Writer: Anna Pratt
Source: Josh Thoma, co-owner, Smack Shack
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