A primer to F-M area outdoor diningIn a place often best known for its harsh winters, we like to enjoy our summer weather while we can. A refreshing drink indoors never quenches quite like one in the open air, and a grilled steak somehow always tastes better alfresco.
By: Sam Benshoof, INFORUM
In a place often best known for its harsh winters, we like to enjoy our summer weather while we can.
A refreshing drink indoors never quenches quite like one in the open air, and a grilled steak somehow always tastes better alfresco.
The Fargo-Moorhead dining scene is ripe with places to wine and dine while enjoying the best the season has to offer.
And in true lazy-days-of-summer style, we’ve made it easy for you with this list highlighting each locale’s unique qualities, so get out there and enjoy it.
Best view of the Fargo skyline: The Hotel Donaldson’s Sky Prairie, 101 Broadway N., Fargo, (701) 478-1000
Arguably the outdoor seating area with the best view in all of Fargo-Moorhead, the Sky Prairie on the HoDo’s rooftop offers an intimate atmosphere for drinkers and diners.
Jason Laub, a manager at the HoDo, says the area has seating for about 50 people at a time, and is open Monday through Saturday from 5-11 p.m., weather permitting.
There, patrons will find separate food and drink menus on the rooftop, which Laub says tends to have an outdoorsy flavor.
The food menu changes weekly, he says, but one thing that remains consistent is a flatbed pizza, cooked right on the rooftop’s grill.
And like the rest of the HoDo, the rooftop incorporates design elements that highlight the region.
“Up there, we have the opportunity to do it with native grasses and plants,” Laub says.
But because it comes with such an appealing view, the Sky Prairie fills up quickly. Don’t be surprised if all tables are full on a warm evening.
Best relaxed setting: Usher’s House, 700 1st Ave. N., Moorhead, (218) 287-0080
If you’re looking for a relaxing place to meet friends near the Red River, then Usher’s might be for you.
Open every day from 11 a.m. until close, Usher’s patio has seating for 75, with space for an additional 30 in the recently-renovated adjoining boathouse.
And it’s more than just a place for eating and drinking. General Manager Amber Hanson says the restaurant has booked live music on the patio every Thursday night throughout the summer.
Also on Thursdays, the restaurant features live outdoor grilling as well, she says.
Last week, chefs cooked up stuffed jalapenos and lamb skewers in front of diners, but patrons can expect to find something different every week.
“(Chefs) do all kinds of fun stuff out there,” Hanson says, making the patio a definite outdoor eating destination in Moorhead.
Best downtown hideaway: Monte’s, 220 Broadway N., Fargo, (701) 526-0149
For outdoor seating that’s both on- and off-Broadway, head to Monte’s, with its patio in the back of the building.
General Manager Dan Ludemann says the full-service patio, open from 4:30 p.m. to close, is unique in the fact that it’s a little bit more protected than some of the other downtown patios or decks.
“We have brick walls in the sides and a latticework in the back, so that makes it more secluded, especially on those nights when it’s really windy,” Ludemann says.
While there, Ludemann suggests diners try a martini – Monte’s offers about 40 different types – and the Halibut, which he says is especially tasty.
But, it only has seating for about 30, so if you want to get a table at Monte’s patio, it might be smart to make a reservation ahead of time.
“Normally we fill it up, and people are disappointed that they can’t get out there when they arrive,” Ludemann says.
Best place to catch a game: Buffalo Wild Wings, 2201 2nd Ave. N., Moorhead, (218) 512-0400
Head over to this Buffalo Wild Wings – or any BWW location in the metro area, for that matter – to enjoy their signature hot wings on their outdoor patio. And even though you’re outside, you’ll still be able to listen to the game on the outdoor speakers.
Largest downtown seating area: Fort Noks Bar of Gold, 52 Broadway N., Fargo, (701) 478-9191
When it comes to getting a full group together downtown, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a bar or restaurant with as much outdoor seating as what Fort Noks has available.
With two levels and plenty of tables, it’s likely the patio will be able to accommodate your group, no matter its size.
And situated right on Broadway, you and your friends will be able to sit back and take in some downtown people watching.
Best place for a burger and brew: JL Beers, 518 1st Ave. N., Fargo, (701) 492-3377
With just two tables, the sidewalk patio at JL Beers’ downtown location is almost guaranteed to be full on a nice day. If you’re lucky enough to snag a spot, hold onto it.
If not, but you still want to enjoy JL Beers’ burgers and brews while catching some rays, head over to the Moorhead (2902 Highway 10 E.) or West Fargo (810 13th Ave. E.) locations, which both have a little bit more room for outdoor eating.
Best outdoor ambiance: Doolittle’s Woodfire Grill, 2112 25th St. S., Fargo, (701) 478-2200.
Doolittle’s classic wood-fire cooking fits in well with the south Fargo’s outdoor patio, complete with fireplace and garden-like ambiance.
Most-anticipated outdoor space: Rhombus Guys Pizza, 606 Main Ave., Fargo, (701) 540-4534
The downtown pizza joint announced in February they were looking into the idea of a rooftop dining area, and now they’re getting close to making it a reality.
Manager Ian Dickmeyer says the restaurant is in the process of getting the final work permit from the city for the rooftop, after which construction could begin.
Dickmeyer still thinks the rooftop will be completed sometime this summer, and will likely have a seating capacity of 70-80 people with a full-service bar, full menu service and perhaps a TV or two.
Best rooftop view of south Fargo: JT Cigarro, 4554 7th Ave. S., Fargo, (701) 277-0711
Can’t find a place on the HoDo roof, but still want the feeling of drinking or eating above the street? Then check out the SKYY Bar on the roof of JT Cigarro, a newer introduction to outdoor hotspots in the area.
Hungry for more?
Give these places with an outdoor dining space a try:
• Tailgators Sports Café, 1322 Main Ave., Fargo, (701) 293-2091
• Cork & Cleaver, 3301 University Dr. S., Fargo, (701) 237-6790
• Granite City, 1636 42nd St. S., Fargo, (701) 293-3000
• Lucky’s 13 Pub, 4301 17th Ave. S., Fargo, (701) 551-0013
• Big D’s Bar and Grill, 1515 42nd St. S., Fargo, (701) 241-4386
• Sidestreet Grille & Pub, 301 3rd Ave. N., Fargo, (701) 271-0092
• Spicy Pie, 322 Broadway N., Fargo, (701) 356-7437
• Nichole’s Fine Pastry, 13 8th St. S., Fargo, (701) 232-6430