MOORHEAD -- A decade-old restaurant will soon close, but only temporarily as it makes some big changes.
Usher’s House, 700 1st Ave. N., will close at the end of Dec. 31, according to Business Manager Nate Sauvageau. The restaurant will return as Usher’s in a new building somewhere else in Moorhead in the second half of 2018, he said.
Sauvageau said things are still being finalized, which is why he can’t yet announce the new location. But he did offer some details on why he pushed up the timeline.
His parents, Nancy and Jerry Sauvageau, were among the owners behind The Broken Axe restaurant and music club that opened in the building in April 2006. A couple months after it closed Jan. 1, 2008, the couple opened Usher’s House in the unique fieldstone building that was erected in the mid-1930s and previously housed the Moorhead American Legion.
Sauvageau said the family discussed making changes for two years. He decided to push ahead now with the revamp because of the unexpected death of Nancy Sauvageau in September, as well as Jerry Sauvageau’s desire to retire.
Once finalized, work will begin to fit up the new location.
The staff will get more training that Sauvageau said will get workers ready to serve as sommeliers, or wine experts, and step up the eatery’s game.
“The new location’s going to be the same casual fine dining that we’ve always been doing, but a lot more modern and a lot more capable,” he said.
The menu will be tweaked, as will the setting and entire dining experience. That includes a return of lunch service, something Usher's House discontinued about a year ago, as well as daily dinners and the addition of Sunday brunch.
Sauvageau will become the primary owner as his father retires. He’ll also gain a few new business partners.
In an email to The Forum, Moorhead City Manager Chris Volkers said the city is “grateful” that Usher’s will continue to have a “strong presence” here.
The move could mark the historic building’s first vacancy in more than a decade. Sauvageau said things are still being negotiated, but if things go his way, the building won’t sit empty for long.
He said he’s working with the city to renew and expand the current lease. He’s also determining the best use of the large space along the Red River.
The project to move Usher’s and repurpose the current building was too much to pull off without closing down for at least a while, he said.
“It wouldn’t be possible to be open at the same time and try to do all of these construction projects and all this training,” he said.