MOORHEAD - Usher’s House is back, and it's right in the heart of Moorhead's resurgent downtown.

The casual fine-dining restaurant’s plate-glass windows overlook one of the busiest intersections in town at Eighth Street and Main Avenue.

“It was a long road,” but worth it, co-owner Nathan “Nate” Sauvageau said Friday, May 10. “We have a lot of Moorhead pride. We wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. This corner was made for us."

The upscale eatery at 801 Main Ave. officially opened for business May 13. The menu is diverse, but focuses on steak, seafood and “constructed” cocktails.

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The restaurant on the first floor of the new Block E building features a diner vibe and layout.

There’s room for 78 diners, with eight seats along the chef’s rail in the food preparation area, and nine seats at the bar.

Tables and booths at Usher's House, 801 Main Ave., are designed to give the casual fine-dining restaurant the appearance of a traditional diner. The restaurant, pictured Friday, May 10, 2019, recently completed its soft opening. (Helmut Schmidt / The Forum)
Tables and booths at Usher's House, 801 Main Ave., are designed to give the casual fine-dining restaurant the appearance of a traditional diner. The restaurant, pictured Friday, May 10, 2019, recently completed its soft opening. (Helmut Schmidt / The Forum) (Helmut Schmidt / The Forum)

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“We’ve had a really good response” to the chef’s rail, Sauvageau said.

The interactive experience of being able to watch the food and drinks being made - and maybe learning a bit in the process, too - is “going to be our niche, and I’m proud of it,” he said.

The restaurant’s design - created by Fargo’s Zerr Berg Architects and Gehrtz Construction Services - removes the separation from customers that Sauvageau said was ingrained in the layout of Usher’s first iteration, which closed at the end of 2017 after more than a decade of doing business at 701 1st Ave. N.

“Our concept from the beginning was customer service, and having a very open room to execute that,” he said, adding, “This room is amazing at night when the lights come down.”

One of Usher's House's three chefs, Joseph Thompson, slices a pork belly to add to salads on Friday, May 10, 2019. Customers can watch their food being prepared by choosing to sit at the restaurant's chef's rail. (Helmut Schmidt / The Forum)
One of Usher's House's three chefs, Joseph Thompson, slices a pork belly to add to salads on Friday, May 10, 2019. Customers can watch their food being prepared by choosing to sit at the restaurant's chef's rail. (Helmut Schmidt / The Forum)(Helmut Schmidt / The Forum)

Some specialties have been carried over from Usher’s previous run, including walleye pike, Amish chicken and elk sirloin. A new addition to the menu assembled by Executive Chef Cary Carr includes a 32-ounce tomahawk ribeye steak.

There is a full pasta selection, with some of the pasta hand-rolled. The lunch menu includes appetizers, sandwiches, pastas, salads and soups, priced for business casual lunches.

Usher’s also offers desserts and sweets prepared by Nichole’s Fine Pastry in Fargo.

Usher's House head bartender Lij Larson makes up a cocktail Friday, May 10, 2019. (Helmut Schmidt / The Forum)
Usher's House head bartender Lij Larson makes up a cocktail Friday, May 10, 2019. (Helmut Schmidt / The Forum)(Helmut Schmidt / The Forum)

Lij Larson is the head bartender. The drink selection includes Usher’s signature and classic cocktails and a large wine menu. There are 12 beers on tap, with an emphasis on carrying Fargo-Moorhead and Minnesota-based beer. Local craft spirits are also available, Sauvageau said.

Usher’s has a food truck and catered the recent Chicago concert at the Bluestem Center for the Arts amphitheater. The restaurant will also be a caterer for the River Haven events center, which is going into Usher’s former location.

“We’re getting excited about that,” Sauvageau said.

Hours are 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturdays. Though “if we have a nice late-night crowd, we’ll cultivate it,” Sauvageau said

On Sundays, Usher’s is open 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., with brunch service to start in June.

For reservations, call (218) 303-1718.

Sauvageau said it’s great to be back.

“A long time coming. It was a fun construction process, but a lengthy one,” he said.