MOORHEAD - A new car wash is going up at the EasTen Shopping Center on the site of the former Altony’s Neighborhood Italian Cafe and Wine Bar. Meanwhile, progress has been slow in reopening the Italian restaurant in a new spot in south Moorhead.

The Custom Express Car Wash will be part of a small, but growing, chain of Custom Express locations in the Fargo-Moorhead area owned by Jason Gehrig.

Gehrig owns the Fargo washes at 4682 32nd Ave. S. (opened in early 2018) and 1702 40th St. S., just south of West Acres mall (opened in July 2020).

The building that housed Altony’s, a former Taco Bell, has been razed and extensive infrastructure and dirt work is now going on at that site and well into what had been some of EasTen’s unused parking lot that fronted Highway 10.

In a March 2018 interview, Gehrig told The Forum that his company was “not here to participate. They’re here to take over the Fargo-Moorhead area.” He added that he planned to open several more locations in coming years.

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Altony’s progress slow

Altony’s owner Ryan Alford had confirmed in October that his lease at 3102 Highway 10 was not renewed after doing business there for years.

The restaurant is relocating to the former Little Caesar’s pizza restaurant location at 800 Holiday Drive, Suite 176, near the intersection of Eighth Street South and Interstate 94 in Moorhead.

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The Altony’s web page indicated that a planned opening date has not been set yet.

However, opening may well not happen until early 2021.

“This is so frustrating. Contractor I had to hang hood is backed up till January. I need someone licensed (in)Minnesota to hang it. Money is so tight and progress is slow. Also need an electrical and plumbing contractor, must be licensed. Please help and donate so I can keep Altony's open,” a Wednesday, Dec. 2 GoFundMe posting said.

The restaurant’s GoFundMe request has brought in just over a third of the $15,000 that Alford had been requesting to help cover the costs of moving and renovations.

Altony's moved from Dilworth to the former Taco Bell in 2012.

Alford purchased the restaurant about three years ago from Jesse Kennedy and his father, Terry Kennedy.