MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – For many of us in the Midwest lobster is a fancy, special occasion food.

But that has changed in the Twin Cities, thanks to one food truck that’s become one hot restaurant.

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For DeRusha Eats, Jason DeRusha ate in the busiest neighborhood, for food, at one of the busiest restaurants: Smack Shack.

Josh Thoma boils a lot of live lobsters.

“We go through a few hundred pounds a day,” Thoma said.

As chef and co-owner of Smack Shack in the North Loop neighborhood of Minneapolis, Thoma bought something like 2,100 lobsters in his first year.

“We buy more [lobster] than, our vendor told us, everyone [in the state] combined,” Thoma said.

In 2010, Smack Shack got the Food Truck license number one in Minneapolis.

In that truck they served an incredible amount of lobster rolls.

“I was surprised at first. We didn’t know which way it would go,” he said.

Toasting bread, and filling it with lobster, lemon juice, aioli, cucumber and tarragon.

“We started the truck to see what the market would do. If it would accept this casual form of this luxury item. And they really did. Honestly, we were shocked,” he said.

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Thoma went from the truck, to serving food at the 1029 Bar, to the gorgeous restaurant that opened in April 2013.

There he had huge tanks built to hold all the live lobsters.

“We can hold about 500 lobsters in here. That’s a lot,” he said. “Almost 1,000 pounds of lobsters in here.”

And a 100 gallon pot for the lobster boil.

“We use about 50 pounds of onions and five pounds of old bay every day,” he said.

The boil is the ultimate in de-fancying the lobster.

“A lobster boil is supposed to be a party in a pot. It’s supposed to be a meal where you can actually cook at a beach. Where you bring everything, you put in all in one pot and cook it,” Thoma said.

Two hundred degrees, 11 minutes for one lobster.

The party in a pot becomes a party on the plate.

“It’s easy, it’s simple, it’s casual,” he said.

Smack Shack is open for lunch during the week. They’ve got a big outdoor patio too.

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The truck still serves lobster rolls downtown, and they’re also still serving at the 1029 Bar in Northeast Minneapolis.

Jason DeRusha