FARGO-The owner of a popular downtown taco and burrito shop will soon open a new type of restaurant a couple of blocks away.
Rodolfo Romo said he hopes to open Magnolia's Restaurant, 402 Broadway, on Wednesday, Feb. 15. It will take the place of Kitchen Gremlin, which operated in the leased space from October 2015 to December 2016. The site formerly housed John Alexander's and Juano's restaurants for 19 years before that.
The building is owned by 400 Building Fargo LLC, according to city property records. That's the same group that owns The 400 Building apartment complex next door to the south.
Romo is known for his namesake Mexican restaurants, Romo's Tacos, which serve up sandwiches, tacos, burritos, quesadillas and more around Fargo.
The business started as a downtown food truck until the first restaurant opened in 2014 at 3402 13th Ave. S. He also has Romo's restaurants in the Black Building, 118 Broadway N., as well as at 1100 19th Ave. N.
Romo told The Forum that his new venture restaurant will serve up American fare and be something completely different from his Mexican eateries.
"We're going to focus on steaks, pastas and seafood," Romo said, adding the restaurant will "start small" but will aim to serve up quick lunches and affordable, homemade food.
Magnolia's will be open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week, giving the restaurateur a more visible Broadway storefront with longer hours than his downtown Romo's in the basement of the Black Building.
Romo said he was drawn to the space for the opportunity to try something new and serve up different cuisine. He said he hopes to keep busy with lunch customers at Romo's downtown while drawing new diners for lunch and dinner at Magnolia's.
He's been working on a quick revamp of the former Kitchen Gremlin space for the past couple of weeks. He's replaced the chairs and tables, added new signs and freshened up the restaurant.
Magnolia's is expected to have about 15 to 20 employees when it's fully staffed.
The new restaurant marks a shift of priorities for Romo. In December, he was focused on renovating a strip mall space next to his north Fargo Romo's with the goal of tearing down the interior wall and doubling that restaurant's size, which would also give him a full kitchen and the ability to expand the menu and hours.
Romo said the Kitchen Gremlin space was more ready to open, so he's instead put his effort into launching Magnolia's for now. He still plans to finish expanding the north Fargo Romo's later this year.