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Wendy Reuer, Published September 27 2012

Deli chain opens on 45th Street

FARGO – At the Smiling Moose Deli here, the name may be something to laugh at, but owner Nathan Everson takes customer service and quality food seriously.

The deli at 2877 45th St. S. in Fargo, next to Five Guys Burgers, opened three months ago with a breakfast, lunch and dinner menu that offers made-to-order salads, sandwiches and soup, said manager Jordan Shangreaux.

There is a wide selection of gluten-free items, sandwiches are made with fresh-sliced meats and all vegetables are sliced whole.

“We’re not fast food here. We don’t pretend to be,” Everson said.

It’s not just the food that is unique at Smiling Moose. Everson said the food speaks for itself, but customer service is a top priority.

From the managers to the cooks and servers behind the counter, all are encouraged to interact with customers to ensure the experience is something different.

After ordering, customers can choose a seat and are served with no plastic cutlery in sight. What is in sight is Everson, who rarely misses a lunch hour to visit with customers.

Everson, 29, a Williston native and University of North Dakota graduate, first discovered the Smiling Moose in Boulder, Colo., after stopping in during a ski trip.

He was living in the Denver area, managing an aviation company. Smiling Moose soon became his go-to caterer for corporate events, and he got curious about the company’s franchise information. Everson said that when he called the corporate franchise hotline and was immediately greeted by the company’s president, rather than speaking to a middle-management go-between, he was sold.

“We are not a paint-by-numbers franchise, and I think that’s a huge draw to young entrepreneurs. We want our owners to enjoy being part of the brand, because we rely on them for growth as well. It’s a wonderful partnership really,” Smiling Moose Deli president Larry Hill said in a statement.

Hill was able to tell Everson this week that the Fargo location’s catering outsold the Smiling Moose flagship shop in Denver. The catering goals Everson set to achieve in two years were met in just three months.

Everson said he is hoping to open more Smiling Moose Delis across the state, but no more than just one more in the Fargo area.

“We’d never put 10 of these in Fargo. The whole concept is to be unique,” he said.

If you go

What: Smiling Moose Deli

When: Open 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday; 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturdays; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sundays

Where: 2877 45th St. S. Fargo

Info: For more information, call (701) 277-800.

For more information: Go online to www.smilingmoosedeli.com or Facebook.com/SMDfargo

Readers can reach Forum reporter Wendy Reuer at (701) 241-5530

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