If you’ve noticed the seersuckered paint job striping up and down a corner of Central and Lowry Avenues in northeast Minneapolis, you might have wondered what’s happening under that circus tent -- and where did half of Sen Yai Sen Lek go?
Fortunately, Dipped & Debris, Central Avenue's newest custard and sammy joint, is under the same capable hands of the noodle family next door: co-owners and husband-wife duo Joe and Holly Hatch-Surisook.
Joe, finely assembled in an unbuttoned Hawaiian shirt on the afternoon we meet, has partnered with long-time friend and chef Ian Pierce (clad in blue tuxedo shirt) to bring you this delicatessen of sorts, which opened up on Monday. But this is neither NY deli nor heinous Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives destination; it permeates to a deeper level of family and the American highway thanks to Joe’s roots in Thailand.
Unlike Sen Yai Sen Lek, D&D’s interior resembles that of a polling center -- though it panders not to any one party. Here, we are one nation, united under our love for piles of food sandwiched between slices of bread.
“We’ve had Sen Yai Sen Lek for 10 years now, and started scaling down the dining space only because... there’s kind of a time-span or lifespan to anything, right? You have to keep things fresh and moving,” Joe says, patiently, through the peppered stubble only a father of teenagers and two restaurants can legally display.
If your life is falling apart, well, so are these sandwiches -- but in a way that’s far more appetizing and glittery. The King of Siamwiches, or a “Debris,” arrives on a hoagie bun that looks fresh from a boxing match.
Fortunately, it also boasts the kind of uppercut that lands a delicious kiss on a soft palate. A take on the classic Thai appetizer Chicken Satay, the King features a curry peanut sauce that’ll make for a good piece of jewelry if you lean in too close. (Which, you will, because this is royalty, baby!) It bites back, with pickled cucumbers, red onion, and cilantro.
The King’s counterpart, Mississippi Queen, is your classic fried catfish Po Boy, lathered in a star-spangled remoulade spicy enough to float you downriver.
The menu is relentless with its Americana and terrible puns: Brass Tacks, your standard burger; Composed Cackleberry, an egg sandwich (or a fart joke, if you’re an idiot like me); and the Satay It Ain’t So, Joe!, a vegetarian-friendly version of the King. The cute names, you can thank the chef in the tux tee for.
If you have room for more before you go -- and a propensity for getting eggy with it -- there’s frozen custard, advertised by a Pete & Pete Mr. Tastee look-alike. Let the Pothole, a fistful of custah’ with chocolate chips, sauce, ’mallow, and almonds, cool your tongue and/or fuel your rage toward MnDOT.
“While we don’t have a Chinatown or a Koreatown or anything like that, we do take in the influence of our immigrant culture,” Joe says. “We’ve done a really good job with those dishes, with those cuisines.”
He hopes to build on that sense of community, from Northeast to the Far East.
Dipped & Debris
2422 Central Ave. NE, Minneapolis