FARGO-A long-vacant laundromat building here will become a new restaurant on the edge of downtown as a Perham, Minn., couple plans to expand their eateries to Fargo and Wahpeton, N.D.
Britt Belquist and her husband, Alex Belquist, opened Perham's Brew Ales & Eats in 2011 in the back of a diner. The couple bought a building at 124 E. Main St. in 2012 and moved Brew there the following year.
In 2014, the Belquists and business partners Gretchen and Nate Hunter opened a second Brew in Detroit Lakes, Minn. Belquist said they recently parted ways with the Hunters, who now own the former Brew in Detroit Lakes, 111 Veterans Memorial Parkway, that was rebranded to Brygge Taps & Tastes.
The Belquists still operate Brew in Perham, but she said they've also recently formed another company called Brew Restaurant Concepts to bring new restaurants to Wahpeton and Fargo.
They bought the former Wahpeton City Hall, 120 4th St. N., and are now renovating the building and adding an addition to open a 12,000-square-foot new business this fall.
She said the restaurant and bar, which they're calling city brew hall, will have an attached events center with room for about 250 people. Shelby and Chad Terstriep are business partners in the project.
The Belquists haven't quite signed papers for a Fargo venture they're tentatively calling 701, but she said plans are shaping up for a restaurant and bar in the former Rosie's Laundromat, 701 N. University Drive, that they'll open next spring.
The 2,898-square-foot building, which was built in 1920 as an Acme Dairy creamery, was purchased in late 2014 by Jade Nielsen and Ian Johnson, partners in a development company called 701 Collective. It was most recently a laundromat, but the building has been vacant for several years.
Nielsen said he started thinking more than a year ago that the Brew owners might be good tenants because the look and feel of Brew in Perham fit his vision for this old building in Fargo
"Then, ironically, they called me," he said.
Nielsen and Johnson have already made major improvements, including installing a new roof and windows and rehabbing the interior.
They also recently bought the former Border Cities Service building, 30 N. University Drive, down the street. They're remodeling that space to lease out to another restaurant, Daran's Southern Soul Food and West Indian Cuisine, which will open this fall.
Belquist said they're expanding to Wahpeton after considering it for several years. They were contacted by the city's former mayor, Jim Sturdevant, who brought them to town to show them around and tell them about local demand for more restaurants.
"That kind of sparked our interest," she said.
Belquist said they'll post updates about their forthcoming restaurants on a new website, www.brewrestaurants.com.