A new Mexican restaurant is coming to Grand Forks, and remodeling work at its 32nd Avenue South location will begin in September.

Charras and Tequila will open in early January in the building that formerly housed Ruby Tuesday. Restaurant owner David Mendoza has purchased the building and is securing the required permits to begin construction work there. The Grand Forks City Council, at its Aug. 17 meeting, approved the transferal of Ruby Tuesday’s alcoholic beverage license to the new restaurant, which will serve authentic Mexican food.

“Grand Forks looks like a really nice community,” Mendoza told the Herald in a Monday phone call, and added that he is excited to open another branch of his restaurant.

An employee at a Charras and Tequila location in Bismarck told Mendoza about the vacant space in Grand Forks, while he was searching for a location to open another restaurant. This will be the fourth restaurant he has opened. There are Charras and Tequila locations in Bismarck and Devils Lake, and he runs another restaurant, his first, in Bemidji, which operates under another name.

Mendoza told the Herald the facilities at Ruby Tuesday are ready to go as they stand now, but he chose to delay the opening date so he can properly bring the look and feel of his business to the area. The restaurant will undergo an extensive remodel that will put in place an open kitchen model in the building’s center, with tables surrounding it.

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“There won't be any concept if I open right now, so I prefer to wait and do it the right way,” he said. “That creates a little bit of a different atmosphere, and I want to start it like that, since day No. 1.”

The restaurant will serve authentic Mexican cuisine and will have a few unique features, such as guacamole and margarita carts. Staff will make those items at diners’ tables, down to cutting and preparing the avocados.

Ruby Tuesday opened in Grand Forks in late 2011, but closed in March, along with branches in other states. The closures were reportedly due to financial difficulties brought on by state orders that temporarily suspended in-person dining, to halt the spread of coronavirus.