Fork in the Road: Local Topeka Hangout has been turning patties since the 1970s

The Shack is known for it’s cheeseburgers, wings, and cold beer
Updated: Apr. 5, 2022 at 1:00 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - To find The Shack, you’ll likely be getting off the beaten path to a white structure beneath the Lake Shawnee dam. Located at 2842 SE 29th St, The Shack (Shack II that is...) has been a staple in southeast Topeka for nearly 50 years. The original Shack burned down in the late 1970s and was soon after rebuilt.

Holy Smith joined the team in 1995 and today is the owner.

“We are especially known for our hamburgers and our cheeseburgers,” said Holy. “We have a really big double cheeseburger. They are a third pound not cooked. Onions rings are really good. The wings are really good. It’s pretty much all bar food and we take pride in what we do.”

And the customers are taking notice. Terry Beeman has been coming here since 1982.

“Better taste,” said Beeman. “They use real meat. I would say they don’t cut corners like some do and everything is fresh and you can only get great service. You can’t beat that.”

And that keeps brining people back again and again even when times are tough.

“First of all we have a very loyal, loyal following,” said Smith, “and between our loyal customers and my staff we managed to keep the doors open and did a lot of to-go’s. A lot of customers would park outside and we would wear our masks and everything and we would deliver the food to them and they would kind of tailgate and we all had a good time with it and we just made it work.”

And if you’re first timer, here’s something to look forward to.

“It’s good and juicy and cooked to however you want it,” said Smith. “If you want it kind of pink in the middle or well done, but the double is about that big and it’s a handful but I recommend it to anybody that’s coming down here if it’s their first time. Give that a shot and then go from there on what you can handle.”

Now this place offers a variety of food on the menu, but Holy Smith says everyone will leave with one thing in common.

“It’s a good time. That’s what we want, everybody to come in here and have a good time.”

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