Rhombus Guys Brewing Up Something Special

It’s exciting news from some of Grand Forks’ most successful restaurateurs, the guys behind Rhombus Guys.

After starting small in nearby Mentor, MN, bringing some serious slices to Grand Forks and then to Fargo, Matt Winjum and Arron Hendricks are upping the game considerably.

Hendricks and Winjum will be using their recently-purchased Opera House building space in Grand Forks to house a micro-brewery, or brewpub.

That is according to a job posting on BrewingWork.com

“There are fewer than 10 breweries in the entire state of North Dakota; this is a huge opportunity to be part of something very special.”

According to the posting, the Rhombus Guys are working with architects on a feasibility study for the space, just around the corner from their super successful pizza joint.

This is big news.

There currently isn’t a place in Grand Forks doing onsite brewing, so this is a very smart move by Hendricks and Winjum, in my opinion. There are already some people doing similar projects in Fargo, but the GF market is still wide open for something like this. And it will likely be incredibly successful, as the previous endeavors by these two have been.

We’re still quite a ways from knowing what sort of food will be served alongside the brews, but count on it being tasty.

It’s great that they are deciding to invest more and take a chance on something new in Grand Forks. We need more entrepreneurs like Hendricks and Winjum.

Anthony Bourdain talks Marilyn Mania at Minneapolis event

Intrepid traveler, writer and cook Anthony Bourdain was in Minneapolis this past weekend for a stop on his Guts & Glory tour, along with Minnesota transplant and fellow adventurer Andrew ZImmern.

Zimmern started the wide-ranging discussion Saturday night at the State Theater with a slideshow, asking Bourdain about each image. And one of those images was none other than Grand Forks’ own Marilyn Hagerty.

Bourdain is publishing a compendium of Hagerty’s restaurant reviews, Grand Forks, on August 27.

Bourdain piped up with graciousness about our fair lady and defended her against the “snarkologists” that had a field day after Hagerty’s review of the new Grand Forks Olive Garden went viral.

“I think to see somebody speak in a straightforward, non-ironic way about what they are seeing before them is refreshing. I felt I needed to do something,” Bourdain said on Saturday. Doing something meant publishing her book and sending her to New York to eat in some of the best restaurants in the world (and the Times Square Olive Garden).

“She’s invited me and Anderson (Cooper) to join her bridge club to learn how to play bridge and I would love to take her up on it,” Bourdain said, to which Zimmern replied, “You’re getting older and you should.”

The conversation on Saturday night was often hilarious and wide-ranging, from drug addiction to the woes of network television and to some weird things the two men have eaten. I was glad to have gotten the chance to see them.

But also in attendance was Matt Winjum, co-owner of the Grand Forks and now Fargo pizza empire Rhombus Guys. Winjum had a VIP pass, meaning he got to meet Bourdain and Zimmern after the talk. According to his Twitter account, he floated the idea to at least Bourdain that he should come to Grand Forks. He tweeted this picture:

Winjum with Bourdain and Zimmern

So might we see a Bourdain and Hagerty in Grand Forks, walking arm and arm down 3rd Street on their way to a delicious dinner at Sanders? And pizza at Rhombus Guys around the corner? Well, we can only hope.

Roof’s Open at Rhombus

Ah… the sunshine has started to warm up our, until now, tundra-like environment. The birds are back and the flowers not far. Oh, and the Rhombus rooftop is now open.

Pizza on the Rooftop

After a longer than normal winter, you can now scarf some delicious pies and down a few Leinenkugels (or other beverages) atop Rhombus Guys in downtown Grand Forks.

The Fargo location should have its roof open soon.

But if you’re sensitive to bee stings, avoid the GF rooftop, as they seem to like to congregate there when it warms up a bit more.

UPDATE from Rhombus co-owner Matt Winjum: “It was a great first night. Lots of Rhombus Nation showed up to enjoy the first nice weather. And believe me, we are doing everything we can to keep those darn bees away. They typically don’t show up until August.”

Local ‘Caribou Coffee’ Stores Safe From Corporate Axe

Caffeine cravers rejoice!

It seems local Caribou Coffee locations in Grand Forks, Fargo and Bemidji are not included in the group of 80 other stores that will close this month, according to a manager at the GF location.

Caribou is shutting down those stores and rebranding 88 others to Peet’s Coffee & Tea. It’s not known yet if any regional stores will take on the Peet’s name, though.

Fargo ‘Red Pepper’ Location Opening Monday

The new Red Pepper location in Fargo is holding a “soft opening” today until 4 p.m. and will be open starting Monday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

If you’re new to Grand Forks, the Red Pepper is an extremely popular place for what they call “North Dakota Mexican” food… whatever that is. I’ve let you know my thoughts before.

Check out this post from FMfare for more info on the new place.

‘HuHot’ 1 Step Closer to GF Location

Here’s some good news for your Monday afternoon: HuHot Mongolian Grill is a bit closer to having a location in Grand Forks.

A few months ago, I told you that the Fargo franchisee was scouting locations. Now, he tells me that they’re in “lease negotiations as of right now.” He said a possible location fell through because of a parking space issue.

So while we don’t yet know where the restaurant will be, we’re one step closer to having it.

At HuHot, you choose a stir-fry dish from a selection of fresh meats, noodles, vegetables and Asian sauces and watch the chef grill it up on the huge circular grill. Check out the menu here.

It should only be a matter of time!

Sonic Coming to GF?

Grand Forks might soon be home to a Sonic Drive-In and people are freaking out.

I’ve never had the privilege of trying anything there, but I hear rave reviews about their burgers, hot dogs and their more than 398,000 fountain drink and slush combinations available, like slushes, limeades and something they call “ocean water (“blue…with a hint of coconut”).

Minot’s Sonic is already under construction and Fargo will have one within 18 months. 

One of the developers told Forum Communications that they expect to have a Sonic in Grand Forks within the next “three to four years,” according to the article.

Now burgers are great and all, but the draw for me is their selection of encased meats like the Footlong Quarter Pound Coney dog or the Chicago Dog. I’ve had some real Chicago-style dogs in Chicago, so I’ll be interested to see if theirs stacks up.

Sonic offers sides like (gimme some of your) tots including chili cheese tots, onion rings, “Ched R’ Peppers,” mozzarella sticks and fries.

See the whole menu here

So are you excited at the prospect of Grand Forks getting a Sonic? Disgusted? Want an extra order of Chili Cheese Fries with that behemoth-sized cup filled to the brim with a mix of every fountain soda available?

Rhombus Guys Named Part of ‘Hot 100′ Independents

Rhombus Guys, the pizza place that started in Mentor, MN, and expanded to Grand Forks and eventually Fargo has been named to the list of “Hot 100″ independents by Pizza Today magazine.

Rhombus comes in at #61, according to a tweet by co-founder Matt Winjum. I couldn’t find the list on Pizza Today’s website, though. I don’t think it’s been updated yet.

The pizza at Rhombus is second-to-none in the area, with some very interesting and delicious pies and an atmosphere that’s fun and casual. The shop in Grand Forks is consistently packed and the Fargo location now sports rooftop seating, just like GF.

Owners Winjum and Arron Hendricks are great about listening to customers’ feedback and regularly host cool events like karaoke, movie nights and brewery dinners. Recently at the Grand Forks location, there was a free pizza buffet to celebrate 6,000 Facebook fans.

Regular readers will already know about my love of the place, but it’s good to see some national recognition!

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GF Staple ‘Red Pepper’ Expanding to Fargo

A longtime Grand Forks taco shop will be expanding to Fargo sometime this year. The owners of the Red Pepper say they’d like to have a location there by the end of the year but have not set a location just yet.

There are two Red Pepper locations in Grand Forks, the original on University Ave. having been in business for forty years.

Grinders

It’s a staple for for late-night, homemade Mexican food like the signature “grinder” sandwiches that come with ham, salami and turkey, along with mayo, lettuce, cheese and hot sauce.

The Pepper isn’t the first Grand Forks eatery to expand to Fargo. Rhombus Guys and Deek’s Pizza have both opened locations. Rhombus Guys will soon have rooftop seating available, just like in Grand Forks.

While the food at Red Pepper is not exactly top-of-the-line, as I’ve mentioned before, it definitely holds a spot in many locals’ hearts… and stomachs. The restaurant features local ingredients like buns from Hugo’s, ground beef from L&M Meats and beans from GF Bean Co.

The signature hot sauce is homemade, but it has far too much brown sugar for my taste.

You can also find the typical fare like tacos, burritos, tostadas, enchiladas, taco burgers, chili and more.

So congrats to the owners and here’s to a successful expansion!