A new watering hole: Ex-Bison players to open NDSU-themed sports restaurant
Fargo - A group of former North Dakota State University sports stars are making the move from athletics to an eatery.
Dragosavich announced in a tweet earlier this week that the eatery would be on the 1400 block of 12th Avenue North, across the street from NDSU’s campus. It will occupy three storefronts that are currently empty to the west of Café Delight, formerly Jitters Coffee Bar.
“Really, this project is about Bison pride,” Dragosavich said in the offices of Spotlight Media, the publication company he runs with Tehven. “Everything is growing at NDSU. We really think there’s a need for a Bison-themed restaurant.”
Other investors include former NDSU wrestlers Todd Fuller and Steve Saxlund and the building’s owner, Roger Gilbertson.
Tehven said the 4,800-square-foot space would seat around 150. There will be a reserved space that can seat 15, available for private meetings. Dragosavich also said there could be a corner of the place used as a make-shift TV studio for interviews with coaches and players.
Dragosavich hopes to use some of the old wood floor from the Bison Sports Arena to give the new space a “cool, contemporary atmosphere.”
“We want to create a nice NDSU sports bar that people can be proud of,” Tehven said. “A Division I school deserves a Division I sports bar. That’s the void we’re trying to fill.”
Tehven said there is still a need for other NDSU favorites near campus, like the Bison Turf.
“We want a classy place where alumni can go, or where you can take recruits,” Dragosavich said, adding that now is “the height of athletics for the school.”
While the focus would be on Bison athletics, they don’t think it will be strictly a student bar. They’re hoping the larger Fargo-Moorhead community will embrace the establishment the way it has embraced the Bison.
And they stressed that the restaurant won’t be just another sports bar that emphasizes cheap drinks.
“It’s food first. That’s the objective,” Tehven said.
He said they haven’t yet hired a chef or developed a menu, but have considered using the NDSU meat lab for some products like brats.
Plans show an area for customers on the go during weekdays, focusing on express lunches such as like burgers and sliders. Later in the day, that space would be part of the sit-down restaurant.
Dragosavich said they may offer personal drinking horns that customers could buy, sign and leave at the bar, like a mug club.
The business partners realize parking could be an issue. The T lot to the south of the building is full on weekdays with permitted parkers, but would be open at nights and weekends they say.
Construction will start in September, with an opening date expected in early 2015.