Rush City couple Shannon and Tim Karnick are no strangers to the food industry, and this fall they will expand their food truck business, Tiki Tim’s, into a storefront restaurant in the city of North Branch.
“Tim and I built our first food truck in 2012 and opened that fall,” Shannon said. “We mainly operated on the streets of downtown St. Paul and local breweries, but quickly realized that catering was a huge business for the truck and incorporated this into our business. With an increase in catering and being unable to take every event, we decided to build a second truck, which opened in 2016. The next step for us was to open a restaurant, which we are on the way to completing now.”
The process of adding a year-round restaurant to the business has taken years of planning for the Karnicks, but with completion right around the corner they are excited for the future.
“We always had the intention of working towards a restaurant so that we could have year-round work — Minnesota winters are not ideal for food trucks, no matter how hard one tries — and be closer to home in Rush City,” Shannon said. “Having a restaurant will allow us to expand our menu, offer liquor and beer and evenings with live music, open mic nights etc.
“After being mobile and working all over the metro area for the past seven years, we are really excited to have a permanent location. We plan on operating one of the food trucks in the summers, so we will still be able to offer catering for parties and events,” Shannon added
The food truck offers a variety of food options, and at the new restaurant, The Fort, the menu will be expanded and will also include a bar.
“We plan to offer an eclectic menu with options not available at establishments in the area,” Shannon said. “Our food trucks offer fish tacos, Jamaican jerk chicken tacos, Hawaiian pulled pork tacos, crab cakes and Cubano taco-dillas. We are hoping to expand on our menu in the restaurant and add burgers, salads, appetizers and desserts as well. The bar will have eight tap lines, and we plan on featuring beers from Minnesota and the Midwest. We will also offer craft cocktails and a nice selection of wines.”
“We plan to have menu options that appeal to everyone. Our fish tacos are what we are known for, but we will also offer burgers for the less adventurous eaters. The atmosphere will be warm and inviting and appeal to both individuals and the family. We plan to have local artists display their art in the dining room and offer a small kids corner with a Lego table for families with younger children that want an evening out,” Shannon added.
The Fort is being constructed to seat between 55 and 60 guests with bar seating for around 20, along with eight tables in the dining area.
“We wanted a smaller restaurant so that we can concentrate on our customers and ensure that everyone receives the attention they deserve,” Shannon said. “We are really hoping to be open by Thanksgiving, but that will depend on inspections and such. We are extremely excited to be able to work in a smaller community close to home and can’t wait to see where this takes us.”