FARGO - Plans have been drastically reworked for a restaurant in the former Rosie’s Laundromat building and the new eatery could be ready to open by the beginning of December of this year, partners in the project said recently.

The 701 restaurant is in the final design stage and “we’re hoping to break ground in April,” co-owner Shelby Terstriep said Thursday, Feb. 14.

The plans for 701 N. University Drive now include construction of a large addition to the east, with a rooftop patio area that will be open year-round, Terstriep said. There will be an enclosed heated and air-conditioned space on the rooftop. And the main floor will also include a garage door that can be opened to 7th Avenue, Terstriep said. There will also be two bars, one on the main floor and one on the roof.

“The rooftop patio … will be really exciting. We’re going to attempt to have it open four seasons to kind of embrace the weather, to embrace North Dakota and the Midwest,” Terstriep said.

Other partners in 701 include Terstriep’s husband, Chad, restaurateurs Britt and Alex Belquist, and local concert promoter and developer Jade Nielsen.

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The original renovation plan had called for turning the basement area of the former laundromat into a usable space, but that proved to be too difficult, Terstriep said.

Parking will be gotten by tearing down a house next to the former laundromat to create about 20 spaces, and there will be some parking in the Fargo Brewing lot, and on nearby streets, Terstriep said.

Alex Belquist said the menu will include Scandinavian- and German-heritage foods of North Dakota and Minnesota.

“It will focus on our roots,” with spins on classic food we all grew up with, Belquist said.

An 8- to 10-foot wood-fired hearth will be used for most of the cooking and Belquist said he will seek to get his ingredients from area farms and ranches.

Part of the renovation of the existing building was completed by Nielsen’s group, including a wall made from wood reclaimed from a North Dakota elevator, Terstriep said.

Work on 701 was delayed as the partners focused on getting the Wahpeton, N.D., City Brew Hall restaurant and event center renovated and running, Terstriep said.

Some renovations of the interior of the former Rosie's Laundromat building, 701 N. University Drive, Fargo, as they appeared in this Aug. 3, 2017, Forum file photo. David Samson / The Forum
Some renovations of the interior of the former Rosie's Laundromat building, 701 N. University Drive, Fargo, as they appeared in this Aug. 3, 2017, Forum file photo. David Samson / The ForumDavid Samson / The Forum

“It was a massive reconstruction of an old city hall. That’s been quite an awesome project,” Terstriep said.

A big plus of getting City Brew Hall operating is the partners developed ties with the culinary arts program at the North Dakota State College of Science in Wahpeton, Britt Belquist said.

The Belquists own Brew Ales & Eats in Perham, Minn., and Up North Pizza Pub in East Grand Forks with two other partners.

The 2,898-square-foot former laundromat building, built in 1920 as an Acme Dairy creamery, was purchased in late 2014 by Nielsen and Ian Johnson, partners in the 701 Collective development company.

The building has been vacant for several years. Nielsen and Johnson made major improvements, including installing a new roof and windows and rehabbing the interior.

Plans for a restaurant in the former Rosie's Laundromat building at the corner of 7th Avenue North and North University Drive have been updated. The building, as seen Monday, Feb. 18, 2019, will be turned into the 701 restaurant with the construction of a large addition on the east side. It is currently planned to open toward the end of 2019. Photo by Helmut Schmidt / The Forum
Plans for a restaurant in the former Rosie's Laundromat building at the corner of 7th Avenue North and North University Drive have been updated. The building, as seen Monday, Feb. 18, 2019, will be turned into the 701 restaurant with the construction of a large addition on the east side. It is currently planned to open toward the end of 2019. Photo by Helmut Schmidt / The ForumHelmut Schmidt / The Forum

Britt Belquist said when 701 finally opens, it will be a good place for families.

“It is not going to be a formal atmosphere. It will be comfortable for everyone, for people with kids,” Britt Belquist said.

“We love that it is on the fringe of downtown. We think that it will be one of the anchors in that new area,” Terstriep said. “I think with all the restaurants we try to bring a lot of events and fun ideas to get the neighborhood and community out and about. I think this is another opportunity to do that.”