The Curse of Washington and Demers

With the demise of yet another restaurant at the intersection of Washington and Demers in Grand Forks, I’ve been wondering: “What is it about that location that continues to curse any business that opens up there?”

Dickey’s Barbecue Pit took the place of Mi Mexico, which took the place of a long-vacant Hardee’s location.

But being one of the busiest intersections in the state does not guarantee business success, obviously.

To me, it’s an access issue. Because of how it’s situated, there are only two ways to get into the parking lot, northbound on Washington or eastbound on Demers. The location’s visibility is great, but that just does not seem to translate to any lasting customer base.

What are you thoughts? What would you ideally like to see take Dickey’s place at the intersection?

14 thoughts on “The Curse of Washington and Demers

  1. Bravo! You stated what I’ve said for years, and what realtors hate to hear. Location, location, location doesn’t work if you can’t get to the place. I honestly don’t know what would work there.

  2. Ah, it may have been an access issue but.. I feel if any business is worth it’s salt, it would still be alive.. I just haven’t heard anyone in town really get excited about Dickey’s… Weren’t they still planning a GF AFB location? Or is that out too?

  3. Seems like a combination of bad restaurants and a bad location. Mi Mexico was nothing to write home about, and Dickey’s was about the same. Although, I think if the right place was in there, people would make the effort to get in there.

    Makes me wonder why other locations further down Washington aren’t considered. The vacant Hollywood Video place seems like a decent enough place for a restaurant. Perhaps that’s a bit unfeasible though.

  4. During higher traffic times it was darn near impossible to get to, unless you wanted to take a scenic route through the back streets which isn’t difficult but a pain anyway. They really shot themselves in the foot when they towed the vehicles of people who were protesting across the street.

    On a personal note, I loved the food at Dickeys, but it didn’t love me back and I wonder if that may have been a contributing factor for others.

  5. People will make the effort if the business is worth going to. There wasn’t a whole lot about Dickey’s for me that was worth the effort.

  6. I agree with the location is everything. I TOTALLY disagree with “People will make the effort if the business is worth going to.” If one of the most popular restaurants in Grand Forks suddenly moved to this location, it would soon become not so popular. The location is awful! The parking area is not nearly large enough and it’s very inconvenient getting in & out, and then back onto the road! It’s just too much of a hassle! SO you move along to the next place to eat. If Dickie’s was somewhere on 32nd Ave., they would have survived. Their food was authentic Southern BBQ! Who doesn’t enjoy that? Oh, wait, I know. People who have never stepped foot out of this state and eat nothing but bad, bland food, because they’re afraid to add REAL SPICE to anything! Get out and live a little! Mexican Village & Peridiso’s are not even CLOSE to what a true Mexican cuisine tastes like. Don’t get me started on Italian Moon. Puke. So yes, it was the LOCATION, not the Restaurant. Tear down the building and make it a beautiful garden. Something people can simply drive by and appreciate.

  7. Visibility on that intersection IS an issue. Until this place was mentioned because it was closing, I was not aware of it even though I drove past it almost every day for a year. I other words, the location is garbage. The only location worse for a restaurant would be in the middle of that intersection.

  8. For those saying location is everything, regardless of how amazing or well known a restaurant is… take Texas Roadhouse into consideration. You have to drive through the parking lot of Office Max just to get to it. That’s fairly inconvenient and that place is always packed.

    Sure it’s a bad location, but it’s not THAT bad. People in Grand Forks are just so used to having places so near and easy to get to. If you lived in a larger city, places can be ridiculously hard to get to off major roads, but people put up the fight because they WANT to go. There are also tons of restaurants that go out of business on 32nd (think everything that used to be the new strip mall with Noodles & Company) because no one cared for them.

    Dickey’s had horrible food, there was nothing memorable about it. The building is also still just a poorly disguised Hardee’s, and unless your a huge chain, making it in Grand Forks is quite a challenge.

    I could definitely see a good restaurant making it there, they just have to ditch the Hardee’s theme, have good food, and better staff than Dickey’s had.

  9. People keep locating there because they are intoxication with the traffic numbers, believing that high traffic equates to high business volume. But traffic at that intersection does not mean that due to the access issues. Whether you like the restaurant or not, it’s a matter of having enough volume to support the costs. With that location, the cost is surely based on the traffic numbers. Put some of those failed concepts at better thought out locations, my bet is they’d succeed.

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