Counter Intelligence: Finally, lobster rolls in the North Loop

  • Article by: RICK NELSON , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 7, 2013 - 11:36 AM

After seven-plus months of construction-plagued delays, the next wave in the food-truck-to-restaurant tsunami is making its debut.

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Doughnuts from Surdyk's Cheese Shop.

Opening night in the North Loop

After seven-plus months of construction-plagued delays, the next wave in the food-truck-to-restaurant tsunami is making its debut Friday.

Chef/co-owner Josh Thoma’s lobster-obsessed Smack Shack (603 Washington Av. N., 612-2588) is starting out with a dinner-only service, with lunch commencing Feb. 18.

Unlike its mobile counterpart, the bricks-and-mortar (technically, it’s an old warehouse) restaurant features a full bar and gives front-and-center placement to its showy lobster tanks and impressive if slightly sinister (for the crustaceans, anyway) lobster-boil equipment.

The casual, 115-seat restaurant only underscores why Minneapolis’ North Loop neighborhood has morphed into the Twin Cities’ hottest slice of dining-out real estate, as it is home to the recently opened Borough and Parlour along with the Bachelor Farmer and Marvel Bar, HauteDish, Bar La Grassa, Be’wiched Deli, Black Sheep Pizza, Sapor Cafe and Bar, Origami and a dozen others.

Based on the lines that routinely form outside the truck, here’s my suggestion: Make a reservation.

 

James Beard, on stage

Look what’s coming to the Illusion Theater: “I Love to Eat: A Love Story With Food,” playwright James Still’s one-man show about American culinary icon James Beard.

The show opens April 25 and closes May 18. Tickets are $15 to $28, available at www.illusiontheater.org.

 

Breaking news on the doughnut beat

Thank you, Surdyk’s Cheese Shop (303 E. Hennepin Av., Mpls., www.surdyks.com), for making it even more difficult to avoid you.

Yes, they’ve recently started making doughnuts.

“I just wanted to,” said manager Mary Richter with a laugh. “It sounded like fun, and we have this cute little fryer that we don’t use very often, so I thought, ‘Let’s make doughnuts and see how they do.’ ”

Quite well is how they’re doing. “We make them in the morning, and we sell out by noon,” Richter said.

Fried in grapeseed oil, these raised doughnuts (Richter is playing around with cake-style formulas) are light and airy. Price: $1.09 per doughnut.

Expect to find two daily versions — one with a sugar finish, the other glazed — with constantly changing flavors, including cinnamon-sugar with lime zest for the former, orange-cardamom for the latter.

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