Meaty treats await as Jay's Smokin' BBQ opens in Fargo

The eatery in the former Mom's Kitchen spot at Main Avenue and University Drive is throwing its doors open to the public Wednesday, Feb. 3.

Jay's Smokin' BBQ is opening to the public Wednesday, Feb. 3, at the former Mom's Diner location on Main Ave. near downtown Fargo. David Samson / The Forum

FARGO - Jay’s Smokin’ BBQ will be serving up its meaty treats to the public on the edge of downtown Fargo starting today, Feb. 3.

The announcement was made Tuesday night, Feb. 2, on the restaurant’s Facebook page.

“Come gather at our table... TOMORROW! That's right, we're opening our doors tomorrow (Wednesday, Feb. 3). Starting off with the basics of pulled pork and brisket. Served as a sammich, plate, tacos, or nachos, the post said. “Can't make it for lunch? Join us for dinner when we will also be serving our smoked baby back ribs.”

Hours for the meat mecca will be 11 a.m. to 8 p.m..


The former Mom’s Kitchen is the eatery’s second location. The original Jay’s Smokin’ BBQ has been operating in the food court of Moorhead Center Mall since 2018.

Co-owner Jacey Henrichs said he and his wife haven’t been deterred by problems seen by other eateries during the coronavirus pandemic.

“No guts, no glory, right?,” he said in a mid-January interview with The Forum. “I’ve always wanted to have a restaurant. I want a place for families to come in and sit down.”


The interior of the eatery is a funky mix of the rustic, the reclaimed and the recycled.
The building’s brick is bare on the west side. The south side of the dining area is covered in reclaimed lumber.

About half of the booths and the green and orange topped chairs are from a now-closed Maddio’s Pizza. The remaining booths are from the former downtown dining anchor, Toscano.

The beautiful maple tabletops are salvaged from the now demolished north Moorhead stalwart All Star Bowl. Lane No. 7 to be precise.

“Everything here is reclaimed,” Henrichs said. “We repurposed as much as we could.”


The exception is a big new smoker in back, ready to turn 450 pounds of meat at a time into tender brisket, pulled pork, smoky ribs, chicken and perhaps turkey breasts, “which smoke up really nice.”

He figures he’ll go through 15 to 20 briskets a day, and he’s installed a big walk-in cooler to make sure he has enough on hand to keep area carnivores sated.

Henrichs has deep roots in food service.

His grandfather, Tom Tvedt (and his wife, Jean), ran Tom’s Pizza in Moorhead for years, first next to Sportland, and later near the downtown Hornbacher’s store. It closed in the mid-1980s, Henrichs said.

Henrich’s daughter, Brianna, will run the original location in Moorhead Center Mall’s food court.

The Tailgators Sports Cafe remains open next to him, and the restaurants share some kitchen space.

The Pop’s Roadside Eatery space on the northeast side of the building remains unused. If his restaurant proves to be a success, Henrichs said he’d consider expanding into that area of the building, too.

Helmut Schmidt is a reporter for The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead's business news team. Readers can reach him by email at, or by calling (701) 241-5583.
What To Read Next
Bankruptcy filings from the past week in all of North Dakota and Becker, Clay, Douglas, Grant, Hubbard, Mahnomen, Norman, Otter Tail, Polk, Traverse, Wadena and Wilkin counties in Minnesota.
Already named North American Truck of the Year by a group of Michigan journalists, the Maverick this year adds a more hardcore off-road version, the Tremor. It has upgraded shocks, an extra inch of ground clearance, a heavy-duty transmission cooler and all-terrain tires.
"It's become too much" to keep the eatery open, the owners said in a Facebook message. The last day is Saturday, Jan. 28.
Host Thomas Evanella talks with Fargo Housing and Redevelopment Authority CEO Chris Brungardt about new affordable housing and a look at projects on the horizon.