Seventy-two-year-old Market Bar-B-Que is the latest restaurant to land a berth at a Twin Cities professional sports venue. In this case, it’s US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. And yes, co-owner Anthony Polski is excited.
“This is everything to me,” he said. “It’s a huge compliment, this partnership, and it makes me really, really proud. I wish that my grandfather was alive to see this. It would have blown his mind. I’m lucky that my dad is here to see it.”
The restaurant is partnering with concessionaire Aramark and operating a pair of stands, one located in the Hyundai Club, the other on the upper level’s concourse, where it is replacing Bud’s BBQ in section 324.
(Isn’t this the way that this should work, at least some of the time? Landmark restaurants, having stood the test of time, are granted beachheads in these gigantic, publicly-funded facilities?)
The Market's first stadium first outing will be Wednesday’s Jay-Z and Beyoncé concert. The menu will feature pulled pork, brisket and barbecued chicken wings, along with corn bread, coleslaw and other sides.
Polski added that, normally, this would be the biggest situation that he has going on in his life.
“But I’m also moving the restaurant,” he said. “If I have any hair left after this, I’ll consider myself lucky.”
Yes, the Market is losing its longtime Eat Street home. Reuter Walton Development is building a 239-unit apartment building on the site, gobbling up several of the Market’s neighbors, including Ryan’s Pub and Asian Taste. Salsa a la Salsa is closing on Aug. 26; its location at Midtown Global Market remains open.
The Market’s new location, at 220 Lowry Av. NE. in Minneapolis, will be the restaurant’s fourth. Brothers Willard and Sam Polski opened the Market at 130 N. 7th St. in 1946, and moved it to 28 Glenwood Av. N. in 1962. Willard’s son Steve bought the business in 1987 and moved it to its present location. His son Anthony launched the first of two Market food trucks in 2016. (That's one of them, pictured, below).
The Market’s last day on Nicollet hasn’t been finalized.
“It’s going to be sometime in September, we just don’t have the date yet,” said Polski. “I can’t imagine that we’ll be open into October.”
It’s a time of flux in the Twin Cities barbecue scene. Not only is the Market is on the move, but several new players are on their way.
Just down the street from the Market’s new northeast Minneapolis home, Travail Kitchen & Amusements is converting a tiny building into Minnesota BBQ Co., a takeout/delivery venture led by longtime Travailian Kale Thome. (That's an image of the place, pictured, above, in a rendering provided by Joy Martin Architecture).
Also in northeast Minneapolis, chef and cookbook author Jon Wipfli is in the process of mastering the intricacies of 33-foot trailer (including an oyster roastery) for his Animales Barbeque Co., parking it outside Able Seedhouse + Brewery. Even Famous Dave's is in a bit of a reboot mode. The chain is revamping its location in Coon Rapids and planning to spruce up its Maple Grove outlet.
That's a lot of activity for a dining scene that has never been particularly barbecue-centric.
“The more, the merrier,” said Polski. “I think barbecue is amazing, I’ve dedicated my life to it. There are so many different styles, and now that there is all this attention, I’m hoping that people will think, ‘We’ve tried this, now let’s try that.’ What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.”
It’s not just openings. One of the barbecue scene’s longtime players, Rudolphs Bar-B-Que, closed in late July after a 43-year run.
“That made me sad,” said Polski. “I don’t want that to happen to any family-run place, especially because it had such a long history. Rudolphs was our counterpart, like the Philly cheesesteak duo, Pat’s and Geno’s. Someone would bring them up, then they’d bring us up.”