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WCCO Viewers' Choice For Best Dive Bar In Minnesota

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Shantytown Bar and Grill has been a part of Bloomington's landscape, in some shape or form, since before most of Bloomington was even here.

It is tucked away in an unseemly location, sandwiched between two commercial businesses.

Proprietors Peter and Laura Taykalo bought the little neighborhood bar 18 years ago with short-term plans to fix it up and flip it for a larger space.

Shantytown Bar and Grill Best of Minnesota
(credit: CBS)

"I honestly thought that this was just another stepping stone," Peter said.

But reality has a way of overshadowing even the best-laid plans.

"Little did we know that the building was pretty much to the point of falling down," Peter said.

The neighborhood was worried that their watering hole, now closed for a year, would emerge from the construction phase as a foreign space with all memories erased.

They were all very relieved when Shantytown reopened in all its former glory.

Shanty Burger
The Shanty Burger (credit: CBS)

And it wasn't too long before Peter and Laura got an unexpected benefit that didn't show up in the ledger book.

"No one here is just a customer," Laura said. "They are now truly family."

Another reason people keep coming back is the great food – especially the Shanty Burger.

"It is a third-pound, 80/20, ground beef. It is then topped with cheddar and Swiss cheese, applewood smoked bacon and guacamole," Peter said.

So Laura and Peter will continue their "hands on" approach in running their business, even though owning a "dive bar" wasn't part of their original plan.

"It's our dive bar," Laura said.

And it is doubtful that their regulars would have it any other way.

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