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TJ's Sports Bar to rebrand itself as patriotic bar

TJ's Sports Bar in Grand Forks plans to rebrand itself as a patriotic bar when it reopens in May as Pub 76. (April Baumgarten/Grand Forks Herald).

A sports bar in Grand Forks wants to bring a patriotic twist to the local restaurant scene.

TJ's Sports Bar will close April 29 and reopen May 7 as Pub 76, an homage to the year 1776 and the Declaration of Independence, co-owner Travis Van Sickle said Monday. The bar that opened almost 10 years ago at 1210 S. Washington St. wants to reinvent itself as a lunch and supper eatery for adults who are at least 21 years old.

But it also hopes to pay tribute to American history, the military, police officers and other service workers.

"Grand Forks has nothing for a patriotic-type establishment," he said. "I just thought it would be a great idea to have the whole theme based around patriotism."

Sgt. James Gore of Grand Forks Air Force Base, a regular customer at TJ's, approached Van Sickle about investing in the bar, Van Sickle said.

Van Sickle's father was in the Air Force, and police officers often patronize the bar as customers, he said. Grand Forks also has a lot of veterans and active-duty Air Force members, he noted.

"We want to be a patriotic bar. We want to stand for something," he said. "We want to look at doing donations to the fire department. We want to have specials for the police officers or anyone in the service industry, whether it is serving our country or serving our community."

One of the goals in the name change was to alert the public to the bar's expanding food menu, Van Sickle said. It has tried different menus that have been limited.

The menu for Pub 76 will feature 60 items named after historical figures and events, such as U.S. presidents. The menu also will be printed in the style of the U.S. Constitution with an old-fashioned font, as well as have historic tidbits such as history on the first American fighter jet or the battle of the Alamo.

Food items will include burgers, wraps, grinders, pizza, lavash, salads and appetizers, Van Sickle said. There also will be specials on holidays like the Fourth of July and Labor Day.

Pub 76 will open for the lunch hour.

Grand Forks native Randy Van Camp will manage the bar. He previously managed the AMC Classic Grand Forks 10 movie theater for 12 years.

April Baumgarten

April Baumgarten joined the Grand Forks Herald May 19, 2015, and covers crime and education. She grew up on a ranch 10 miles southeast of Belfield, where her family raises registered Hereford cattle. She double majored in communications and history/political science at Jamestown (N.D.) College, now known as University of Jamestown. During her time at the college, she worked as a reporter and editor-in-chief for the university's newspaper, The Collegian. Baumgarten previously worked for The Dickinson Press as a city government and energy reporter in 2011 before becoming the editor of the Hazen Star and Center Republican. She then returned to The Press as a news editor, where she helped lead an award-winning newsroom in recording the historical oil boom.

Have a story idea? Contact Baumgarten at 701-780-1248.

(701) 780-1248