Coach's owner wants change
There may be changes in the works at Coach's Sports Pub after its liquor license expires Thursday. The City Council left the door open a crack when it decided not to renew the downtown Moorhead bar's liquor license two weeks ago. Council members ...
There may be changes in the works at Coach's Sports Pub after its liquor license expires Thursday.
The City Council left the door open a crack when it decided not to renew the downtown Moorhead bar's liquor license two weeks ago.
Council members said they would consider granting the permit if Jim Steen, owner of Coach's, came up with a new business plan.
Steen met with city officials Monday to discuss plans to overhaul the bar, remodeling it as a family restaurant with an enclosed bar.
Discussion was preliminary and Steen has not made a firm decision on what to do with the sprawling nightclub at 617 Center Ave., City Manager Bruce Messelt said.
"There wasn't a time frame. It was simply a first conversation about what do you think," Messelt said.
Steen would not comment Tuesday night on his plans.
The council declined to renew the bar's license June 13, saying loose management led to three incidents in which police say minors were served alcohol at the bar.
In an interview later that week, Steen said that without a liquor license, he would close the bar.
"It's a bar. Without a liquor license it's futile to be open," he said.
He also said the bar was for sale and that he had talked to two interested buyers.
Messelt said renovating the bar as a family restaurant is one of the possibilities Steen is considering.
"He indicated to us that he's exploring all options," the city manager said.
Steen also withdrew his request Tuesday for a formal hearing contesting the council's decision.
The bar would likely need to be closed for two to three months to renovate before opening as a restaurant.
Plans also call for an enclosed bar that would stay open until 1 a.m. instead of 2 a.m., Messelt said. It would not have a DJ or a dance floor.
Steen told the city the revamped Coach's would be modeled after another restaurant he owns, Tomacelli's Pizza & Pasta in Fergus Falls, Minn. He also owns a pizza parlor with the same name in north Fargo.
Messelt said Steen's formative plans would be a step in the right direction.
"It doesn't do anybody any good to have a vacant building in the middle of Moorhead," he said.
The council will ultimately need to be convinced.
Councilwoman Lauri Winterfeldt-Shanks, a Fergus Falls native, said she is familiar with Tomacelli's and thinks the council would support a liquor license for a similar business.
"If that's the kind of establishment we're talking about, I don't think we would stand in the way," she said.
Councilman John Rowell was one of the most vocal critics of Coach's at the June 13 meeting. He said Tuesday he would be open to renewing Coach's license as long as he believes the business will be truly different.
"I think perhaps we're getting to the point where the owner understands that things must change. If, in fact, things do change, there's a bright future for Coach's," he said.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Dave Roepke at (701) 241-5535