According to Pat Endres, who co-owns the El Roco Bar and Grill with his brothers, Paul and Tom, the period of time between the 1990s and the mid-2000s was when the bar was at the peak of its popularity. Not an exhaustive list by any means, these other establishments, some on their way out and some newly opened, also were popular hangouts during the decade.
Located just south of the corner of Gateway Drive and Stanford Road, the burger and beer joint was the place to be for generations of Grand Forks residents and UND students, many of whom hung their beer mugs from the ceiling. Frenchy’s was started by Hubert Jean "Frenchy" Lacrosse in 1969, and the bar remained open until 1994, when Lacrosse sold the location to Hansen Ford.
Lori Kretschmar, Frenchy’s stepdaughter, remembers the place for its hamburgers and fries, and the good times she spent there.
“To this day, when I wear my Frenchy's jacket I still get stopped by strangers to reminisce,” she told the Herald.
The Westward Ho entertainment complex was founded in 1953 by Don Lindgren, a staunch UND athletics supporter. The complex, which also featured a hotel, closed in 2001, and pieces of its historic memorabilia were auctioned off in 2003. The sprawling venue housed the Palace Sports Bar, Big Al’s Pasta Parlor, the Gaslight Lounge Comedy Gallery and had a wooden facade that replicated a frontier town. The complex hosted a number of UND events, and Lindgren picked up visiting college hockey teams at Grand Forks Airport and took them to the hotel.
The hotel, now called the Budget Inn Express, had a few fires over the years, one of which was blamed on a methamphetamine operation in 2002.
The Antique Bar in East Grand Forks was a popular '90s hangout, one that some customers said had a big-city feeling, rather than of a local bar. The bar was destroyed in the Flood of 1997, and its building, constructed in 1902, was torn down to make way for the city’s flood walls. One-time owner Jay Cox launched theantique.com in 2008 to sell actual antiques he had collected over the years, but also sold sportswear emblazoned with the bar’s logo. The website now appears to be defunct.
The Down UNDer, located off of 42nd Street North in the building that formerly housed Shangri-La Chinese restaurant and Campus Liquors, hung on until 2014, when the building was torn down to make way for an apartment complex. Neighbors Bar and Campus Liquors reopened not long after that, after being purchased by Matt Kasper in 2017, who renamed the place Kaspers Bar.
Dagwood's opened in 1991 in the Medical Park complex off of Columbia Road and was the first smoke-free bar in Grand Forks. When rent got too high there, owner Mike Delohery moved the business to the building that housed the long-closed 42nd Street Eatery, where the bar continued for 15 years selling pizza, sandwiches and, of course, alcoholic beverages. In 2010, the year the city council passed the smoking ban in bars, Delohery told the Herald was part of the generation of kids that watched their parents smoke at the dinner table.
“Before 1993 or 1994, there were few places where you could not smoke,” he told the Herald at that time. “Then things began to change."