Second event center, the Pines Black, now open at The Pines near Davenport, N.D.
The Pines Black joins the Pines White, which opened in 2018. Pines Black features an indoor ceremony space, reception hall, and wedding party suites featuring a golf simulator, pool table and more.
DAVENPORT, N.D. — Nestled between several large grain bins on a farm 10 miles southwest of Fargo sits one of the area's newest, upscale wedding and event centers.
The Pines Black boasts 13,300 square feet of space, including an indoor ceremony space, reception hall, and wedding party suites featuring a golf simulator, pool table and more.
Owners Blain Mikkonen, Grant Koenig and Pat Bresnahan debuted the Pines Black Tuesday, June 7. It joins their first venue, Pines White , on a 17-acre property near Davenport once home to the Kennedy Bonanza Farm.
Mikkonen said demand was strong as soon as they opened the Pines White in 2019.
"Pines White exceeded our expectations, so we just started exploring a second location, whether here or elsewhere," he said. "We realized the parcel of land we were looking for was actually in our own property in terms of size."
Furthermore, Mikkonen said they tend to think of themselves as an "experience company" that focuses on providing unique customer experiences.
"We did that successfully with the Pines White, so the question was how can we elevate that experience? How can we share the property with more people without sacrificing the quality of service?," he said.
Black versus White
The Pines White is a 9,000-square-foot barn-inspired venue that features exposed beams, white reclaimed wood paneling, sliding doors and tables produced by Grain Designs , another business owned by Mikkonen, Koenig and Bresnahan.
Weddings are typically held outside at Pines White, with the receptions held indoors. Pines White bridal parties have full use of the property's original farmhouse, including its in-ground swimming pool.
Mikkonen describes the look of the Pines Black as "more refined."
"We took everything that worked at Pines White in terms of space and bright, white open palette, and then gave it a more modern twist. That's far more rustic, this is a little more refined and industrial," he said.
The Pines Black includes space to host a ceremony for 345 guests as well as a large reception area. It also includes a bridal suite as well as a lounge complete with a golf simulator, pool table, beer kegs and multiple televisions.
Mikkonen said their goal is to have events going on at both venues.
"We've scheduled the time lines throughout the day so they (clients) don't have to deal with oncoming traffic and there are quiet hours when the ceremonies take place," he said.
While weddings will account for a majority of their events, Mikkonen said Pines Black was designed to accommodate more corporate events as well.
"A lot more thought went into corporate events, such as breakout spaces," he said. "You could have a conference or training in the ceremony area and still have a dinner or reception here."
Food and drink
Chef's Table Catering is the exclusive food vendor at Pines White. Managing Partner Dan Hurder said he looks forward to continuing that partnership at the Pines Black.
"The team at Chef's Table Catering is thrilled to see one of our venue partners achieving such success! The Pines Venue has been a welcome addition to the event world, and the demand for both their original facility and the new Pines Black has been really exciting," Hurder said. "We have been catering at Pines since they opened their initial venue in 2019 and are excited to expand our catering services to both of their incredible spaces."
Pines staff are in charge of the beverages that flow at the Kennedy Bar at the Pines White and the 120 Bar at Pines Black, both of which are named in honor of the property's history.
Mikkonen explained in the late 1800s and early 1900s the property was home to the Kennedy Bonanza Farm. And where the Pines Black sits now was a 120-foot-by-120 foot horse barn that was considered the largest barn in North Dakota when it was built.
"The bar at Pines White is called the Kennedy Bar and the bar here is called the 120 to honor the 120 by 120 foot barn," he said.
He said they've found a lot of interesting old artifacts on the property. Perhaps a Pines museum is next?
"We have a lot of grand plans. Or a grand vision, I don't know if they're plans yet," he said. "We'd love to do lodging out here some day. There are some hurdles to overcome to make that a reality, but we're open to anything we can do to elevate the guests' experience."