MOORHEAD - A southside bistro is out to prove that comebacks are stronger than setbacks.

Reese & Riley’s Olive Oil and Bistro Bar is reopening after securing a new lease in its former spot at 935 37th Ave. S. in the Azool Retail Center.

The bistro’s Friday, April 16, announcement on Facebook included the banner “We are reopening soon… (pinky promise)”.

Owner Christine Conrad is happy to have another shot at making the bistro a success after closing early this year due to Minnesota’s coronavirus pandemic business restrictions.

“I think it’s in my blood, so I don't think I would stop at any point,” Conrad said. Still “I thought I was done this time.”

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Conrad said the landlord recently reached out to her, “just to see what we could figure out.”

While the numbers didn’t pencil out when she decided to close late last year, Conrad is confident that as restaurant capacity restrictions ease and vaccines knock down COVID-19, that business can return to a more normal level.

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“Hopefully we’re on the right path,” Conrad said

The bistro’s Facebook announcement had a lot of joy in it.

“Given everything we have endured the past year with Covid-19, this is very much a breath of fresh air and amazing news! We have prayed for this and this is a turn for us in the right direction to a bigger & brighter future!” the post said.

“We will reopen in the next month or two after doing some updates and making the space look fresh & new again! I look forward to regaining all of my beloved customers and servicing our community through clean, fresh eating and the best EVOO & Balsamic Vinegars in the WORLD! We look forward to seeing your faces again! All are invited to come shop, enjoy the new products we are bringing in and sign up for one of our cooking classes that will begin with our new space re-opening!

“Until then... eat well, live well and ENJOY every bite!” the post said.

Conrad said world events helped delay the reopening, specifically the March grounding of the massive container ship the Ever Given, which blocked traffic on the Suez Canal for six days, disrupting supply chains.

“We’re having a couple issues with some of the products coming in with the whole Suez Canal thing that happened. … I seem to be the lucky one all the time,” she said Monday.

Conrad will also have to replace furniture and fixtures that were part of the liquidation sale.

“There was not very much left, that’s why it’s been kind of a struggle to reopen,” she said.

A big focus will be on supplying prepared meals and meal kits moving forward.

“I feel like the takeout thing of what happened with COVID is still a huge thing,” and the most popular option with diners will still be “more or less a grab and go kind of thing.

“And I’m bringing in a lot of new products that are focused on healthy eating. Kind of just bouncing back from this pandemic” should encourage people to eat better and get themselves in better shape, she said.

Reese & Riley’s Olive Oil & Bistro Bar, 935 37th Ave. S., in the Azool Retail Center. (Forum File Photo)
Reese & Riley’s Olive Oil & Bistro Bar, 935 37th Ave. S., in the Azool Retail Center. (Forum File Photo)

Renovations include closing in the kitchen, which had been originally open and viewable to diners.

“It will have a way different look, different paint color and we added a floor,” Conrad said. “Just kind of refresh things a bit.”

Reese & Riley’s originally opened Nov. 24, 2018, in the retail center bay that had been previously occupied by a Spicy Pie pizzeria.

It was a reboot of a concept that Conrad had operated in south Fargo and Champlin, Minn.