MOORHEAD-Anyone driving by Rustica Eatery & Tavern in downtown Moorhead this week may have noticed some activity connected to the tavern side of the business.

It's part of a soft opening designed to get the staff ready for the tavern's official opening set for April 28.

The restaurant side of the business at 315 Main Ave. opened about eight months ago and things have progressed well, said Eric Watson, who owns Rustica with his wife, Sara.

When the tavern opens to the general public later this month, business hours will be 4 p.m. until closing, which is typically midnight Tuesday through Saturday.

Eric Watson said there will be some crossover between the restaurant and tavern menus, though vibe-wise the tavern will be more bar-like and probably less subdued than the restaurant side, he said.

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The tavern will offer a selection of beverages, including craft beers that will be rotated on a regular basis, as well as high-end artisan cheeses.

A new oven on the tavern side will produce wood-fire pizzas.

The tavern will seat about 70, similar to what the restaurant accommodates.