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Dave Olson, Published December 06 2013

Trade Talk: Blackbird Woodfire pizza shop coming to Broadway

FARGO - A woodfire pizza place is setting up in downtown Fargo.

Blackbird Woodfire hopes to open by mid-January at 206 Broadway, which was formerly home to a Pita Pit restaurant.

“It will be pizza, salads and some tapas,” said Casey Absey, an owner of Blackbird Woodfire and its main chef.

For those unfamiliar with tapas, they are a type of finger food often served with beer.

Absey said Blackbird Woodfire will serve a changing menu of tapas that on any given day could be anything from a small plate of stuffed peppers to roasted olives served with bread.

Prior to setting up the restaurant, Absey and his family operated a food truck, selling pizzas at the Island Park arts and crafts show and at smaller venues around Fargo.

Jon Swegarden, another owner of the business, said people kept asking Absey:

‘‘ ‘When are you going to open up a restaurant?’ Well, here it is,” Swegarden said

Absey said family members will pitch in with the business, but additional employees will be hired.

Swegarden said they are looking forward to opening the business, which is undergoing a complete remodeling that includes the new woodfire oven.

“We are excited to be part of downtown Fargo,” Swegarden said.

Making a list

The December issue of Food Network Magazine features a list of 50 food gift ideas, with one gift idea highlighted from each of the 50 states.

Carol Widman’s Candy Co. in Fargo and the company’s Chippers Chocolate Covered Potato Chips made the list from North Dakota.

“I’m just delighted to be there,” said Carol Widman, owner of the company that bears her name and is part of a multigenerational string of family operated candy stores going back to 1885.

Widman said her parents, who still own a Grand Forks candy store that is now operated by her brother, started making Chippers 45 years ago.

Widman said candy sold at her store in Fargo is handmade, including the Chippers, with each one hand-dipped in chocolate.

Also making the Food Network Magazine gift list this holiday season was Norsland Lefse, of Rushford, Minn.

Economic snapshot

The unemployment rate in the Fargo-Moorhead metropolitan statistical area is at 2.3 percent, which compares to a nonseasonally adjusted national unemployment rate of 7 percent.

Meanwhile, North Dakota’s unemployment rate was at 1.9 percent as of October.

The statistics come from the Greater Fargo Moorhead Economic Development Corp., which also provided the following tidbits:

  • Housing starts for the Fargo-Moorhead area total 2,862 so far this year. That compares to 1,623 for the same time last year, a 76 percent increase.

  • Total passenger numbers at Fargo’s Hector International Airport were 61,853 in October. The number was 55,847 for October 2012. The difference represents a nearly 11 percent increase.

    Readers can reach Forum reporter Dave Olson at (701) 241-5555