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Angie Wieck, Published March 12 2014

Organic oasis: New Fargo eatery offers fresh, healthy casual dining

FARGO – Peoples Organic Café, the area’s first entirely organic restaurant, was set to open today at 2653 45th St. S.

The restaurant serves a variety of fresh entrees, salads, wraps and soups. It also has a full bar featuring organic liquor and wines as well as 18 different local craft beers.

The space seats 112 indoors and an additional 50 when the patio opens later this spring. The restaurant has a drive-thru as well.

The man behind the healthy eatery also owns several area Dairy Queen locations. Chuck Anderson said he doesn’t see irony in that.

“I’m in the business of trying to provide what the market wants,” Anderson said.

The longtime vegan said he was motivated to bring the franchise to his hometown because he thinks Fargo lacks healthy dining options.

“I think everyone would agree that high-quality healthy food in North Dakota is very hard to find,” Anderson said. “I’m starting out with Fargo, but I’ll be rolling out other cities like Bismarck and Grand Forks very quickly.”

Anderson, who now lives in Minneapolis, already owns a Peoples Organic in Minnetonka, Minn., and will open locations in Wayzata and Eden Prairie, Minn., in the next few months.

While the franchise is still relatively new, it has a 30-year history in the organic food industry.

Its founder, Lynn Gordon, also is responsible for French Meadow Bakery, the first certified organic bakery that opened in Minneapolis in 1984.

Gordon was teaching macrobiotic cooking at the time. She received so many requests for easily digestible, yeast-free bread that she decided to open her own bakery.

She sold the franchise to Rich Products in 2006 and began tossing around ideas for a new café concept.

In addition to being organic, Gordon based Peoples Organic on the principles of the farm-to-table movement.

Some of the items purchased locally include vegetables from the Prairie Roots Food Co-op, pork and other meats from Doubting Thomas Farms of Moorhead and bison from the Eagle Valley Bison Ranch of Christine, N.D.

“This really is a sustainable model of living for the whole country. If all of us were to do this, costs would go down and we’d all be healthier,” Gordon said.

Anderson said the reason people will frequent Peoples Organic may have nothing to do with the fact that it is organic.

“It’s because it tastes better. It’s fresher and of a much higher quality,” Anderson said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Angie Wieck at (701) 241-5501