By Rick Gion
Brewhalla is self-described as “a food and beverage wonderland from the weirdos at Drekker Brewing.” The recent opening of the mega-fun market is the most important event for the North Dakota food and beverage scene since the original Hotel Donaldson opened in 2003.
Much has already been written about Brewhalla, so I’ll just give you my unsolicited opinions. Take it for what it’s worth, but I’ve eaten and shopped at quite a few similar complexes in other communities. Fargo’s offering is well worth a visit. The approximate 100,000 square feet of this facility has been creatively and expertly utilized.
Featuring eateries, markets and shops, Brewhalla hosts a panoply of purveyors. Selection does not come up short. Believe me; I’ve been a frequent guest.
Luna Market, Mangata Wine and Raw Bar, and Unicorn Park Fine Foodery take up much of the food real estate. There’s also pizzas from Blackbird Woodfire’s “The Bird,” caffeinated beverages from the brothers at Thunder Coffee, goodies from Nichole’s Fine Pastry, and delicious gelato from Cows and Co. Creamery.
The word “drekker” is said to be Icelandic slang loosely translated as “to drink and hang out with friends.” So, it’s fitting that there are large beer bars on the west side of the first two floors that feature all the best items from the brewery.
Brewhalla is also a great place if you’re looking for an alternative work space. Grab a cup of joe from the boys at Thunder Coffee and get to the daily grind in a unique atmosphere. The second floor has plenty of space for you to park your technology for a couple hours. I guarantee that you won’t have a typical work day. Working at this office is not boring.
I like the look of the place. It’s a bit radical, but not too over the top. My best attempt to describe it is heavy metal industrial with a splash of 1980s professional wrestling outfit colors all while paying homage to the area’s Nordic heritage. This sure as heck does not make sense on paper, but it does in person.
Besides the food and beverage, there's more than enough event space to keep the engines running. The local entrepreneur meetup group has already found a new home at Brewhalla. Business conferences and weddings will be frequent.
I’m hoping to see some good live music, too. Drekkerfest always features great bands, so I’m guessing this will somehow pour over into the new facility. That upcoming event is scheduled this year for Sept. 15 and 16. Expect big things during Drekkerfest.
If you’re wondering about the hotel portion of Brewhalla, it isn’t open quite yet. That will happen soon though, and the rooms will be rockin.’ They’re calling it their crash pad. From what I’ve seen though, it’s probably best described as a boutique hotel. The artwork in the rooms makes a statement. I just hope it doesn’t keep people up all night. But, in Brewhalla fashion, the rooms aren’t typical. It’s part of the charm.
Parking is a bit of an adventure there on weekends. Have patience while driving in the lot. It can also be a wonderland. Keep in mind though that no parking lot is perfect in Fargo. It’s just something that people like to constantly complain about. I’m obviously guilty of it, too.
At some point, it would really be great to see an ethnic food vendor in Brewhalla. This is just a friendly suggestion though; not a criticism. I’m just a guy that likes to eat. Spicy foods are welcome.
It’s been reported that the price tag paid by private investors for this epic new facility is well over $20 million. Uffda! However, it’s a worthwhile investment in Fargo’s reputation as ‘north of normal.’ Brewhalla is definitely funky and unique compared to similar multi-market complexes in other communities.
The long-story short here is that Brewhalla lives up to the description of being a food and beverage wonderland. It’s not just hype. It’s Fargo’s palace of cool.
Brewhalla will surely be a destination for decades to come. Congratulations and thank you to all involved for successfully taking on this bold venture. We’ve needed something like this here for a very long time.
YOU SHOULD KNOW
Brewhalla is located at 1702 1st Avenue North in Fargo
Rick Gion administers a Facebook group page called “Fargo-Moorhead Eats” that’s dedicated to the area’s great cooks and cuisine. The page now has over 16,000 followers. Check it out, join, and feel free to post items about your local culinary adventures and home cooking. And, while you’re at it, also join the Instagram page!
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