Rhombus Guys expand seating to include dining on their rooftop
Business for Rhombus Guys is rising much like the pizza and bread dough in the kitchen. The city of Grand Forks has given owners Matt Winjum and Arron Hendricks the go-ahead to open the a rooftop restaurant, possibly the city's first, at 312 Kitt...
Business for Rhombus Guys is rising much like the pizza and bread dough in the kitchen.
The city of Grand Forks has given owners Matt Winjum and Arron Hendricks the go-ahead to open the a rooftop restaurant, possibly the city's first, at 312 Kittson Ave.
"People say when they come in 'you need a bigger space,'" Winjum said.
"There'll be seating for about 35 on each level," Hendricks said.
The two entrepreneurs decided in January to "build up." Issues with city code pushed the timetable back from an August opening. The downstairs men's room had to be torn up to put in the staircase. The maple flooring and roofing on the second level had to be torn up to increase weight-bearing capacity. Fire codes meant sprinkler systems had to be installed on each floor, in the staircase and "in" the roof.
"There are sprinkler heads going up between the second floor ceiling and deck space," Winjum said.
Still, the partners managed to salvage some woodwork, a green-tiled fireplace and much of the masonry that's been atop the building for more than 100 years, including the 1907 sign.
A mad dash
Construction crews and suppliers were in a mad dash Thursday to get the additions ready. A loan from the Small Business Administration, a tour of roof top establishments in Minneapolis and a lot of carpentry contributed to the estimated $250,000 renovation.
Both new floors will have bars, tap beer on the second floor and bottled beer from the roof's concrete-shelf bar.
"We've built three or four bars ourselves," Winjum said. "Arron and I are almost getting good at it."
Two runners will bus food and drinks up from the basement kitchen to the three levels. Winjum said a dumb waiter was considered.
"During our tour of about a dozen places in Minneapolis, not one had a dumb waiter," Winjum said. The money likely went toward the new foosball table on the second floor.
The floor of the roof is made of two-inch rubber. There are light posts and a solid safety railing. Winjum said customers will have six propane heaters to keep them warm and he's not ruling out having some parties during the winter months, likely between Christmas and New Year's.
"Hopefully, Mother Nature will help us out and we'll get some warmer weather the second half of this month," Winjum said. "If it snows heavily, Arron and I will have shovels in our hands."
"You're only limited by how creative you can get," Winjum said. He and Hendricks plan to have rooftop guests entertained by bands, projectors and movie screens. "There is one other rooftop bar in Fargo, but not as intricate as this, nothing that Grand Forks has seen before."
Success has followed Winjum and Hendricks, who started in Thief River Falls with a smoothie stand. Their accomplishments include:
- The opening of Rhombus House in 2002 in Mentor, Minn.
- Café Rhombus in 2004 in Thief River Falls, where they were named Small Business of the Year in 2006.
- Rhombus Guys, which opened in 2007 in Grand Forks.
- They were named 2009 SBA Young Entrepreneurs of the Year for the region including the Dakotas, Montana, Colorado, Utah and Wyoming.
- Management of the Springfest and Rhombus Ruckus music festivals.
- Named Best Pizza in Grand Forks three years running.
Winjum said their menu will soon include a pizza with tater tots and corn, a pulled pork pizza, a pulled pork sandwich "Arron has been living on" and a new pie called Amalfi Coast Amore, named after the region on Italy's southern coast where Winjum said he and his fiancée recently visited.
"I have a couple ideas on the horizon," Hendricks said.
"Don't be surprised if we acquire something or build something new," his partner said. "Something will come up to peak our interest and set the wheels turning."
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