Undecided on own course, Moorhead business supports group defying Walz shutdown order

Baylee Engquist, a server and bartender as well as media coordinator for Legends Sports Bar & Grill, said the business put its name on the list to show support for those that decide to offer in-person dining, but she stressed Legends isn't sure what its own game plan will be.

Baylee Engquist is a server, bartender and media coordinator at Legends Sports Bar & Grill in south Moorhead. David Samson / The Forum

MOORHEAD — A number of businesses across the state of Minnesota reopened their doors to in-person dining on Wednesday, Dec. 16, in defiance of an order imposed in November by Gov. Tim Walz, who said on Wednesday he will extend the order when it expires Friday.

One Moorhead business, Legends Sports Bar & Grill, is on record as supporting businesses who defy Walz's order, but as of Wednesday, the bar was noncommittal as to whether it would join in.

Some confusion occurred when one Fargo-area news outlet reported Wednesday that Legends was on a list of businesses planning to host in-person dining in defiance of Walz's order.

Baylee Engquist, a server and bartender as well as media coordinator for Legends, said the business put its name on the list to show support for those that decide to offer in-person dining, but she stressed Legends isn't sure what its own game plan will be.

"We have no date on whether or not we're going to reopen or defy any order; as of right now, we are still just doing curbside (pickup) and we plan to still be curbside until further notice," she said.


The list in question was posted online by a Facebook group called ReOpen MN Coalition, which described the businesses on the list as having indicated they would restart their indoor dining service.

In addition to Legends, the list included two other Moorhead businesses and one in Norman County. One of those two Moorhead businesses declined comment Wednesday.

The other Moorhead business and the Norman County business did not return messages seeking comment.

Elsewhere in Minnesota, a number of bars, restaurants and other public-facing businesses forged ahead Wednesday with plans to reopen in protest of state pandemic restrictions, even as Walz moved to roll some of those restrictions back.

Dozens of establishments across the state reportedly opened for indoor dining and drinking despite the ban that took effect in November amid an increase in COVID-19 infections. Following months of operating at reduced capacity, they say, the ban pushed their finances to the brink.

Several eateries reopened in East Grand Forks, where the Boardwalk Bar and Grill made headlines for reopening in protest a week ago. Joe's Diner was among those to follow suit Wednesday.

Indoor dining will still be prohibited, however, under the executive order announced Wednesday, which takes effect Friday.



The Minnesota Attorney General's Office has not said whether it has taken any enforcement actions against those businesses that reopened Wednesday. Bars and restaurants that previously defied restrictive orders have been shut down or had their liquor licenses suspended, however.
In a statement, Attorney General Keith Ellison acknowledged the hardship that the pandemic restrictions have caused but asked "all businesses affected by executive orders to comply with them voluntarily."

Engquist said Legends understands why some businesses would choose to defy a state order and reopen their dining rooms.

"We have amazing customers, and we have amazing support from the community, which is always greatly appreciated. But we understand there are businesses smaller than us, businesses that are newer than us that can't take this hit," Engquist said.

Elsewhere in Moorhead, two northside businesses indicated Wednesday they will not be joining any organized defiance of Walz's orders.

Anna Macy, general manager at Sol Ave. Kitchen, said the business was sticking with take-out service only, for now.

She said they were aware of the ReOpen MN Coalition, but added: "We will not be a part of that."

Allison Slavik is the taproom manager at Junkyard Brewing Co. in Moorhead. David Samson / The Forum


Junkyard Brewing Co. will also be complying with state orders barring in-person dining, according to Allison Slavik, Junkyard's taproom manager, who said the business was "doing pretty well right now, thankfully."

"We've had some good support from the community for off-sale, and thankfully we've been able to sell a lot of our beer out of the building," Slavik said.


Minnesota task force offers plan to curb threat facing Indigenous women, girls

Judge dismisses Moorhead candidate's lawsuit challenging state house seat election Court: Negating pre-election rule suspensions voters relied on would disenfranchise voters of Clay County

I'm a reporter and a photographer and sometimes I create videos to go with my stories.

I graduated from Minnesota State University Moorhead and in my time with The Forum I have covered a number of beats, from cops and courts to business and education.

I've also written about UFOs, ghosts, dinosaur bones and the planet Pluto.

You may reach me by phone at 701-241-5555, or by email at
What To Read Next
Get Local