I’ve been skeptical of the “just add video games” explosion in our restaurant space. The hottest video games are multiplayer online games like Fortnite, Minecraft, and Overwatch. You play them at home, on a computer—not in a bar surrounded by other people. But I get the sense that people are looking for more in their eating-out experience. More than just food and drinks.
Thr3 Jack provides more. It’s a restaurant and bar and golf simulator, opening October 7, and I’m optimistic that this place is going to find a crowd. Why?
- It’s in the North Loop AND it has a parking ramp. That’s a big deal in this part of Minneapolis.
- Thr3 Jack is next to an apartment building and a co-working place. Lots of potential customers.
- Playing golf, or virtual-reality golf games, is only part of the experience—not too different from the Pinstripes proposition of food, bowling, and bocce.
- Top-notch people behind the food and drink menus.
- The guy who trained the staff at the Bachelor Farmer is consulting on service.
Thr3 Jack owners and siblings Lucy Robb and Bo Massopust showed me and my 14-year-old son, Seth, around. There are six different rooms you can rent to play golf or a virtual golf game (for example: hitting a golf ball at a dart board). One of those is a private room with its own dining space. The rentals cost $50-$70/hour, depending on whether you have a big curved screen or a regular screen. When you consider you could easily bring six to eight people in there, you’re paying $8-$11 a person.
I suspect the video golf will bring a steady stream of customers all day, but for many of us Thr3 Jack will function more like a regular restaurant. Chef Robert Wohlfeil, who was terrific as the head chef at Oceanaire, developed a much more approachable, much less bro-tastic menu than I anticipated. Appetizers include shishito peppers with togarashi and nori; smoked chicken nachos; roasted cauliflower with pesto; and blue corn shrimp with queso fresco. There are also a handful of Southern-sounding salads (sweet pea and bacon; farro with golden berries and ginger), a burger, a tuna melt, and a veggie sandwich with avocado and artichoke hummus. Feels very North Loop, right?
Cocktails are the work of Jesse Held, the guy behind Parlour and Constantine who now runs his own company providing bar juices and mixers. The Thr3 Jacked cocktail will be familiar to anyone who’s enjoyed Jesse’s Old Fashioned with bourbon, rye, and piloncillo. There’s a fine Bootleg, a punch, a mule—all for $12.
Bill Summerville created the wine list. Nathan Rostance (one of the smartest people at staff training I’ve ever met) is consulting on the service. This is a top-flight team, so I’m excited to try some food and drinks and see how it is. They’re doing friends-and-family testing right now and will open Monday, October 7, for dinner only. And you can’t miss the incredible wall decor, with thousands of golf balls attached the the wall and ceiling.
Ultimately, they’ll add brunch on the weekends, and, eventually, they plan on opening at 7 a.m. if people want to rent the rooms that early.
729 N. Washington Ave., Minneapolis