There’s something odd about loading up the six and four-year-old boys and heading to a bar in Northeast Minneapolis. Odd in a good way, I’d argue. (Because obviously it’s not the first time.)
Last Saturday, before we headed to the Northrup King Building for Art Attack (most of the art in our home is from NKB), we needed a place to eat. I’d never been to the 1029 Bar, and I had a hankering for a lobster roll.
I know—lobster, NE Minneapolis bar, kids. I’m now the most irresponsible dad of the year.
But Josh Thoma’s Smack Shack food truck has been a phenom over the past two years, and now he takes over the kitchen at 1029 during weeknights and all day on weekends. So why not head to a bar with the leather seats torn up, the lights turned down low, the Grain Belt Nordeast on tap, and the Gophers game on the TV?
The smoking ban is here, so we can bring our kids to 1029 and enjoy some of the best food in town coming out of that tiny kitchen.
Smack Shack delivers big time. $12 for such a large serving of lobster is a steal, in my mind. The lobster is perfectly cooked, there’s a hint of tarragon, some cucumber, some lemon aoili—which gives it some zip—and I just absolutely love it. I do wish they’d get rid of the boring potato chips on the side though and replace it with a house-made chip or something a little more interesting.
Seasoned fries come in an insane serving size for $3, and I like the seasoned salt that has a tiny bit of a zip.
But go deeper than just the lobster roll. I think the shrimp po’ boy ($10) might be even better than the lobster. Tons of shrimp, a spicy aioli, it’s one of the best lunch sandwiches I’ve had in the city. And I’m told the Andouille sausage po’ boy may be even better, at just $8.
My kids shared the macaroni and cheese, and it lasted the two boys, two meals, so it’s about four servings. Seth wanted the lobster, Sammy wanted the bacon, so the kind waitress suggested we do both, and it was just $12. The taleggio cheese is a nice touch. Seth picked out every piece of lobster—so I’m pretty sure we’re in trouble having a six-year-old lobster fan.
By noon, another large group arrived, bringing four young kids, so I realized that I wasn’t the worst father in town. I was feeling pretty good until the boys looked at the wall and said: “What’s that puffy thing?” It was a framed woman’s bra, with about a dozen signatures on it. Good times.
I’ve learned many life lessons at bars just like the 1029. I suppose it’s time for my boys to start learning, too. One thing we all learned: The Smack Shack is killing it.
Smack Shack at The 1029 Bar
1029 Marshall Street NE, Mpls.
Tuesday-Friday 5 p.m. to close
Saturday & Sunday 11:30 a.m. to close