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Business History Briefs

By | Last Modified: October 16, 2018

This article contains historical information businesses that don’t necessitate their own page.

Retail

D&D Foods

D&D Foods was a grocer with a couple different locations in Bismarck.

Bismarck (as of 1980): 1043 E Interstate Avenue & Polar Plaza (21st & Thayer)

It later maintained a store at Capitol Lanes Plaza.

Restaurants

Village Inn Pancake House / International Inn

Village Inn Pancake House once had two Bismarck locations. The first, at 405 S 7th Street, opened in 1972. It was the first Village Inn in North Dakota. That location became International Inn in 1986 before becoming Denny’s in 1988.

A second Village Inn Pancake House opens at 2240 N 12th in 1977. Like its south counterpart, the restaurant became International Inn in 1986. It continued for some time in this format, even after the south location closed. It later became International Stir Fry. Today, the site is home to LaQuinta.

Mr. Steak

Mr. Steak opened at 431 S 3rd Street in 1972. The site is later home to The Wok, Jade Garden, and Los Amigos. Today, it is home to CVS/pharmacy.

A second location also operated at 1500 Interchange Avenue, the present-day site of Athena Square. After Mr. Steak, in about 1986, the building served as the Moose Lodge for some time, no later than 1994.

Both Bismarck franchises closed in 1985.

Mr. Steak was an international chain operating more than 280 restaurants in the U.S. and Canada during its 1970s peak. The company folded in 1987.

Country Kitchen

Country Kitchen, a restaurant brand of Minnesota’s Carlson International, once had two Bismarck franchises: 1301 E Main Avenue and 1307 E Interchange Ave.

Its first location, on Main Avenue, opened in January 1971. In 1979, it became Ron’s Family Restaurant until 1984, Weisbeck’s Family Restaurant until 1989, and Main Street Diner until 1990.

Its second, and final, location was opened in 1973 at approximately 1307 E Interchange Ave. It closed on December 22, 1980, to be replaced by Homestead Family Restaurant the following month, under primarily the same ownership. It later was Cary’s Kitchen and Highway 83 Diner. The building was destroyed by fire. Today, it is home to O’Reilly Auto Parts.

The Conlin family was part owner of the local franchises, and succeeding Homestead Family Restaurant.

Caesar’s Centurion / Royal Fork

Royal Fork was a long-time national buffet restaurant based out of Boise, Idaho that operated at 1065 E Interstate Ave from 1984-2004.

Caesar’s Centurion Family Restaurant was previously located in the building, from 1978-1984.

Today, the building is home to China Star Buffet.

Dakota Farms

Dakota Farms is a regional restaurant chain that once had a location in Bismarck and continues to maintain a location in Mandan.

It replaced Main Street Diner in 1990 at 1120 E Main Street in Mandan and 1301 E Main Avenue in Bismarck.

It’s Main Avenue location in Bismarck originally housed Country Kitchen from 1971-1979. It then became Ron’s Family Restaurant until 1984, Weisbeck’s Family Restaurant until 1989, and Main Street Diner until 1990. Today, it is home to Land O’ Lakes.

According to its website, as of 2017, Dakota Farms has locations in Mandan, Washburn, Williston, and Rugby. It also once had locations in Beulah and Dickinson.

Godfather’s Pizza

1051 E Interstate Ave

A & W Drive-In

The A & W Drive-in operated from June 1950 until 1991 or early 1992, when it attempts to sell were unsuccessful. It operated at 1207 Memorial Highway as early as 1970.

A & W returned in 1997, first inside the new Cenex on East Divide Avenue. Another A&W opens soon after at Front & 3rd (later “The Pitch”). Both locations have since closed. Another was planned – and even constructed – for State Street, but never opened (now Wendy’s).

A kiosk also once operated inside Kirkwood Mall.

(Howard’s) Sirloin Stockade

Opened in 1974 at 424 S 3rd. It later served as Howard’s Family Steak House and Family’s Choice Buffet before closing in 1993. Sirloin Stockade is a national restaurant chain founded in 1966 with 80 locations as of 2017.

Arthur Treacher’s Fish and Chips

320 S 3rd – now Taco John’s. 1977 until at least 1979. Once a national chain with 800+ locations, today the chain consists of 8 (as of 2017). It was the state’s second Arthur Treacher’s restaurant. It then became the Copper Penny, a local restaurant, from 1981 until 1983, when Taco John’s occupied the building.

The Pepper Mill & David’s Fine Foods

404 S 3rd – now Plains Commerce Bank.

The Pepper Mill operated from 1976-1979. It later obtained the license to manage the Airport lounge and cafe, also in 1979.

David’s Fine Foods opened in the building in 1979. It relocates to the Logan Building in 1987 before closing in November 1988. It was owned by David and Lupe Barbere. David was a chef at Kirkwood Motor Inn while Lupe a caterer at Holiday Inn. Before relocating into the Logan Building, 401 E Bismarck Expressway was sought (now home to Famous Dave’s).

The building later houses Hollywood Nites Video/Planet Video and was destroyed by an electrical fire caused by the store’s sign in or around 2001. Hollywood Nights Video re-opened in a new building before America’s Mattress replaced it.

Former Locations

Taco Bell – 2124 N 12th (about 1980-2000)

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