Chef Shack

A pair of top-notch chefs serve gourmet treats from a trailer

Without question, the most talked-about restaurant of the summer hasn’t been a restaurant at all, it’s been a trailer. Of course, I speak of Chef Shack, the mobile kitchen helmed by Carrie Summer and Lisa Carlson, which has a line 10 or 50 people long outside every time it stops anywhere.

Shack devotees stampede for delicacies like Summer’s goat’s milk ice cream, decorated with crumbled classic French-meringue macaroons, as well as her hot cardamom-spiced mini doughnuts. Or Carlson’s soft-shell crab sandwiches, made with batter that’s as light as a bubble. Or the nachos, festooned with 12-hour-roasted pork and heirloom-tomato salsa.

If you don’t believe that food that good can come out of a trailer, believe it. Both these chefs have resumés that could have them cooking anywhere on earth: Carlson once cooked at London’s Michelin-rated L’Escargot and New York City’s Lespinasse, and now cooks at Spoonriver. Summer worked at New York’s Morimoto and Jo Jo.

They do Chef Shack out of love, and because it funds the three-month adventure vacation they take each winter. Their destination this year? Singapore, southern India, and Borneo. (But don’t hate them, follow their adventures on Facebook!)

Speaking of winter, though, your chances to catch the Chef Shack are dwindling: Summer, Carlson, and their trailer are at the Mill City Farmers Market in Minneapolis every Saturday morning, but its last day is October 17. They’re also at the Kingfield Farmers Market (at 43rd Street and Nicollet Avenue, in Minneapolis) every Sunday morning until it closes for the season on October 25. Don’t miss your opportunity! A few weeks ago, my 3-year-old and I spent an hour at the Mill City Market, sitting on steps that look out over the Mississippi, enjoying Chef Shack’s goat’s milk ice cream and some perfectly browned French fries that were as long as my hand and garnished with big flakes of sea salt. It was one of the highlights of my year.

The Chef Shack
Mill City Market,
704 S. Second St., Mpls.;
Kingfield Farmers Market,
43rd St. & Nicollet Ave. S., Mpls.

Open Saturdays 8 a.m.–1 p.m. (Mill City) and Sundays 9 a.m.–1:30 p.m. (Kingfield)