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Lights go out at Great Northern

The Great Northern Restaurant & Brewery, a budding attraction for live music in downtown Fargo since opening 15 months ago, abruptly closed Monday because of a insurmountable electric bill.

"We're done - we're closed," co-owner Paul Sadosky said.

He spoke sitting at one of his tables Wednesday night, surrounded in the darkened bar by a crowd of employees and their friends who came to give the place a send off with one last call.

Lanterns provided light as about 50 people, many of them in their 20s, drank and talked above the music from large speakers. Occasionally someone took the dark stage to play the house guitar. Wednesday had been open mic night.

Except for the darkness and an unusually sticky floor, it seemed fairly normal inside.


"Basically, after Ralph's closed, this is our last hope for a music scene," said Emily Herbranson, a 24-year-old from Fargo and former employee. "It was just getting started."

The bar and restaurant, which brewed its own beers, became the latest in a line of failed ventures in the Great Northern Depot at 425 Broadway.

The 10,000-square-foot building had served as a passenger terminal until 1986. It's first run as a bar and restaurant started in 1995 and closed in two years. Another tenant gave it another two-year run before closing in 2001.

Sadosky and business partner Heather Gibb came next.

Xcel Energy cut power to the business about 11 a.m. Wednesday after failed negotiations, Sadosky said.

The immense overhead for such a large building might be fatally crippling for any business there, Sadosky said. Still, he called it a shame that the bar had to stop now, when its reputation was growing.

"Fargo just wasn't receptive to a brew pub," he said. "I think we tried everything we could try."

Readers can reach Forum reporter Dave Forster at (701) 241-5538

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