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Published May 06 2013

Renovated Radisson: Downtown hotel’s new Level Two lounge, Zest restaurant offer upscale options

FARGO - At the Radisson downtown, the renovations are done and the doors on the second-floor lounge and restaurant are back open.

The results are the revamped Level Two lounge (formerly Perspectives Lounge) and the Zest restaurant, replacing the former Passages Café.

Together, the two are the newest additions to Fargo-Moorhead’s growing list of high-class eating and drinking destinations.

At the appropriately-named Level Two on the second floor, patrons can enjoy a full bar and drink menu, as well as a new appetizer list. Food items range from the Minnesota walleye sliders ($12) to a mango and quinoa sushi roll ($10).

Radisson Executive Chef Tom Olson describes the new appetizers as “upscale comfort food,” in line with the style of renovations that the hotel has been going through for the past few years.

“It’s something that’s a little fun and creative,” he adds, pointing to the fried lamb chops ($14) as an especially unique food item on the list.

Right next door to Level Two, Zest is also open and serving the old Passages Café menu. Toward the end of the month, the restaurant will switch to a new breakfast, lunch and dinner menu, which Olson describes as “American classics done in an upscale fashion.”

“The old menu was a little outdated,” he says.

Among the expanded options to the dinner menu will be higher-class entrees, such as grilled lamb and maple duck, which will range in price from $20 to $33.

Olson plans on working with local farms to add local produce to the new menu. Plenty of gluten-free options will be available as well, which Olson says was an important consideration.

“We took extra steps to make it accessible to everyone,” he says.

Sandi Adams, the Radisson’s owner and general manager, says the overall goal in renovating both the lounge and the restaurant was to give everything an upscale, urban look and feel.

“Everything that we’ve done here fits into the downtown revitalization,” she says.

But she didn’t want the new second-floor drink and dinner options to be viewed as too fancy or too expensive either, she said.

“We didn’t want it to be upscale to the point that people don’t feel like they can’t dress like they normally dress,” she says. “We just want them to have a good time.”

Once Zest starts serving its new menu, Adams hopes that both the restaurant and Level Two will take on the feel of popular downtown destinations, instead of simply being thought of as part of a hotel.

“We wanted to get away from the stereotypes of a hotel restaurant and lounge,” she says.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Sam Benshoof at (701) 241-5535