Uptown Minneapolis finally getting the B-Dubs Express it deserves


The Tum Rup Thai on Lake Street will be replaced by a B-Dubs Express, which we cannot guarantee will not have a menu item called 'Gentrifried Chicken Wings.' Google Street

"I am sick of all this Thai food and good table service," said no one, ever.

And yet. 

South Minneapolis is set to lose the independent-and-local Tum Rup Thai restaurant, and will see it replaced by one of Buffalo Wild Wings' serve-yourself experiments, the first-ever for a city audience, the Business Journal reports.

Previous iterations of the 'B-Dubs Express' concept have only opened in suburban Edina and Hopkins. This one feels a little like a test, to see if this part of Minneapolis acts more like Little Edina or New Hopkins. 

The Uptown operation will "give [Buffalo Wild Wings] a chance to go into dense urban areas and see if we're still relevant," says vice president of market development Todd Kronebusch.

This same stretch of Lake Street was recently heralded for its "indie dining," a phrase rarely found outside hotel marketing copy, and Kronebusch credits the neighborhood for "tremendous food, beverage, and music" options.

This will be just like all that! Except they're hoping you don't enjoy the music long enough to listen to a full song.

"B-Dubs Express is a smaller-sized counter service version of Buffalo Wild Wings," per the new outlet's website, "that provides wings and select menu favorites in a more convenient and streamlined way. Order ahead, or order-in. With counter service, smaller square footage, and fewer TVs than a full-size B-Dubs, you can get in-and-out and feed your cravings even faster."

The store expects three-quarters of its business in Uptown to come from delivery and takeout orders. And that's just as well, since if you're dining in, you're also pretty much working. You'll sauce your own wings at a 21-flavor station, and you'll pour your own soft drink... or beer, or cocktail (!) from a "self-dispensing" wall trough.

Though, credit where credit's due, B-Dubs is going to the trouble of serving chicken "wings" without bones. (Sometimes there's a beak. So the fuck what?)

The Uptown B-Dubs express will seat around 70, with "a couple dozen" additional spots outside, and is expected to open in mid-April. If it's a success here, the franchise group might try the same concept in other big markets like Los Angeles, Denver, or Atlanta.

Think of yourselves, consumers of Lake Street, as test subjects in a grand experiment. Think of the experiment as almost over.

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