Smack Shack Review – Minneapolis Hot Spot for Casual Seafood

Welcome aboard the Smack Shack, a seafood haven that has navigated its way from a humble food truck to a thriving restaurant in the North Loop neighborhood of Minneapolis. This is not just any restaurant; it’s a place that sails the high seas of sustainability, serving up oceanic treasures that will reel you in with their freshness and flavor.

But the journey isn’t over yet, mateys! Smack Shack’s voyage is one of continued evolution, filled with mouth-watering dishes, themed dinners, and a casual atmosphere that will make you feel like you’ve docked at a cozy coastal town. So, hoist the anchor and set sail as we dive into the delights of this seafood haven!

I’m from Minnesota and have business in Minneapolis, and this is on my list of the “must visits” whenever I travel home.  Also, as an aside, this is a Smack Shack review of the North Loop location and information is exclusive to that exact location only.

Key Takeaways

  • Smack Shack combines delicious, sustainable seafood with a unique Minnesota culinary twist, boasting dishes like lobster rolls and lobster boils that are fresh and have a local flair.
  • The restaurant offers a relaxed atmosphere perfect for happy hours, with drink specials and appetizers available to unwind after work or kick-start an evening out.
  • From starting as a humble food truck to becoming a fixture in the North Loop neighborhood, Smack Shack has grown into a community favorite, known for special events and themed dinners that enhance the dining experience.

Savoring Sustainable Seafood at Smack Shack

Smack Shack
The Smack Shack is one of the most popular North Loop restaurants.

Smack Shack stands out in the industry as a haven for seafood lovers, shining a light through the fog of unsustainable practices. Here, the commitment to serving sustainable seafood isn’t just a slogan, it’s a way of life. The restaurant is a proud follower of the Minnesota Zoo’s Fish Smart program, aiming to support the long-term health of seafood and minimize harm to the environment.

But sustainability isn’t the only draw. The Smack Shack menu brims with a variety of delectable seafood dishes, spotlighting their renowned lobster rolls and lobster boils. These aren’t just meals; they’re culinary experiences that will transport your taste buds to the coast, no matter how far inland you may be.

Lobster Rolls Served Right

Visualize biting into a lobster roll so savory that it draws you in like a siren’s captivating melody. That’s what you get at Smack Shack. Their lobster rolls are a tantalizing blend of a generous portion of tender, chilled lobster salad mixed with cucumber and tarragon, a nod to the classic Connecticut style lobster roll. The rolls are served in griddlednor milk bread that amplifies the richness of the lobster without overshadowing its natural flavor.

The secret to their lobster rolls? Freshness. The lobster is sourced six days a week from Maine and other places, depending on the season, ensuring that what lands on your plate is nothing short of top-notch quality. This commitment to freshness and quality is what sets Smack Shack apart and makes their lobster rolls worth every penny of their $32.95 price tag. It’s a unique take on a classic seafood dish that will leave you craving for more.

Lobster Boils: An Experience Not to Be Missed

If the savory lobster roll is likened to the siren’s enchanting melody, then the lobster boil is akin to an epic oceanic journey. At Smack Shack, a lobster boil isn’t just a meal; it’s an experience. Picture this: a whole pound of perfectly cooked lobster, so generous and sweet that it feels like a treat from the ocean.

But the lobster isn’t alone on this journey. It’s joined by:

  • shrimp
  • clams
  • crab
  • potatoes
  • corn
  • sausage

All thrown into a pot with seasoned broth to create a rich and comforting dish. And the cost of this maritime feast? A reasonable $36.95 per pound. Add in sides like butter, fresh salad, steamed mussels or clams, and lobster mac and cheese, and you’re in for a memorable dining experience.

Coastal Cuisine with a Minnesota Twist

smack shack specials
A recent special I had: fried lobster roll with cajun fries.

Smack Shack masterfully blends oceanic and prairie flavors, offering a harmonious culinary experience. By infusing coastal cuisine with a Minnesota touch, this coastal restaurant has uniquely positioned itself to bring the taste of the sea to the heartland.

Dishes like:

  • Thai basil duck
  • Snow crab wontons
  • Bacon pineapple fried rice
  • Fresh flounder ceviche

With the use of bay seasoning, Smack Shack has managed to bring the coast to Minnesota, showcasing just a few examples of their culinary expertise.

But the fusion doesn’t stop there. Even the dessert menu has a touch of the sea with optional cookies that will satisfy your sweet tooth after a hearty seafood meal. It’s a culinary voyage that navigates the coastline and the prairie, offering the best of both worlds on a single plate.

Lobster Mac & Stuffed Salmon

The creativity at Smack Shack extends beyond traditional seafood dishes. The Lobster Mac and Cheese, for example, is a testament to the restaurant’s ability to take a classic dish and give it a seafood spin. The recipe includes Maine lobsters, white wine, heavy cream, butter, and Tallegio cheese, all combined with sweet corn to give it a rich and flavorful twist that is truly unique.

Another standout dish is the Stuffed Salmon. This isn’t your ordinary salmon dish; it’s a seafood delight packed with:

  • shrimp
  • lobster
  • Minnesota wild rice
  • pistachios
  • asparagus
  • golden raisins

The result is a dish that is as pleasing to the palate as it is to the eye, a true testament to the culinary creativity at Smack Shack.

Happy Hour in a Casual Atmosphere

Smack Shack offers more than just food; it provides a holistic dining experience. And what better experience than a laid-back happy hour with friends and family? From 2-6pm every Monday-Friday, guests can enjoy $5 drink specials, including select taps and canned cocktails. But that’s not all.

Pair those drinks with delicious appetizers like:

  • Peel & Eat Shrimp
  • Jumbo Shrimp Bruschetta
  • Lobster Poutine
  • Lobster Guacamole
  • Steamed Mussels
  • Fried Calamari

It’s the perfect way to wind down after a long day or kick start your evening in a casual, friendly atmosphere.

So, why not drop anchor at Smack Shack for happy hour and let the good times roll?

From Food Truck to North Loop Neighborhood Gem

Smack Shack food truck in Minneapolis

Every great endeavor starts small, and Smack Shack’s journey commenced with a solitary food truck in a downtown Minneapolis parking lot. In 2010, the goal was to bring New Orleans-style ‘po’ boy’ seafood sandwiches to the Twin Cities and build a community of seafood lovers. Despite facing market saturation, inclement weather, and supply chain challenges, Smack Shack demonstrated resilience and persevered.

Fast forward to today, and Smack Shack is no longer just a food truck; it’s a beloved restaurant in the North Loop neighborhood. Their expansion in 2013 was more than just a change of location; it was a transformation that allowed them to serve more customers and offer a more comfortable dining experience. Now, Smack Shack isn’t just a restaurant; it’s a neighborhood gem that has helped make the North Loop a foodie hotspot.

The Birth of the Food Truck

When Smack Shack first started as a food truck, the aim was to serve delicious seafood to the Twin Cities community. The truck offered a range of dishes, from seafood boil to clam chowder and shrimp and grits, each dish a testament to their commitment to quality. The food truck quickly gained a loyal following, thanks to its delicious offerings and friendly service.

Despite the challenges of starting a food truck, the founders, Josh Thoma and Kevin Fitzgerald, were determined to succeed. Their dedication paid off, and they began to build a name for themselves in the local culinary scene. From their humble beginnings serving lobster mac-and-cheese at a local dive bar to their successful food truck, the founders’ culinary journey is a testament to their passion for seafood and their commitment to serving up great food.

Expansion to the North Loop

When Smack Shack expanded to the North Loop in 2013, it was more than just a change of location; it was a significant step in their journey. The North Loop offered a safe, walkable neighborhood with a vibrant food scene, making it the perfect setting for their restaurant.

Now, the dining experience at Smack Shack goes beyond the food truck. With a set location, customers can enjoy their meals in a comfortable and inviting atmosphere. The restaurant offers a broader menu, giving customers more options to choose from. Despite the expansion, Smack Shack hasn’t lost its food truck roots; it continues to serve up the same delicious, sustainable seafood that made it a hit in the first place.

Special Events and Dining Experiences

Smack Shack’s culinary offerings extend beyond their regular menu. The restaurant hosts special events and dining experiences that add a dash of excitement to your dining experience. From their annual Crayfest to themed dinners, there’s always something special happening at Smack Shack.

These events and dining experiences offer a unique way to enjoy Smack Shack’s delicious seafood. Whether you’re a fan of Game of Thrones or a lover of tequila, there’s an event for you. And if you’re just looking for a fun Sunday brunch, the Boogie Down Brunch with bottomless mimosas has got you covered.

Boogie Down Brunch: Bottomless Mimosas and More

Sundays at Smack Shack are all about the Boogie Down Brunch. Starting at 11 AM, the brunch features a range of delicious dishes like Crab Benedict, Smothered Burrito, and Jumbo Shrimp Bruschetta. But the star of the show? The bottomless mimosas! For just $15, you can enjoy endless mimosas while you dig into your brunch favorites.

And don’t worry about a dress code; the vibe at the Boogie Down Brunch is casual and relaxed. So, whether you’re catching up with friends or enjoying a lazy Sunday with family, the Boogie Down Brunch offers a fun and lively atmosphere that’s perfect for a relaxed Sunday brunch.

Themed Dinners: Tequila, Wine, and Beyond

Smack Shack’s themed dinners offer a unique and enjoyable dining experience. Whether it’s a tequila pairing with steak or a wine pairing with their coastal-style food, these dinners are designed to tantalize your taste buds and introduce you to new flavors. And it’s not just about tequila and wine; Smack Shack has hosted a variety of themed dinners, including Game of Thrones nights and THC dinner parties.

Each themed dinner at Smack Shack is a culinary adventure that takes you beyond the regular menu. It’s a chance to explore new flavors and combinations, all while enjoying the casual and welcoming atmosphere that Smack Shack is known for.

So, why not spice up your dining experience with one of their themed dinners?

Making Reservations and Purchasing Gift Cards

Making reservations at Smack Shack is a breeze. You can book a table online or in person. Plus, they have a convenient waitlist system for walk-ins. And if you want a seat on the patio, it’s available on a first-come, first-serve basis. This flexibility ensures that you can enjoy your seafood feast whenever you want, without any hassle.

If you seek an ideal gift for a seafood aficionado, consider Smack Shack’s gift cards. Available for purchase online or in person, these gift cards can be used at any Smack Shack location. It’s the perfect way to share the joy of a delicious seafood meal with your loved ones.

Booking Your Table

Planning to dine at Smack Shack? Table booking is straightforward and hassle-free. You can do it online or by giving them a call. They recommend making a reservation, but they also welcome walk-ins. Plus, they have a waitlist system that you can join online, and they’ll text you when your table is ready.

While online bookings are available for the dining room, the patio operates on a first-come, first-serve basis. So, whether you want to enjoy a meal indoors or bask in the sun on the patio, Smack Shack has got you covered.

The Perfect Gift: Smack Shack Gift Cards

For any seafood lover, Smack Shack gift cards are an excellent gift choice. Here’s why:

  • Available in different amounts, like $25, $50, and $100
  • Offers the flexibility to choose the meal that suits your taste
  • Can be used for online purchases on their website, making it even more convenient.

Whether you’re buying a gift card online or at their Minneapolis spot, the process is straightforward with their efficient payment services. And with the gift card’s flexible usage, you’re giving more than just a gift; you’re offering a memorable dining experience at one of the best seafood restaurants in town.


From a humble food truck to a thriving restaurant in the North Loop, Smack Shack’s voyage is a testament to their commitment to sustainability, quality, and creativity. Their journey isn’t just about serving delicious seafood; it’s about creating memorable dining experiences, from their flavorful lobster rolls and lobster boils to their themed dinners and Boogie Down Brunch.

Whether you’re looking for a casual spot for happy hour, a memorable meal with friends and family, or the perfect gift for a seafood lover, Smack Shack has it all. So, why not set sail for Smack Shack and dive into their oceanic delights? Your taste buds will thank you!

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is it called Smack Shack?

It’s called Smack Shack because it was named after the boats used to catch lobster, known as “smacks.” Josh Thoma, the owner, launched it as a food truck in 2010 with a belief in the demand for fresh lobster in the Twin Cities.

Who owns Smack Shack?

Josh Thoma is the owner of Smack Shack, and he believed in the strong appetite for fresh lobster in the Twin Cities.

What replaced Fuddruckers in Edina?

Smack Shack is the new restaurant that replaced Fuddruckers in Edina, offering a spacious dining area and ample parking. So, if you’re in the area, be sure to check it out!

Does the Smack Shack have Pull Tabs?

Yes!  You can enjoy Minnesota’s legal gambling which supports local sports (usually youth hockey) at the Smack Shack.

How does Smack Shack ensure the sustainability of their seafood?

Smack Shack ensures the sustainability of their seafood by participating in programs like the Minnesota Zoo’s Fish Smart, which promotes the long-term health of seafood and minimizes harm to the environment.

What makes Smack Shack’s lobster rolls unique?

What makes Smack Shack’s lobster rolls unique is the generous portion of tender, chilled lobster salad mixed with cucumber and tarragon, all served in griddled milk bread. They’re just delicious!

Rate this post


Tim Schmidt is a 20+ year Entrepreneur and Digital Marketer. A Fort Lauderdale-based "Digital Nomad," he enjoys traveling as much as possible with family and friends. AllWorld is his escape to document all of his adventures, including being a hardcore "foodie." He has property in Costa Rica and visits several times each year and is happy to offer his expert advice for planning your trip.

Leave a Comment