Add this to the list of things you don’t have to do: hunt down the Chef Shack truck in downtown Minneapolis or road-trip to Wisconsin to get your mini-donut fix.
At least, not come December, when the iconic food truck goes brick-and-mortar in the Twin Cities. But the new spot won’t be a strict reiteration of either the truck or the Bay City, WI restaurant opened in 2012: owners Carrie Summer and Lisa Carlson are bringing an urban truck stop to the Seward neighborhood with Chef Shack Ranch, in the former home of Lucy’s Ethiopian.
The food will be just the stick-to-your-ribs stuff you’d expect: pulled pork, brisket, roasted chicken, and biscuits, with Chef Shack favorites like handcut fries and Indian-spiced mini-donuts to round out the menu. “We’re really excited to bring back the fries,” says Summer, noting that they haven’t been on the truck in the past few years due to space constraints.
With a projected opening date in just a few weeks, it may seem as if the restaurant is popping up out of nowhere—but Summer says that isn’t the case. “We’ve been looking actively for a permanent spot in Minneapolis since 2009,” she explains. And while the vegetarian-fare-filled Seward neighborhood may seem like an odd fit for such a down-home restaurant, Summer says the community has been nothing but supportive.
“That corner has been through a lot of change in the past few years, and I think people are happy to see the work we’re putting in to really make it great,” she says. Giving the building’s interior a cozy makeover has been a big part of that work: the new restaurant will evoke a quint western hideout, with tin ceilings, reclaimed farmwood, and memorabilia which Summers and Carlson have collected for years.
Come summertime, a takeout window on the side of the building will provide even easier access to the already-approachable food. For now, Summer and Carlson plan to be open for dinner Thursday through Sunday, as well as for weekend brunch—where, by the way, mini-donuts are completely acceptable.