MOORHEAD - Two Minnesota bar industry veterans have taken over the former Dave's Southside Tap at 803 Belsly Blvd. in Moorhead.
Marissa West, a longtime manager of J.C. Chumley's and Mick's Office in Moorhead, and Cody Parr, the former owner of T.F. Boonies in Detroit Lakes, purchased the bar and restaurant July 1. They closed for just two weeks to remodel, and re-opened as Legends Sports Bar & Grill in mid-July.
"We put a month in in two weeks," Parr said, explaining they cleaned and painted the bar, built new tables from railroad ties, added new taplines, relocated existing lines to a new tapwall, added new TVs and more.
"We knew it needed fresh paint and a little bit of a facelift," West said. "We knew it needed a new identity, a new name, a new brand, a new menu, a new staff, and it all had to happen in just two weeks."
West said they made changes based on feedback they received from nearby residents and former patrons of Dave's Southside Tap.
"We were told customer service was an issue," West said. "They wanted to feel like they mattered and that it was a fresh, new place that offered a great product at a fair price. That was and is our goal."
She said it's a common mistake for new bar owners not to make any big waves so as not to lose regulars.
"For me, I was a part of the sale of Chumley's in 2012, and I knew what went wrong with that. What I felt went wrong was that nothing really changed. It changed owners, changed hands, but they didn't change anything else. Change going forward is then really pretty tough," she said. "I knew for us, lots of big things had to happen for us to see a different outcome than Dave. We wanted Dave's history to be Dave's and ours to be ours moving forward."
"Making simple food fun" was the thought process behind the new menu, West said.
She explained they wanted to improve upon the traditional deep-fried bar menu with items such as steak bites, Asian chicken tacos and different flatbreads. Parr clarified that the menu still includes burgers and pub sandwiches for those who prefer traditional bar fare.
Another change patrons will notice over the next few weeks is a focus on gaming. The bar will soon be home to a tri-wheel, something similar to the pig wheels that nonprofits operate in Fargo bars. The Lions Club will benefit from the wheel as well as from four pulltab jars. Moorhead Youth Hockey will also benefit from pull-tab jars. West said they hope to create a gaming niche.
"It's huge in the metro area and we just want to keep that money here in Moorhead," she said.
The business partners also plan to make good use of the bar and restaurant's private meeting room, where they plan to cater meetings, groom's dinners, bachelor and bachelorette parties and more.
They've also purchased a bus for bachelor and bachelorette party events as well as taking patrons to and from concerts and sporting events.
Parr said business has been going well so far.
"It's kind of insane to open a bar in the summertime, but as far as we were concerned, we wanted to work out our kinks early," Parr explained, meaning before the summer lake season was over and schools were back in session.
West said after 20 years working for other bar owners, she's living a dream by operating her own business.
"For nearly 20 years, I was a part of everyone else's dreams, and now to be able to see my own dreams come alive is incredible. With the help of my husband and the partnership with Cody, the vision came alive and the dream is real," she said.