EAST GRAND FORKS, Minn. — The owner of Joe's Diner will likely serve its last meal in East Grand Forks this weekend.
Owner Joe Bushaw is discounting the entire menu all weekend or until the food is gone. Then he will shut the doors for good, after the state stripped him of his food and beverage license and slapped him with a big fine.
"This is just too much," said Bushaw.
The 19-year-old entrepreneur said it was a sleepless night after he was served paperwork Thursday, Jan. 21, by the Minnesota Health Department. It informed him his food and beverage license was suspended for the next 60 days, and he was also fined $10,000.
It stems from when he opened his dining room last month, defying the governor's emergency order.
"Do you have any regrets about what you did the first time?" asked reporter Matt Henson.
"Nope, none. My employees needed to eat, a place to live," replied Bushaw.
After several letters from the state telling him to close, Bushaw complied after being open for five days. Two of those letters demanded written responses. Bushaw admitted he instead called the number listed on one of them to address the issue faster.
"When I closed, and talked with the Minnesota Department of Health I thought I was good," he explained.
Bushaw reopened his dining room along with the rest of the state last week. However, it turns out his license was suspended on the Jan. 16, even though he was never informed by the state until the Jan. 21.
"I am so stressed out and they last thing I am going to do is have all that food go bad, my employees be out of the job," said Bushaw.
He took his frustrations to social media saying he is taking his business over to Grand Forks. Almost immediately, Mayor Brandon Bochenski responded to the post and the two have a meeting scheduled for Monday, Jan. 25 to find him a spot.
"He sent me an email saying maybe you were meant to be on this side of the river all along," said Bushaw.
Two other area businesses also defied Gov. Walz's shutdown order.
They both contested their penalties in writing, so they are allowed to be open for the time being.
Both the Boardwalk Bar and Grill in East Grand Forks and Jamison's on Main in Olso, Minnesota face license suspensions. The Boardwalk is looking at a $10,000 fine, while Jamison's fine totals $7,500.