FARGO — At 5:45 p.m. Monday, Cassidy “CJ” Schnase camped out welcoming people as they streamed through the doors of King House Buffet. But the front room of the restaurant quickly filled as the line to pay for the buffet grew, eventually spilling outside the door.
That’s exactly what Schnase was hoping for.
When he heard King House was in danger of closing after business declined following reports that caged pigeons were found in the restaurant’s basement, along with a few other health code violations, Schnase, who is the owner of downtown’s Replay Games, sprang into action.
He organized a Facebook event for his friends called “Save King House Supper!” to come eat at the restaurant on Monday, June 24.
“I made that event public, and that’s how this event kind of blew up,” Schnase said.
Prior to the event’s start time of 6 p.m., 277 Facebook users indicated they would attend the dinner, with more than a thousand expressing interest.
And true to their word, they showed up. Even if they couldn’t make the 6-8 p.m. window, many Facebook users promised to visit the restaurant at a different time to show their support.
“We’ve had conversations with people that are going on their lunch hour, going on different days to hopefully spread out the response and the love for King House,” Schnase said.
According to the frazzled but visibly pleased cashier who consulted her log of transactions, over 500 diners, 350 of whom were present for dinner, had eaten at King House as of about 7 p.m.
Schnase said the owners told him they normally see about 150 customers on a Monday night for dinner.
With seating tight, many diners opted to take their food to go.
“It’s just really cool to see the response of the community and the excitement the community’s had about it,” Schnase said.
High school senior Myah Young is just one of the hundreds of community members who showed up to support King House.
“I really love this place,” Young said. “It’s one of the best Chinese restaurants in Fargo and it's a family business.”
As she waited in line outside the doors to King House, Shaina Stall said she couldn’t remember a time when King House wasn’t in downtown Fargo. Stall and her dad often eat together at King House, she said, calling it their “little place” — a tradition she hopes to keep alive with her own children.
“Hearing that it might possibly not be here really made me sad,” Stall said.
Having made it through the line into the front room, Denise Aberle stopped to write on a poster laid out for people to write messages of support.
“Hopefully they don’t close up. We’ve come here for years and love the place,” Aberle said.
Unconcerned about the health code violations, which Fargo Cass Public Health inspectors say have been resolved, Aberle gushed about the food.
“My favorite thing is everything,” Aberle said. “The wontons are perfect, the soups, the chicken — everything is always good.”