NORTH LOOP — After months of delays and speculation the Smack Shack will open on Jan. 22, according to owner and head chef Josh Thoma.
The full-scale restaurant manifestation of the popular Marquette Avenue food truck has completed most of its construction already. Thoma will go before the City Council on Jan. 11 to obtain a liquor license and those famous buttery lobster rolls will be available in the North Loop soon thereafter.
The process of renovating a dirt-floored factory that manufactured farm implements into a causal dining restaurant has been difficult and rife with delays. Now the pieces are in place and the ambitious project has taken shape.
In addition to the dining room, there will be two bars with 16 beers on tap, a 2,000-gallon lobster boil for lunch and dinner, a planned outdoor patio, and a 30-40 person mezzanine that sits suspended from the ceiling overlooking the restaurant — not to mention a bigger kitchen.
“It’s not a huge kitchen, it’s pretty tight,” said Thoma. “But when you’re used to working on the truck this seems giant.”
Thoma already has his management staff in place, including General Manager Jon Jacklin, who worked with him at previously at Solera. Over the next month they plan to hire about 100 people to fill the kitchen and wait staff.