The Market Barbeque has operated continuously in downtown Minneapolis for the past sixty-nine years. Among family-owned restaurants in Minneapolis only Jax Cafe in northeast Minneapolis and Murray's Steakhouse downtown can claim a local history that long. As the heart of the city developed and the Target Center was built the Market was forced to move several times and the owners even established an offshoot in the suburb of Minnetonka. Today its exclusive location is at 1414 Nicollet Avenue on the south end of downtown.
This is the story of the men who founded the restaurant and the social environment within which they lived. It takes us back to the arrival of Hyman Polski in the Twin Cities from Poland his adventures in the world of bootlegging during Prohibition and the founding of the first Polski restaurant in St. Paul. It details the efforts made by Hyman and his sons Willard and Sam to climb the "crooked ladder" to respectability during the Great Depression-with the sometime help of gangsters Davie and Chickie Berman.
From this world of opportunism and economic strife rose the Market Bar-B-Que which Willard and Sam founded in 1946 and later passed on to Willard's son Steve who currently owns the restaurant. Author Michael Swirnoff interviewed Steve extensively for stories about the restaurant's colorful history and the numerous celebrities from the worlds of sports entertainment and politics who have made the Market their preferred after-hours nightspot over the years.
Although the Market Bar-B-Que has moved several times it retains the feel of its original location and its walls are lined with posters of touring Broadway shows and photos of celebrities who have dined over the years on the Market's unique pit-smoked ribs and chicken. That same atmosphere pervades the book which will fascinate anyone interested in the history of downtown Minneapolis and anyone who enjoys a good plate of wood-smoked ribs.
Author Michael Swirnoff is a retired attorney and former business executive. He has previously written Be Brave Don't Cry: A Mother's Legacy a personal memoir about his relationship with his mother. Mike lives in Minneapolis Minnesota and La Jolla California.