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Published June 13 2013

Fargo’s Grand Buffet presumably closed for good

FARGO – Money raised to help a family repair its Fargo restaurant to meet health regulations will still go to the family even though the restaurant won’t reopen, the woman who organized the fundraiser said Thursday.

Jodi Rae Ingstad said only one of the roughly dozen donors asked for his money back when it became clear that the Grand Buffet at 1620 32nd Ave. S. would remain closed. The other donors declined a refund and wanted the owners to have the money, which amounted to about $250, she said.

“They gave because of empathy for this family, and that just touches my heart,” she said.

Fargo Cass Public Health suspended Grand Buffet’s license for 10 days on May 20 because of what Environmental Health Director Myron Berglund has said were repeat health code issues over the past several months.

The owners had 10 days to appeal the suspension but didn’t do so, and health officials assume the restaurant has closed for good, Berglund said.

“We have not heard a word from them. We’re assuming that they’re no longer interested in opening it themselves,” he said.

A phone number for Grand Buffet wasn’t working Thursday, and no other number for the owners could be found. Berglund said he had no other contact number for the owners other than the restaurant’s number.

The strip mall that housed the Grand Buffet is owned by New Millennium Real Estate Partners LLP, according to city assessor records. Phone messages left Thursday for New Millennium’s registered agent in Minot weren’t returned.

Ingstad, a frequent patron of Grand Buffet, said she believes her online campaign would have collected the money needed for the owners to fix up the restaurant, but the campaign ended when she found out the restaurant wouldn’t reopen. She said she was still trying to contact the owners to give them the money.

“It’s just a sad situation, but you know, I did what I did, and my heart feels like we did the right thing, and bless the people who gave,” she said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Mike Nowatzki at (701) 241-5528