Legendary but now-closed chicken wings joint Shorty & Wags used to be located at 3753 Nicollet Ave. S. in Southwest Minneapolis. With Shorty retired and living in northern Minnesota, the commercial building is now in the market for a new tenant and being renovated.
The renovations recently revealed an interesting piece of Minneapolis history -- the racist signage for Art Song's, another legendary wings joint that used to serve greasy fare from that very same storefront. The sign, covered up when Wags took over the property sometime around the end of the Carter Administration, hadn't been visible for roughly three decades.
Journalist of all trades and longtime Southwest resident David Brauer spotted the sign while waiting to get a flat tire fixed yesterday, then snapped a photo and shared it on his Twitter account. We reached Brauer to ask him about his recollections of Song's and its racist sign.
[jump] Here's the photo in its full glory:
Brauer said he recalls enjoying Song's wings while living in The Wedge during the early '80s but can't remember anyone fussing over the joint's obviously racially insensitive imagery.
"I don't know if we were all not as sensitive in the early '80s, or whatever," he said. "I don't remember any controversy over it and my guess would be that a lot of that stuff was taken for granted back then."
Brauer said he called the owner of the second, still-existing Art Song's location in St. Paul to learn more about the history of the business but hadn't yet heard back. For what it's worth, a Yelp reviewer characterized Song's St. Paul location as "EFFIN DELICIOUS" and "the greatest place to eat in the Twin Cities."
"What I do know," Brauer said, "is that the chicken wings were fabulous, and the best when you had a belly full of liquor." And after all, who's going to fuss about a racial caricature when you're young, buzzing, and enjoying some of the best chicken wings under the sun?