Several new restaurants set to bring new flavors to F-M in 2014
FARGO - The list of restaurants here is about to get a little longer in 2014.
Several have opened for business in the past month, and others, including a Sonic, an exotic pastry shop and a wood-fire pizza joint, are expected to welcome their first customers later this year, bringing more options and new flavors into the region.
Here's a look at some of the newest restaurants, as well as some of the other joints preparing to open in the coming months.
Downtown Fargo gained two new restaurants last week, starting with food truck franchise Sweeto Burrito that opened its first brick-and-mortar location at 117 Broadway on Dec. 30.
About 30 Sweeto Burritos could be open by the end of 2014, and development rights for 250 locations in several states were awarded last year, meaning the mix of American, Mexican and Thai flavors in burritos, rice bowls and nachos that first found popularity in the Oil Patch of western North Dakota could soon become nationally known.
Sweeto Burrito is open 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday and 7 a.m. to 3 a.m. Thursday through Saturday.
German and European-style pub and restaurant Wurst Bier Hall opened downtown at 630 1st Ave. N. in the Cityscapes Plaza building Jan. 3.
Bert Meyers, who owns the new eatery along with his wife, Lisa Meyers, and brother, Klaus Meyers, previously told The Forum that it would have a "sausage heavy" menu, 36 beers on tap, European classics like borscht and pirogues and other food options with a "little twist," such as exotic sausages, burgers and a porketta sandwich.
Wurst Bier Hall opens daily at 11 a.m. and plans to stay open until 2 a.m., Meyers said.
Shotgun Sally's also opened for business last Friday at 1515 42nd St. S. in Fargo, the former location of Big D's.
The bar and full-service restaurant features a "modern" and "edgy" look "mixed with a little bit of a rustic feel," according to Emily Allen, an account manager for marketing and advertising agency Results Unlimited.
Like Big D's, the eatery is owned by Robert Leslie, who said in a recent news release that the building underwent a complete interior and exterior remodel to make it a "dining and entertainment destination."
Allen said weathered wood and metal throughout the building gives it an edgy vibe, and Shotgun Sally's plans to feature local bands and comedians for a mix of entertainment.
Shotgun Sally's is open 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily.
Fargo also gained a new choice about a month ago when the majority ownership of Café 21 was sold to employees, who then rebranded the Asian bistro and sushi bar as Bangkok Corner and tweaked the menu.
Dave Scheer, the former co-owner of Café 21, said the same employees are working at Bangkok Corner, located at 1450 25th St. S., and are now preparing a mix of Thai food and sushi.
Bangkok Corner is open 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5 to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
Two more food choices are expected to open before the end of January in downtown Fargo, including exotic pastry shop Bun Appetit at 623 NP Ave. that will replace the self-serve yogurt shop Yogi Berries that closed Oct. 31.
The pastry shop will feature two small tables, and customers also can enjoy their purchases by pulling up a seat at the Drunken Noodle - the two businesses are connected inside.
Scheer said his daughter-in-law, Adisara Khan, will be the pastry chef, making up exotic goods like Mexican buns, Asian meat-stuffed buns and nut-stuffed buns from Greece. But it won't make the same kinds of pastries and treats now found at Nichole's Fine Pastry.
"We don't want to compete with the people who are here," he said. "We want to bring some new things to Fargo."
Bun Appetit will likely be open 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays once it's ready for business, which Scheer said should be sometime later this month.
"We're finishing it up right now," he said.
Wood-fire pizza joint Blackbird Woodfire also will be opening in downtown Fargo later this month at 206 Broadway, the former location of Pita Pit.
Casey Absey, an owner and the main chef of the new restaurant, told The Forum last month that the menu will include pizza, salads and some tapas.
South Fargo will gain a traditional Irish pub in time for St. Patrick's Day on March 17, if everything goes according to schedule for the new Hennessy's Irish Pub at 4323 45th St. S.
Owner Dave Erickson, who also has the Bulldog Tap next door to Hennessy's and runs the Red Hen Taphouse in Dilworth and Dave's Southside Tap in Moorhead, told The Forum last month that the pub's interior, furniture and most everything else would be built in Dublin. Once complete, it will be shipped over to Fargo and pieced back together.
Dan Hurder and Christian D'Agostino, the owners of Monte's Downtown in Fargo, are preparing to open another restaurant and tavern just down the street.
The new eatery, designed to be the "happy medium" in Fargo - bar food meets Monte's, according to one early description - will open at 210 Broadway in the basement of the Loretta Building this spring.
The restaurant built up local buzz late last year by turning to Facebook for help in choosing a name, offering the person who submitted the name a $500 gift certificate and a menu item named in their honor.
After sorting through the submissions, Hurder said The Boiler Room was the clear winner. It's expected to open in mid-April.
After years of seeing commercials for it on local TV stations, residents will finally be able to taste the popular flavors of fast food chain Sonic.
The chain has more than 3,500 locations in 43 states but only came to North Dakota last year, when Hospitality Management and Integration opened a restaurant in Minot and announced plans to open several more across the state.
Final details are still being arranged, said Abe Sakak, president and CEO of the management group that also established the Village Inns in the area and was involved in regional Applebee's locations up until he sold off his share in 2012.
But Sakak said last week that he's "90 percent" sure of one thing - the next Sonic to open in North Dakota will either be in Fargo or West Fargo, and it could be open for business as soon as July.
"It depends on the city; it depends on economic development; it depends on what we get to do it," he said.
HMI is targeting Bismarck, Grand Forks and Dickinson for more Sonic locations, Sakak said, and Williston also is on his radar. But he said North Dakota's low employment rate - the lowest in the nation - means it's difficult to find enough employees, especially near the Oil Patch.
"The major challenge is employment and unemployment, which is too good," he said.
A location for a Sonic in Fargo or West Fargo could be finalized by the end of the month, Sakak said, and he's already looking for potential managers.
HMI is also working to expand a restaurant concept called Badlands, and he said the company just last week relocated its corporate offices from Minot to Fargo to support its growing number of businesses in the region.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Ryan Johnson at (701) 241-5587