Friday, March 05, 2010

Suite 49 building to get new tenant

Interior of Normans location in Fargo
The building that formerly housed the Suite 49 restaurant in Grand Forks will soon have a new tenant. Normans Prime Steaks and Seafood is looking to open a location at the University Village location.

Normans is a Fargo restaurant. From the look of the menus and pictures on the Normans website, this place at least wants to give the appearance of being "a pretty classy joint."

Do you think an upscale steak and seafood restaurant will be a good fit for this northside location?


Meest said...

Wow... just what is needed next to UND campus. A high end restaurant... Did suite 49 not already provide enough proof that this is a bad place for a classy joint? Its by college campus and a sports complex... Do these two variables not shine brightly like flashing warning lights to any business owners?? Build a college level sports bar (not one where chicken strips cost 10 bucks!)and you will have a killer business model that will be hard to lose with.

Elucidarian said...

I agree to some extent with Meest. This is yet another case of the Bronson property being used against the spirit in which is was allocated.

The more they focus on appeasing alumni and deep pockets, the more they alienate what should be the target demographic of a university. Education is not a business, it is an effort toward the common good.

Matthew said...

Although I wouldn't go so far as to categorize Suite 49 as a "classy" place--most of the time it was just another sports bar--I agree that any sort of planning for that property has been tossed out the window. Why not go downtown and compete with Sanders and the Toasted Frog if you're going to try to be "a pretty class joint?"

Most of what I liked about Suite 49 was when they did Martini Blue--so you could grab a bite and a drink and listen to some good music. The property is so far away from campus, however, that you couldn't just drop in as you were walking by.

Andrew said...

To Elucidarian's comment: Education is a business, precisely the same as any other. You are taught not to think that way, so as to protect privileged government subsidized institutions from outside competition. The subsidy increases costs by removing the need to compete or lose students. It produces a glittering edifice, supported by all, for the benefit of comparatively few. Learning is a right we all share; education is a good, a privilege we must earn.
That's really a topic for some other blog post.

To the issue here: Norman's will almost certainly fall flat and only burn up cash. It's a nice-enough idea, fitting with the whole mission to turn that end of the campus into an upscale destination. But, so far it hasn't worked that well. I think the reason is the rest of the city. The north GF is industrial. The residential areas are downscale, not upscale. The Ralph block is an island, and there aren't enough islanders to sustain such a business. The target demographic doesn't live nearby, but would have to drive in from out of the city, or from one of the city's more wealthy enclaves (most all to the south). Would they? Maybe...but I'd wager only if the food was truly spectacular, or if all the other elites came (making it a networking destination).

What's going to hold it back is the fact that it seems most folks in this town with cash tend to gravitate south, to live, to work, and to recreate. The north-side "feels" poorer (and it is poorer in certain respects). Communities self-select.

The Ralph brings in a diverse cross-section of people when an event's on. You have a huge influx of people during events, and nearly nobody otherwise. If you want to do well in such feast or famine surroundings, you have to harvest the feast when it's in. To me, that means a radical re-make of that building's image to appeal to the most broad cross-section of folks that attend Ralph events as possible. Make people naturally think of that place as a place they'll want to be after the game/show/whatever, and you'll do a great trade.

Norman's looks to cater to an elite crowd, wishing finest dining, and elegant surroundings. That's great! Those people are few in numbers at Ralph events, and non-existent otherwise.

Norman's sound like a fine idea for a downtown that's been transforming itself into a cosmopolitan place. It's a poor fit at Suite 49.

Windlistener said...

I heard a rumor that IHOP bought out Village Inn. Anyone heard anything?

Whozit said...

I love it when people in grand forks make such sweeping demographic analysis about the wealthy enclaves and the poor folk on the north side. If Norman's offers good value, outstanding service and a unique dining experience, dependably, they'll be fine. People will drive the extra 1 1/2 minutes. The food and service at Suite 49 declined precipitously over the last year it was open. It wouldn't have lasted anywhere in town.

Anonymous said...

Best of luck to Norman's but they should have scouted the 32nd Avenue area for better business.

fenn said...

Well, Sounds like a nightmare to deal with evicting a non-paying tenant. I hope that the money you’ve made from the rental since has offset any negatives associated with the eviction!

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Peder Rice said...

Not even a story on the new census info? :)

Anonymous said...

definitely a night mare

Matt BK said...

Mi Mexico appears to have closed its doors

Wish there was still someone around to scoop the Herald on stuff like this.

Goon said...

Nice to know that we will finally be getting an Olive Garden.

Tony said...

There's also a new photography and graphic design studio in Grand Forks.

Anonymous said...

VERY cool!!! Best of luck! I think it will be great...

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