Shack makes casual comebackWhen Trudy Bergren started working at the Shack Restaurant in 1980, she liked the refinement of the eatery that got its start as a supper club. A native of Germany, she was accustomed to tablecloths and flowers at the table, and the refined dining atmosphere.
By: Shelley Nelson, Superior Telegram
When Trudy Bergren started working at the Shack Restaurant in 1980, she liked the refinement of the eatery that got its start as a supper club.
A native of Germany, she was accustomed to tablecloths and flowers at the table, and the refined dining atmosphere.
But 32 years later, she said the restaurant needed to change to keep attracting new customers.
After all, she may not have made $1 million serving the people who walked through the Shack’s doors, but she had the honor of meeting as many people.
And she’s hopeful of increasing that wealth in a more contemporary atmosphere.
That change is coming at 7 a.m. Saturday when the Shack reopens its door for a more casual dining experience.
After an extensive remodel of the bar area that now includes a portion of the old banquet facilities, the Shack is reopening to a more contemporary kind of crowd.
Bergren can’t wait to see customers — “friends” — she’s met over the years again, but she’s also looking forward to making new one’s with the restaurant’s new look and feel.
“We just couldn’t shake that old supper club image,” said owner Seth Oliver, who closed the restaurant in July to accommodate the remodeling project designed to improve flow and give the restaurant a more contemporary, casual feel.
Changes in the kitchen and beverage stations were designed to provide more expedient service to ensure customers aren’t left waiting and wondering if they’ve been forgotten.
People are busier today, Oliver said, and they may not have time to spend an hour in a restaurant. They don’t want to get dressed up to go out to dinner, he said.
“This will be a place they can stop on their way home from work,” Oliver said.
And when they do, they will be greeted by familiar faces as well 18 new and enthusiastic servers who spent the week in training and putting the final touches on the newly re-created but familiar spot.
Diane Munger, a 16-year veteran of the Shack, said she’s been thrilled to hear the excitement of the new staff as they learned about their new jobs and the enthusiasm they have as they learn how to serve customers well.
Munger is excited herself for the opportunity to serve in the newly created Shack.
“The restaurant will be open until 10 p.m. and the bar menu will run to midnight,” she said.
And it’s a new menu as well. While plans include entrees, Oliver said there will be more options for sandwiches, salads and pizza — specifically; the pizza’s now available at the Barker’s Island Inn.
“We’ll have the best breakfast menu,” Oliver said. Over the five months the Shack was closed, Oliver said he and the restaurants chefs have traveled every Wednesday to eateries throughout the region and Twin Cities to create the best breakfast menu in the region.
And everything the restaurant serves — from sauces to entrees will be made on site.
Don’t think for a moment that means slower service.
It’s a design restructured to better serve customers’ needs, Oliver said.
You will have to shake that old frame of mind; however, to enjoy what the Shack has to offer. And don’t go to the old dining room doors. That’s a project waiting to be fully developed, Oliver said.
But there are still many things the Shack’s old customers can still appreciate.
“Trudy will be here until she says she’s had enough,” Munger said. “And she doesn’t forget anyone.”
And Bergren is looking forward to making new friends in a restaurant that once reminded her of the refinement of her native country.
“We’ve got to look to the future,” Bergren said.