Fargo couple hits 52 locally owned restaurants as part of New Year's resolution

For the past year, Russ Peterson and Robin Nelson have selected a different, locally-owned restaurant and wrote about their experience on Facebook. Now they have developed a foodie following.

Russ Peterson and Robin Nelson of Fargo fulfilled a New Year's resolution to eat at a locally owned restaurant every week in 2022. They wrote about it on Facebook and developed a huge foodie following.
Contributed / Russ Peterson
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FARGO — On Broadway in downtown Fargo, a new hot spot, like Marge's Diner, seemed like the perfect spot.

"It was Robin's idea and it was spontaneous," Russ Peterson said.

The restaurant became number 51 on the 2022 resolution restaurant list of Peterson and Robin Nelson.

"And we thought, what a fun resolution to spend more time together, and promote local restaurants in a fun way. And putting it on social media really made us accountable because we had to go out every week," Nelson said.

As 2021 came to a close, the couple decided they needed to check out as many locally-owned, independent restaurants in Fargo-Moorhead in 2022. They did it, writing about each experience on Facebook. From brisket at Bernbaum's to pad thai at Thai-kota.


"There was a lot of surprise, there are some fabulous places in town," Peterson said. "It kind of depends on the mood you are in. (...) The variety really shocked us," Peterson said.

"How often do you drive by somewhere and say, 'Oh, we need to try that. Oh, we need to try that,'" Nelson said. "We kind of kept it in our mental mind bank and we added it to our list," Nelson said.

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Tibetan food at MoMo's. Ramen at Slurp. BBQ, Liberian food and more. All eaten and written about. But, it turns out, in the midst of busy careers and lives, it was a great opportunity each week for the couple to slow down.

"It was a great way to force a date night in," Peterson said. "After you've been married for a few years, you don't really go on dates anymore, so this was a great opportunity to stare at each other, for at least 45 minutes, across a table," Peterson said.

So, Marge's Diner was #51. Jade Dragon #52. That's a wrap. The good news? With only 52 weeks in a year, the two didn't get to all the locally-owned restaurants. A sign of a vibrant dining metro.

"There's always something to do in Fargo. We just love this city so much and our culinary culture here is very rich," Nelson said.

The couple's resolution this year is hearing from other foodies and their favorite recipes.

Kevin Wallevand has been a Reporter at WDAY-TV since 1983. He is a native of Vining, Minnesota in Otter Tail County. His series and documentary work have brought him to Africa, Vietnam, Haiti, Kosovo, South America, Mongolia, Juarez,Mexico and the Middle East. He is an multiple Emmy and national Edward R. Murrow award recipient.

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