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Dave Olson, Published February 02 2014

Downtown Fargo Juano’s moving over to Moorhead

MOORHEAD – Juano’s, a fixture in downtown Fargo for more than 17 years, is moving to Moorhead.

Owners Juan and Annele Mondragon said the restaurant’s last day of business in Fargo will be Feb. 28.

Between now and then, they plan to set up a Juano’s full-service Mexican restaurant in a space in Moorhead where they currently operate a Juano’s express store and lounge.

That operation is next door to another Mondragon eatery – John Alexander’s.

John Alexander’s will not be affected by the change, except for the efficiencies that will come with having both restaurants operating side by side, Annele Mondragon said.

She said the space they have been leasing in downtown Fargo and which they will soon be vacating will be home to a new business operated by someone else, but they are not certain what it will be.

Annele Mondragon said the decision to relocate their flagship restaurant to Moorhead was inspired in part by the city of Moorhead’s offering of a financial incentive if they would make the move.

The Moorhead City Council in October changed city policy to allow it to dip into state incentives and start offering new or expanding restaurants an “employee credit” that amounts to $1,500 per new or retained employee up to a maximum of $25,000.

City officials have said they created the incentive to lure a new restaurant to downtown, though they did not identify a specific business.

A message left for Moorhead Mayor Del Rae Williams Sunday evening was not immediately returned.

The Mondragons announced in April 2013 that they were listing for sale their two full-service restaurants – Juano’s in downtown Fargo, which opened in 1996 at 305 Broadway, and John Alexander’s, which opened in 2008 at 315 Main Ave. in Moorhead.

There are currently three Juano’s express restaurants in the metro area, including the one next door to John Alexander’s.

The Mondragons have said they want to sell their full-service operations to focus on developing the Juano’s express franchise.

Annele Mondragon said Sunday they are continuing to develop the franchise concept and they remain open to selling opportunities.

However, she said they are not focused on that right now and instead they are excited about making the move across the Red River.

“We’re hanging in there in Moorhead; it’s been very good to us with John Alexander’s,” she said.


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