Before “neighborhood” restaurants had corporate headquarters, before there were 24-hour cable networks devoted only to food and before anyone ever dreamed of photographing a meal to post on the Internet, going out on a Friday night involved a certain ritual.
The hum of power tools reverberated inside the empty restaurant Thursday as workers put some finishing touches on an extensive remodeling of the iconic Whitey’s building on the boardwalk in East Grand Forks.
Olive Garden, Ruby Tuesday's, CherryBerry also on their way. In addition to the influx of new chain restaurants on the southern end of Grand Forks, East Grand Forks landmark Whitey’s will reopen under new ownership next month.
Roseau man will close purchase June 30 Tim Bjerk, who owns and runs Gene's Bar and Grill in Roseau, was the sole bidder at the invitation-only auction May 15 in Whitey's. "We are excited to be part of the East Grand Forks community and the greater Grand Forks area, and we look forward to restarting Whitey’s, and it’s great name for good service and good food," Bjerk said.
Locals say a revitalized Whitey’s helps all
Whitey’s had been a fixture in the local bar and restaurant scene for more than 80 years before abruptly closing its doors in February.
A local buyer’s offer was selected Sunday to purchase the Whitey’s Cafe building, its equipment and furnishings, the building’s second-floor apartments and the rights to the Whitey’s name and brand.
While I wish the new owners all the best and hope they can creatively keep the memories alive and kicking, I hope they’ll also appreciate how important the tradition of Whitey’s is to many people — even those of us who no longer live in the community.
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